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Letter from the Editor (All)

Six more weeks of winter? Let it snow.

At first it shone fresh in memory, the gold filigree earring formed on a redbud leaf bought for me by my husband on a book tour visit to Nebraska’s Arbor Day Farm, where good practical environmentalism pairs abundantly with good food. But in the cold days and weeks after I lost it — after I’d searched coat collars, scarves, carpets and car crannies —it faded into forgetfulness.
    So its reappearance months later on the bulletin board of my post office sweetened my remembered appreciation with the shock of recognition and the surprise of recovery.
    That’s just how I felt running again into old friends among the movies in our annual Groundhog’s Movie Guide to Surviving Six More Weeks of Winter.
    Bay Weekly Moviegoer Diana Beechener is the big brain behind our guide in recent years; hence her credit as curator. Her suggestion to make Je Suis Charlie one of our categories sent me straight — do not pass go — to Richard Pryor. In my memory, nobody’s funnier or more outrageous.
    But memory fades. Tastes and styles change. Would Pryor be all that I remembered?
    With some trepidation, husband Lambrecht and I considered Netflix’s delivery of the first of six on my Pryor list, a 1979 performance filmed at Long Beach, California. We’d just sample it, we agreed. An hour and 19 minutes later, properly scandalized and aching from laughter edging on pain, we reaffirmed our faith. Pryor was even better as we traveled back in time.
    Will The Godfather hold up as well? The Nights of Cabiria? Life Is Beautiful? The Lives of Others? The Great Escape? The Fisher King? To Have and Have Not?
    Hurry up Netflix! I’m eager to see.
    Other movies I’ll be seeing for the first time. So I’m hoping to make new friends and new memories.
    There are 30 in this year’s Guide, reflecting the disparate tastes of seven Bay Weekly moviegoers as well as that of Beechener and me. So you’ll find variety, from science fiction to sleepers. Particularly attractive is the In Memory Of collection featuring seven of the great talents who died in 2014: Maya Angelou, Richard Attenborough, Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mike Nichols and Robin Williams.
    Six more weeks of winter? Let it snow. I’ve got all these movies to keep me warm.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

Friends and foes, we’ve got a lot to thank him for

The Tax Man. That’s the tag the incoming Republican establishment wants to pin on the back of the governor no more as he walks out the door.
    Former Gov. Martin O’Malley did indeed oversee hikes in the sales tax, the gas tax and taxes on corporations and big earners.  
    But before all we remember of Martin O’Malley is the epithet of the victors, I want to summon a few other images.
    O’Malley didn’t disgrace Marylanders. Leaving office, he moved to Baltimore, not to jail, as has been the path of many another governor in several states. Consider Illinois, where I lived for 14 years before my ascension to Maryland. Of Illinois’ last seven governors, four moved on to prison, most notably Rod Blagojevich. No other state comes close. Maryland has only one jailed governor, and his conviction was overturned.
    (On the other hand, we have Spiro Agnew, who rose to the vice-presidency. So his fall, for evading taxes on bribes paid when he was governor, was farther. Still, it never landed him in prison.)
    Nor did O’Malley embarrass us — or himself. He didn’t, for example, follow in the footsteps of William Donald Schaefer. O’Malley’s predecessor as mayor of Baltimore (two mayors later) and governor (two governors later) grew so irascible that he’d show up at the doors of critics to harangue them at home.
    Not even in his alter egos did O’Malley rival Schaefer’s flamboyance. Schaefer donned an old-fashioned bathing suit and straw bowler to open the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the white and gold-braid uniform of a Naval officer to move from mayor to governor. O’Malley’s alter ego is a Celtic rock musician, leader of O’Malley’s March, dressed in sleeveless T-shirts that showed off his rock-star muscles.
    O’Malley was said to have been more outraged than embarrassed by his surpassing pop culture achievement: Inspiring in good part a character in the television drama The Wire. Wire fans loved his caricature as Tommy Carcetti, the ethnic, boyishly handsome, scheming white guy who beats the racial odds to get elected mayor while dreaming of moving up to the State House.
    (If O’Malley hated the joke, his gubernatorial predecessor Bob Ehrlich relished it. Ehrlich appeared as a State House security guard in an episode that had Carcetti waiting on a governor of the opposed political party — presumably the invisible Ehrlich — who kept him cooling his heels before offering him the devil’s deal.)
    What other politician achieved such on-screen fame — albeit by backhanded compliment — while alive and in office? Even Louisiana’s legendary Huey Long was dead before his appearance in All the King’s Men as novel or movie.
    So, friends or foes, we’ve got a lot to thank Martin O’Malley for.
    I suspect most of us could add a personal benefit to this list, an action of O’Malley’s eight years as governor that made our lives better.
    He got a fair amount done as far as social policy: legalizing same-sex marriage, repealing the death penalty and removing criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana. These actions made huge differences in the lives of many people and began to redefine the culture of our state.
    For people — and institutions, like Bay Weekly — committed to the environment, O’Malley is the governor whose administration put the stalled Chesapeake Bay cleanup into gear. On a bipartisan note, Ehrlich gave those advances a head start, spending political capital to engineer the environment-friendly flush tax.
       O’Malley demanded new accountability, partnering with the federal government in far-reaching initiatives and putting faith and resources into the restoration of native oysters. Those acts, and many more, give our Bay a fighting chance — and Gov. Larry Hogan a worthy act to follow.

