Gearing up for springtime despite remnants of snow


I MADE THE best of the puddle in my back yard Saturday. Got all my fishing stuff organized for spring. Went through the pockets of my fishing vest -- found a half-chewed-by-a-mouse granola bar in one -- and then I set up a fly rod. I stood across the snow-covered yard from the puddle, about 35 or 40 feet away, and practiced my casting into the puddle, imagining myself on some stream of famous "pocket water." I did what might be called pocket-casting, attempting to drop a fly precisely in a small space, often between boulders in a swiftly moving stream. My "pocket water" was between dormant snow piles, but you get the idea. My form was a little rusty, but after a half-dozen casts I was in good form. I'm ready, eternal Father. Bring spring.

Building fans

What I'm hearing from Fells Point -- that Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse, the urban developer that seems to be building something on every available piece of land left here, plowed and lifted snow out of a bunch of small streets last week -- and offered to pay to have residents park their cars overnight in a Thames Street garage. That's the kind of community investment that won't show up on a spreadsheet, but a company could get returns on it for years to come.

Eddie Dopkin gets the same kind of accolades for bringing heavy equipment to clean some streets around Alonso's, too. There's probably a long list of people who made such efforts -- and a small army of others who took shovel to curb to open storm drains. God bless us, everyone.

Attman's 6:30 tales

A friend did me a favor, and I wanted to treat him to an Attman's corned beef sandwich. It was about 5:30 on a weeknight. I picked up the phone and called that fine Jewish deli on Lombard Street and, three syllables into ordering, the fellow on the other end snapped, "I don't take no orders after 5."

Attman's closes at 6:30. If you want deli for supper, you have to order in person. So that's what I did. While waiting in line, I met a guy from Tulsa, Okla., and three guys from Seattle. They were in Baltimore for business, but made the walk from their downtown hotels each night to get their fill of corned beef and pastrami. The guy from Tulsa eats nothing else for three days because, he says, you can't get good deli in Tulsa. The guys from Seattle say the nosh is thin there, too. You see what we take for granted, people?

Speaking of the 6:30 close at Attman's, a reader writes: "When I walk into Attman's, I will not say that I get the same reception as Johnny Unitas used to at Memorial Stadium, but it is comparable to the reception that, say, Jim Parker or Lenny Moore used to get. The reason is that I regularly go to Attman's after I get off work at 6, and arrive there close to 6:30. The men and women behind the counter know when they see my face, it is almost time to go home. That is how I have come to be known as 'Six-Thirty Man,' and get a rousing cheer from behind the counter whenever I stop by.

"I once walked in the store at lunchtime, and with a long line waiting to be served, the counterman yelled out, 'Six-Thirty Man is here. Everybody out; store is closing.'

"The other day, when snow was still snarling traffic, I arrived at 6:30. The door was locked, and I was about to walk away. There was a young couple behind me, also hoping to get in. As I was leaving, one of the countermen spotted me, motioned me back and unlocked the door, also allowing the couple to enter. I said to the woman, 'It was your pretty face that unlocked that door.' "

"It turned out the couple had driven downtown from Northern Baltimore County specifically to come to Attman's. The woman said she had been yearning to come to Attman's for about two months. With all the snow on the road, the trip had taken them an hour and a half."

Good story, Six-Thirty. But your closing line made me cringe: "The woman ordered three corned beef sandwiches on white bread."

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