Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Welcome Waggin'

I always try to see how things might look to someone new to an area. F'rinstance, if you just moved to Baltimore... might see a section of town named "Hampden" and another called "Hampton," and not know the former is pronounced "HAM-den" and the latter, "HAMPton." Just because. Also, "Towson" is "TAL-son," not "TOE-son."

...speaking of Towson, it is the county seat of Baltimore County, which does not include the city of Baltimore, which is a separate jurisdiction altogether. ("Which is a separate jurisdiction.") The Ravens, the Orioles, the strip bars, the Walters Art Gallery, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, and the famous restaurant right near the city jail ("The Little House By The Big House") are all in Baltimore City. But there is one common characteristic of both city and county. You might be driving down a road or street, and to the left of you will be one of the most ornate and opulent neighborhoods this side of Paris, Hilton. And to the right, the teeming mean streets of a neighborhood run down at the heels and throbbing with crime. And then you drive another couple of miles, and you're at a farm. This town really is a lot like the train garden towns underneath Christmas trees of old...everything mixed up and really close by.

...There is a grocery chain called Giant Food. When someone asks where did we get the delicious pastrami that's coming through the rye, we say we got it at "The Giant." Similarly, we shop at The Super Fresh, The WalMart, The KMart and The Ollie's Bargain Outlet. The lone exception would be the hardware store known as The Home Depot. In that case, when someone asks where we got the new doorbell button, we just say "Home Depot."

...OR , to go with the "The" rule, there is the "S" in, "Oh where did you get the floodlights that illuminate the front of your house to such a degree that major league baseball could be played there?" You can answer, "WalMart's." Or "KMart's." I don't know why, we just do these things!

...if you're here for the holidays, you're welcome at any meal, and there will be sauerkraut at the groaning board. This accompaniment to turkey, known widely as the Favorite Side Dish of the Gods, this pickled salty cabbage, is as much a part of our holiday foodscape as eggnog shakes and fruitcake. 

...We expect a lot from our football team and very little from our baseball team.

...You're welcome here any time!

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