Seed Money Waiting to Be Planted

Apply now for garden grants in Anne Arundel and Calvert

    The Calvert Garden Club is seeding natural resource preservation and conservation in Calvert County with mini-grants of $100 to $1,000. Applicants must be nonprofit organizations, not individuals, and projects must help conserve natural resources and the environment. Deadline Feb. 1: 410-535-6168;
    Unity Gardens’ 2015 Spring Grant Cycle offers grants up to $1,000 to Anne Arundel County, non-profit organizations in support of greening projects, environmental enhancement and education. Deadline March 15: 410-703-7530;

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

From Jim Toomey to Charlie Hebdo, we need their levity

In any of 150 newspapers around the world — including the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun — you can bump into Jim Toomey any day of the week.
    But Bay Weekly kept the world-famous creator of Sherman’s Lagoon waiting in line.
    What kind of way is that to treat a neighbor?
    Toomey, who draws Sherman the shark and his aquatic friends from his West Annapolis home, makes a good story any week of the year. But I wanted the perfect week.
    “What’s our news peg?” I asked writer Bob Melamud, using the newspeak term for that perfect place in time to run his long-awaited story on Toomey.
    I never imagined we’d be hanging the story on a peg so newsworthy it reached round the world.
    Yet there’s no better time to feature a cartoonist than the week the world is reeling from the assassination of five French cartoonists in a wave of terrorism that’s taken 17 lives, put Paris on Red Alert and mobilized support across the free world.
    Charlie Hebdo, the satiric newspaper hit in the initial wave of terror, featured a comic style far more irreverent and raunchy than Jim Toomey’s. In wry Sherman’s Lagoon — as in the famous mid-20th century comic strip Pogo — we are our own worst enemies.
    Left, right or in the middle is pretty much irrelevant on the spectrum of free speech, Toomey tells us. In his own words:

    “There seems to be a prevalent reaction that goes something like this: I defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to express their opinion, but I question their judgment in this particular matter.
    I disagree with that assessment.
    We can’t live in a world where we fear the disproportionate reaction of a fanatical few, and as a result, muzzle our opinions. I believe there are limits to our freedom of expression, but the Hebdo cartoonists did not cross that line.”

    Like Sherman’s Lagoon, Toomey’s words reach me in a place very near home.
    Bay Weekly is not Charlie Hebdo. “We don’t,” as Toomey notes, “even run cartoons.”    
    For whatever kind of journalism we favor — mild or fiery — is but one part of the freedom at stake.
    As well as the five cartoonists, two editors and two columnists, a maintenance worker and two officers were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
    The policewoman killed the next day and the four Jewish shoppers the day following died because of who they were. What they might have said — their levity, their piety, their pleas — was irrelevant.
    At bottom, what’s at stake is freedom to be.
    If I make it my business to make your irreverence a capital crime, at what point on the spectrum does my rage stop? Your religion? Your color? Your tattoos? Your straight or curly, short or long hair? Your age (two of the murdered cartoonists were in their 70s; one in his 80s)? Your gender? Your sexual preference? The language you speak? The clothes you wear?
    From the French, we learned the phrase vive la difference. Modern France is a multicultural society, as are we. How many of the many differences we encompass — and which ones — can we still celebrate? At what point on the spectrum of difference do we allow our tolerance to end? At what point do you — or I — get to take offense?
    At that point, the slope turns slippery.
    Odd, opinionated and different we all are. If laughter helps us coexist — if irreverence keeps our fanaticism in check — bring on the cartoonists.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

