THE SIRENS started blaring about 6: 30 Sunday evening. "Oh, no," I thought, "there must have been an accident."
The sirens kept going, so I went outside to see what was happening. Then I remembered. It's Christmas week. Santa Claus is coming to Crofton.
All my neighbors gathered on the sidewalk listening, trying to figure how far away the sirens were and how long it would take them to reach our block. The children were beside themselves with excitement, scurrying along the sidewalk, jumping up and down.
Finally, the first lights rounded the curve. The chief's car appeared first, then the ambulance, and at last Santa's firetruck: lights flashing, horns blowing, sirens screaming. They're on their way. They were making a left turn. Oh, no. Santa was going down another street.
The kids went wild. They ran down the sidewalk screaming, "Santa, Santa, we're HERE." But it was no use. Santa was gone.
We waited. An interminable five minutes went by. Then, down our street came Santa and his entourage, laughing and waving and shouting, "Merry Christmas."
The toddlers jumped up and down, cheering. Suddenly, Devin Denman, 4, dashed down the sidewalk, a look of terror on her face, until she reached her doorway, where she stood waving at the parade.
Local wisdom says the parade is Santa's way to find out where children live, and Devin was terrified that Santa might take her presents to the wrong house Christmas Eve, so she was making sure Santa knew where she lives.
It was only a few minutes, and the excitement was over. We stood in the cool December night, enjoy- ing the beauty of Christmas lights sparkling in the neighborhood. Some houses are lighted simply, with candles shining in the windows. Others are more elaborate, with icicle lights and beautiful displays.
Crofton Town Club had a difficult job this year, choosing winners in its annual Holiday Decorating contest. Contest organizer Tracy Joyce reports that the judges were awed by the number and variety of beautifully decorated homes. How could they choose winners?
Joyce said a criterion the judges used was the "wow" factor.
"If you were driving by the house with your family, which homes would make you say, 'wow,' " she said.
Many homes brought a wow from the judges and from casual passers-by. Winners of the contest are: Skip and Jodi Griffin, 1604 Picadilly Court, for best creative house; Danny and Donna Policelli, 2520 Dogs Leg Drive, best creative townhouse; Michael and Dee Zabac, 2709 Elkton Court, best traditional house; and Susie and Vincent Rose, 1628 Dryden Way, best traditional townhouse.
Each winner received $25.
Coach of the year
Bernie Walters, head baseball coach at Arundel High School, has been selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association as a 1998 Diamond Sports ABCA Regional coach of the year for high school Division II.
Walters has been teaching at Arundel since 1971 and coaching baseball there since 1974. His 1998 team won the state championship, the eighth state title for his teams.
Walters will be recognized at the American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame-Coach of the Year banquet Jan. 2 in Atlanta.
"It's a credit to all the boys, the other coaches, the parents, the groundskeepers, a lot of people," he said. "You don't win an award like this without the support of a good program with a lot of great people."
Pub Date: 12/22/98