His family calls him "Squig." The men from the gas company called him "Eddie." His real name is Kevin Quarles, a small-for-his-age 11-year-old from East Baltimore whose biggest summertime thrill was getting a white hard hat with his name on it.
Men from the gas company gave it to him. They sort of adopted Squig over the summer, let him hang out, run some errands. It was something the neighbors along North Milton Avenue noticed each day for several weeks and deemed remarkable, and I think I know why. Here were busy men looking up from their labors to notice a boy, take him under their wings and teach him the value of work.
"They let me sweep up and fill some dirt in the ground after they put in pipe," The Squig says.
"He was hanging around and volunteered to help, so they let him watch and do certain things, and they'd buy him lunch," says Mary Quarles, The Squig's grandmother and guardian.
The men are gone now, their work along Milton Avenue complete. But Kevin "Squig, Eddie" Quarles remembers their names -- Mr. Bill and Mr. John -- and he has that white hard hat, which he held in his little hands the other day like a trophy.
Blue bloods ban blue jeans
I'm not the country club type -- don't golf, don't Macarena, don't martini, don't mah-jongg -- so I don't do that scene. Therefore, all I know about country club dress codes is what I learn from Ralph Lauren ads. I've noticed that there's a fair amount of denim in the Ralph Lauren lines these days; in fact, there's a fair amount of denim everywhere (even in the Jos. A. Bank catalog). But I guess that's news to the fashion police at Sparrows Point Country Club.
Though it's in an area of Baltimore County with a rich blue-collar history, the S.P.C.C. has some kind of no-denim policy. And, as anachronistic as such a dress code sounds, somebody down there wants the rule enforced -- even if it leads to unpleasantness. Even if it means kicking guests out.
Recently, a Sparrows Point swim team invited a team from Pine Ridge Swimming Club in Parkville to a meet. The kids from Parkville (ages 7 to 17) and their parents accepted the invitation and went down The Point. They were all set to backstroke and butterfly when the managers of their squad were told of the no-denim business.
They hadn't been warned of the policy in advance of the swim meet. None of the participants intended to wander beyond the swimming area. But that didn't seem to matter.
Management at the S.P.C.C. asked some of the Pine Ridge parents to leave the pool area because they were wearing jeans and denim shorts.
But here's the kicker: Rather than put up with that rude nonsense, the entire team from Pine Ridge walked out of the place. Good for them. Forever in blue jeans, babe!
Bad bet for state, breeders
Betcha Pure Five LLC, investors in the restaurant and hotel complex on Pier 5 (formerly Harrison's, formerly Clarion), would love to see casino gambling in good ole Baltimore. The investment group, which took title to the place last year and gave it a grand overhaul, is led by Otis Warren Jr., prominent real estate developer and friend of the mayor.
Betcha the fresh numbers on slots at Delaware tracks will get the attention of racing interests in Maryland: In the seven months ending July 28, bettors dropped more than $1 billion in machines at Delaware Park and Dover Downs. But get this: about $976 million was returned to bettors. Of the remainder, only $10 million went into building better purses for the races while $47 million went to track commissions. The state's share was $23 million. I don't know who came up with that formula, but obviously the horse breeders and the state get the short end. At this pace, those two racetracks could well transform into full-fledged casinos.
Margarita, I'll miss you
Joey Amalfitano, TJI food taster and official bon vivant, is not feeling so bon today. "I report this time with heavy heart," Joey writes. "Maxine and I have dined for the last time at the Cactus Grill in White Marsh Mall. They are closing and selling off the cactuses. The management folks tell me Ruby Tuesday is taking their place. We liked the Cactus because it was never overly crowded and had nice help. The margaritas were magnificent and the steak and chicken fajitas were to live for. I'll miss the vTC place and I don't care who knows it."
Presumably for the purpose of preventing civil unrest, the Baltimore Circuit Court now offers prospective jurors a chance to watch movie videos while they wait to be called to various courtrooms for voir dire. Last week, those who opted for the movie were treated to -- get this -- "The Fugitive," starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. Last we checked, that film involved mean-spirited police, an egomaniacal lawman and a court that reaches a wrong verdict. Strange way to warm up an audience, your honor.
Seeing is believing: Friday morning, in the fast lane of the Beltway -- the inside rail, if you will -- we spotted a speeding car with flapping cardboard rear license tag. Tag said, "License Applied For." Famous last words.
Contact Dan Rodricks at 332-6166 or write to This Just In, The
Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.
Pub Date: 8/12/96