Birds and squirrels, horses and riders

I took Bay Weekly at its word.    
    “The best way to start learning about birds is to put up a feeder,” advised international birder Colin Rees, conveyed in Dotty Doherty’s Dec. 4 story Winter Is for the Birds. Today I’m reaping the rewards of refilling and hanging my feeders to celebrate Christmas for the birds.
    Snow has me and the birds home together. While I work at my livelihood via MacBook Air, they’re working at theirs, pecking up their fuel of safflower and black-oil sunflower seed. They’ve puffed up their down against the cold; I’m wearing multiple layers and keeping the fire burning. Even so, we can both feel the chill of temperatures in the 20s and falling.
    But we keep at it. Watching and writing, I’ve added blue jay and dove to make 11: Sparrows (all seem to be white throated), plus juncos and towhees. Plus, of course, titmouse, chickadee, cardinal, house finch, nuthatch and downy woodpecker.
    Whoops! Neighbor Sharon’s dog Cassie just walked past, scattering the flock.
    The ever-bold titmouse is the first to return. Then the nuthatch, which seems to be the white-breasted sort.
    My Snow Day bird count is small peanuts compared to the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, with some 30 organized counts focused on separate 15-mile circles throughout Maryland between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.
    The hundreds of species and thousands of birds counted by these serious birders keep science abreast of life in the avian world.
    In the big picture, 71,531 observers in 2,369 circles counted 64,133 birds of 2,296 species last year.
    This year, on Dec. 14, the first day of the count, 30 birders at Jug Bay counted a “very low” 106 species. “Surprising given that conditions were good,” reports compiler Sam Droege, “but perhaps a reflection of the fact that the weather had been warm up until then and many of the waterfowl had not moved into the area.”
    At Patuxent River Naval Air Station on Dec. 28, 30 people counted close to 100 species, according to Andy Brown, of Calvert County Natural Resources Division. The big news in “an average year” is a record 33 bald eagle sightings.
    At Sandy Point State Park, on Jan. 4, 80 birders tallied 112 species, including three area rarities: a raven (only Edgar Allen Poe’s poetic license gives Ravens to our Atlantic region), a pair of snow buntings and four sanderlings.
    I fear I won’t add such oddities as a raven or snow bunting to my domestic count. But as a low-grade birder, I’m tickled by the appearance and antics of the usual suspects.
    Whoosh! There they go again, three dozen tiny creatures disappeared in a single burst of speed. Yet not a soul comes walking by …
    Instead the intruder soars into my view, a hawk on the wing.
    I have my Number 12, perhaps a Cooper’s or sharp-shinned hawk judging by his russet-striped belly and small size. Or perhaps a kestrel?
    Make that 13! Mr. Red-bellied woodpecker just flew in.
    Not a bad day for snowbirds and snow birder.
    Count birds of the Bay on Jan. 18 with musician and birder Dan Hass of the Anne Arundel Bird Club. 8-11:30am at Thomas Point. Dress warmly. rsvp: 410-703-4664; ­

Snow Birds of a Couple More Species
    This time of year, many Marylanders join the flights of snowbirds escaping winter’s chill for Floridian warmth. Among them are two particular species, equestrians and their horses. One of the flock, Diane Burt, tells their story in this week’s paper.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

2015 gives us all we get: the gift of time

Time has been short as the old year withered and died. Now 2015 stretches before us in vast, unbroken possibility.
    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    when a new planet swims into his ken;
    Or like stout Cortex when with eagle eyes
    He star’d at the Pacific — and all his men
    Look’d at each other with a wild surmise …
    I look at the new year with the poet Keats’ wild surmise. (Yes, Keats confused Balboa with Cortez, but the poet, dead at 25 in 1821, had no Internet to check his every fact.)
    2015 is nothing much so far, so it can be anything.
    That is very good for me, for I never have enough time.
    About one hour and 45 minutes. That’s my estimation of my typical deficit. My husband says that’s about right. He should know. He’s spent two-thirds of his life waiting for me to be ready.
    Yesterday morning, for example, we made an early start for the gym, at least according to the schedule I’ve run on for most of 2014. It was about 8:30. Except that the car clock reported 10:15.
    And this clock runs slow, Bill said.
    That’s ridiculous! I said. We got going early.
    Yes, he said, except that we read newspapers for an hour, packed supplies for winterizing the boat, checked email, got to the car without your glasses and went back, went back again for the bottles of wine to remember Moe to the couple who hit him tennis balls …
    Well of course, I said. I live in the time zone of the eternal present. The eternal present stretches to hold any little thing you have to do on the way to a fixed goal, like getting out the door to go to work.
    What’s more, you get extra time when you’re doing two things at the same time, from reading the Style section of the Washington Post while getting dressed to checking email while on the phone.
    Do you mean, asked Bill, that doing two things at once doesn’t take longer than doing either of them separately? Because even if it’s Style you’re reading, reading slows down …
    No that’s not it at all, I countered. Doing two things at once breaks the time barrier. You can get them both done in no time. Multitasking to three or four things gives you time credit, like when you have a home wind generator and it feeds extra energy back into the grid.
    We talked our way the seven miles to the gym. But we were treating ourselves to biscuit breakfast sandwiches, and we couldn’t get them after maybe 10:45. So we wouldn’t have time to get them after we finished at the gym.
    While we were that way, we checked the library to see if the tennis players were out. Yes, they were, so we stopped to give them Moe’s gift and all had a bit of a cry about dogs …
    As long as we were that way, we better stop by the hardware store in case we didn’t have that long-necked funnel on the boat. I just needed another thing or two there …
    It was a little after 11 by the time we got to the gym, But that was way early compared to the time it really was (I misread the new misleading clock) when I decided to get ready to serve that night’s dinner.
    I blame it on short time. When the year is into its last days, time runs faster the way the last sand in an hourglass rushes through the funnel. The last days of December have almost no time at all. No wonder I can’t keep up. Time runs faster than any mere human, even on a fast program on the treadmill in the gym.
    So 365 days of infinite time is what I foresee in 2015. Except that they’re already slipping away …
    What do you see in your future in this fresh new year?
    That’s the point of Bay Weekly’s first feature story in Vol. XXIII, No. 1, in the year of our lives 2015. Our answers here and in that story are prompts to you …

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

The light is thin this time of year. But the sun shines bright enough on its rising and falling arc to gild everything in its path: windows, tree trunks, the marsala leaves of oaks, clouds and the heavens. That arc is brief, however, as we inch toward the darkest day of the year. On winter solstice, December 21, the sun gives us only nine hours and 28 minutes of light.
    Snatch the light while you can, my instincts tell me, so I watch the long dawn. Sitting through the late sunrises of these mornings — 7:20am on the solstice, Sunday — puts me on rush the rest of the short day. Even at solstice, darker mornings are still to come. This winter’s latest sunrise waits on the new year. Sunrise is 7:25am on Sunday, January 4.
    The sun’s long thin rays also light up human memory. Up in the treetops, the light show I saw this pre-solstice morning can’t be much different than a winter illumination seen by our prehistoric ancestors for whom the failing light was the biggest deal on Earth. What kinship that realization gives me, generation by generation in the march through time!
    This drive we feel to ward off the impending dark is nothing new. We who now walk the Earth use electricity as our strategic weapon, plugging in strands of lights all along the spectrum to shout take that! into the darkness.
    The darkest day, winter solstice, marks our turn to the bright side.
    So it’s all in the great weave of things that the celebrations of several great religious traditions converge at this time of year. Each welcomes the return of light; most, specifically the sun.
    America’s widespread Christmas celebration unites many traditions.
    For Christians everywhere, Christmas marks the birth of Christ, son of God. This celebration is the miracle of faith, the union of God with humankind bringing light to the world.
    The Christian tradition gives us Jesus born to Mary in Bethlehem, his birth marked by a brilliant star that marked the path the Three Kings followed to his manger.
    Santa Claus is likely an avatar of the god Odin transmuted into Old Man Winter and Father Christmas, Christianized by association with Saint Nicholas, a Turkish-born Greek Christian whose generosity and preternatural powers spread his reverence throughout Europe, from Russia to England.
    Evergreens are Norse icons as well, trees brought in and decorated to encourage the releafing of deciduous trees and the wreath, perhaps, originating as a circle of evergreen set afire and rolled downhill to lure back the sun.
    Days of parties with feasting, drinking and bonfires enliven every tradition, and on all sides gifts are given.
    Separate but similar is the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, a festival of lights honoring the miraculous endurance of the Temple lamp for eight days when its oil should have lasted only one. Hence the eight branches of the menorah and eight nights of festivities and gifts.
    Jews, Christians, pagans and sun-worshippers: With so many categories of faith, most of us can get into the swing of this season.
    We do at Bay Weekly, where it’s our tradition to illuminate your holidays with stories that turn up the light. This year Dotty Doherty takes her turn as our narrator, traveling to Germany to tell a story about the complex layering of history.
    On the lighter side, first-time contributor Dominic Laiti writes of Christmas trees, which can add their own complexities to our celebrations of comfort and joy.
    Santa Claus gets his story too, recounted by Michelle Steel, who shares her home with the real deal, who many readers of a certain age will recognize.
    More holiday fare is served by sportsman Dennis Doyle and Bay Gardener Dr. Frank Gouin.
    May your celebrations — of whatever — be merry and bright.
    We’ll see you next on December 24 with the Best of the Bay.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

Many hearts out of hiding

“My heart in hiding. Stirred for a bird, — the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!” wrote poet Gerard Manley Hopkins of a hawk called the windhover.
    In the week since I wrote in Farewell to My Dog Moe, I’ve learned that dogs release many a heart from hiding. Your letters brought me joy, comfort and consolation by introducing me to your dogs, echoing my loss and sharing the stretch to find words for a relationship so intimately wordless. Here is what you’ve said, from far and wide:
    Diana and Jack Alkire, George and Linda Beechner, Soze and Boss: I read your special tribute to Moe aloud at our Friday family dinner. There was not a dry eye in the house. I’m pretty sure even the collie, Boss, teared up. It was a beautiful tribute to a great dog.
    Steve Carr: Moe was indeed a magical beast. There is something about a very large Lab, be they white or black, that captures our heart. I think it is their uncanny resemblance to their bear roots They are truly loving and loyal bears. All roly-poly fur and smiling affection. Moe was a born comedian. He was like a Miro painting or a Calder contraption. He instantly brought a smile. He was whimsical.
    I lost my best friend Baggins — a dog I actually helped deliver in a snowy Davidsonville basement — many, many years ago, and the loss still stings. I have been unable to take that leap of faith ever again.
    Ariel Brumbaugh: I’m sure the house feels empty without him shuffling around. He was a good dog friend to have in Fairhaven, and he will be missed.
    Erin Coik: Moe was always a welcomed surprise to see here at Family Auto and by far the happiest customer to ever walk through our doors.
    Clementine Fujimura: I lost my Mayday this summer and I miss her so much. I remember and continue to love all my dogs, in heaven and here.
    Leigh Glenn: Indeed, he was a magnificent creature and yes, an angel. Because he is an angel you know he’s never really gone and will always be at your side and in your dreams. Dogs certainly are special kinds of angels and you have been fortunate to be blessed by such dogged wings.
    Tom Hall: He was a great dog, wasn’t he? I’m sorry for your loss of such a pal.
    Nini Hamalainen: How fast the time flew by, but even in dog years it was short. Are humans allowed in dog heaven? Shoot, I don’t want to go anywhere else.
    Steve Hammalian: I just read your beautiful editorial on Moe. Having just lost my beautiful English setter Cleo just one month before this resonated deeply with my wife and me. You really depicted the day-to-day life with a dog just wonderfully. Thank you.
    Maureen Hudson and Gracie: My heart is aching for you. I know we all think it about our own dear dogs, but Moe was truly special: such a gentleman, and such a wonderful presence in our community.
    Barbara Malloy: Moe’s story left me tearful. I adopted my yellow Lab Sunshine at the pound when she was four months old. She was to be euthanized in two days. When my husband met Sunshine, it was love at first sight. They were inseparable for 16 happy active years. Kevin was a heart transplant recipient, and Sunshine would spend many naps with him nestled in the crook of his legs. I would tease him saying if anything ever happens to Sunshine, you will be right behind her. That’s exactly what happened. Sunshine passed away in August of 2010, and my dear husband followed two weeks later. Four years have gone by, but I can still hear my Kevin saying to Sunshine, want to go to McDonalds in the truck for a Big Mac? She would twirl and bark with glee. Oh how I miss them.
    Amy Kliegman: I wept as I read of Moe’s passing. He was a sweet boy who I will remember with great fondness. Just seeing his picture makes me smile. Losing a beloved dog is one of the hardest things in life. My heart is heavy for you, as I know you are feeling a great void. I’m sure he has taken a piece of your heart with him, as did Max, and maybe others before him.
    Sue and Steve Kullen: There will never be a boy better than Moe. He had the best life, as you guys made sure of that. He was a city dog, a country boy, loved the boat, subdued fish, loved the Bay and charmed everyone he met. He charted a grand course. He was one lucky dog. We all loved Moe. He will be missed.
    Doug Lashsley: We have never met, but I read your publication very frequently and could not help but send you a note after reading your tribute to Moe. My attention was first drawn to the photo and then the title of the tribute. It is so easy for me to identify with your feelings having owned labs all 63 years of my life, Chesey, Shiloh, Gambo, Swiss … all of them either yellow or chocolate and each with a personality, character and spirit that made it easy to see why they are partners for life. You provided such a simple yet powerful image of Moe and the dignity he achieved with age. I am sorry for your loss but can tell from the article that he gave you 10 lifetimes of pleasure and hope that’s the memory you treasure.
    Farley Peters: Moe was my friend, my boyfriend. He was one of the most social dogs I ever knew; hated to be left alone. He was always seeking out new friends, and you knew you were his when he nuzzled his head between your legs. Then all you had to do was hug him, love him and feed him, a willing task I will now sorely miss.
    Andy Schneider and Kathy Best: These damn dogs just fill our hearts with joy while they’re with us and then rip them out when they pass.
    Michelle Steel: I will miss Moe so much. He was such a dear, sweet friend to me. Rest in peace, Sweet Moe. There will never be another like you.
    Gail Gash Taylor: I have tears streaming down my face. They are not just dogs, cats or my horse companion of 18 years. They become part of our very being.
    Plus condolences from Sandy Anderson; Margie Bednarik; Mick and Cindy Blackistone; Sharon, Mike, Sarah, Mary and Cassie Brewer; Diane Burt; Kathy Gramp and Scott Smith; Juanita and Cliff Foust, Gail Martinez and Jack Brumbaug; Mark McCaig; Bob Melamud; Don Richardson; Kelly Schneider; Luanne Wimp Slayback; Carlos Valencia …

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

November 12, 2005 – November 29, 2014

Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
    I never expected the guardian angel of grade school prayer to be corporeal. Certainly not a dog.
    The stiff fur of a yellow Labrador retriever covered 125 pounds of vibrant muscle. His chest, where the fur whirled in vortex, was broad and deep. Foot pods were thick and black, indifferent to ice and stone. Lower legs were strong with bone, springy with tendon. Lips black as pods fluttered in elastic opposition to podal density. Quivering whiskers rose from black pores. Ears were soft as silk purses, eyes big, brown and soulful — an angelic giveaway.
    Moe was pure creature, the far end of the spectrum from pure spirit. Yet he did guardian angel to a T.
    By my side? Twenty-four/seven.
    Moe was my dictionary for the words dogged and hounded.
    I have been dogged. I have been hounded. You do not need to hear the trumpet bay of beagles, bassets and blue ticks to experience hounding. A dog who is yours has no need to track you like a fugitive. He has you. Moe hounded with big brown eyes, deep breath and proximity.
    I came to morning not at the alarm clock’s siren summons but at Moe’s silent hounding, head on the side of my bed.
    Dog presence softly told the hours of my day: time to eat … time for a walk … time to play in creaturely abandon … time to be creaturely companions.
    Waking time, breakfast time, waiting time. Moe was a study in patience. He waited through all the diversions that stood between one place and the next.
    “Come on,” I’d say, “we’re going now.” Still he’d lie, giant head between shapely paws, until key in hand I opened the door. Only then would he rise, joint by joint until the whole dog stood, stretched nose to tail and trotted into whatever came next.
    For about 1,700 of Moe’s days, what came next was getting into the car, which for Moe was the lifelong effort of a hundred-year-old dog. My car is  small coupe, so he squeezed into the back seat like yarn threading a small-eyed needle.
    I calculate that he and I drove 100,000 miles together in my little Audi TT. Nine years of Moe time is clocked in its fabric, leather seats worn raw, dog hair woven into carpet, drool stains marking seat back and window ledge. You might have seen us together. He made, I’m told, a memorable sight, with his big head out the window. Parked, I’d often open the hatch to give him air. Resting his head on the seat back, he’d put on the look of the world’s saddest dog as he awaited my return.
    Moe was my assistant at four Bay Weekly offices, one in Deale and three in Annapolis. (He also had a Washington, D.C., office, where he assisted husband Bill, but that is their story.) At work, his job was not demanding. Mostly, he’d lie on his cushion under my desk, waiting for lunch, for biscuit, for walk, for the ride home, for whatever tedium and pleasure those hours would bring.
    The best of the pleasures were wild romps through the woods with holy terrier Nipper, also dead this dog-bereft year.
    Ever this day be at my side … Yes, Moe was.
    Moe’s presence was mostly insinuative. But it could be intrusive. He could sound a clarion bark that shook pictures off the walls, deer out of brush and souls out of their hiding place.
    As my guard, he was potentially formidable. I never locked my car when Moe was in it, and seldom closed the windows. Who would enter a confined space occupied by a 125-pound likely growling creature with inch-long canine teeth?
    I stepped out of the office into secluded lots at all hours, for Moe stood between me and whatever might lurk in the shadows. I slept through the midnight creaks of an empty house fearless of all intruders but ghosts. Moe guarded our house — and all inside — with authority.
    But Moe was more than a guard dog. He gave us the light and guidance I was taught to expect from my guardian angel, even one appearing in such unexpected form.
    To whom God’s love commits us here …
    If those words mean what they say, do they not promise the constancy of God’s love in day-in, day-out presence that is, if not intrusive, perhaps dogged?
    If God’s love is immanent in all creation, it may not be so far a leap of faith to find divine outreach in a dog.
    Some force for which I can find no better explanation emanated from Moe. The very sight of that big dog broke down the barrier of conventions that separate us from one another. Beautiful women kissed this dog as if they were princesses and he their frog. D.C. suits fell to their tailored knees to embrace him. Old men buried their fingers in his fur and wept for their lost dogs. Dog lovers were the biggest but not the only hearts open to Moe. Friends or strangers, loners and gregarians, people fell for Moe.
    “He’s just a dog,” Bill or I would say.
    But many people saw more in him.
    “He’s a magnificent creature,” a last-days friend pronounced. For even as brain cancer advanced, Moe kept his magic.
    For the nine years that were Moe’s eternal present, I felt that magic every day, so it needed no words.
    On Moe’s death, it found words.
    All the days he was at our side, our lives were lighted, guarded, ruled (dog walk is the unbreakable rule) and guided.
    Just a dog opened our hearts.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.
    Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.
    Odd Fellows really exist; we could find trace but no specifics on one branch of the British fraternal organization in Chesapeake Country. Wish we could tell you more.
    What we do know is that theirs is the kind of name these organizations gave themselves back in their early days, when fellowship and good times were more the point than good works. Hence the Elks — the oldest by our reckoning, dating back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era — began as the Jolly Corks.
    Kiwanis we were able to trace to a different origin, though the choice of a Native American word remains a mystery. As do the animal names, Lions, Moose and Elks. Certainly those animals are big stately models, with distinguishing male features of antlers or mane. Both elk and moose have North American ranges. How and why those totems were chosen we long to know. If you know, tell us.
    Interesting too is the coincident founding of so many of these civic organizations, just about a century ago. With the exception of the Elks (1868), Knights of Columbus (1882) and Moose (1888), all were founded between 1905 and 1928, with five in the century’s second decade. Put it down, I think, to one more phenomenon rising from the developing American social conscience of those years, the same that gave us conservation, women voters and prohibition, which began as a campaign for family integrity.
    More interesting than the long histories and odd names of these civic organizations are the human hours committed to good works here at home and in the wider world.
    I keep bumping into good works. Here are ­outreaches going on right now, each one needing you to reach its charitable goal:
    • Severn River Lions Club Fruit Sale: Order by Dec. 6 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus Georgia Elliot pecans. Pickup Saturday Dec. 13 at Severna Park High School (9am-1pm) Order:
    • South Arundel Lions Citrus Sale: Order by Dec. 8 for fresh Florida navel oranges and ruby red grapefruit plus locally made sausage and Virginia sweet potatoes. Pickup Saturday Dec. 20 at K-Mart parking lot, Edgewater. Order: 410-703-3773.
    • Rotary Club of South Anne Arundel County Lights of Kindness: Admire and vote on Christmas trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses and displayed at Homestead Gardens Dec. 4-7. Sponsor a tree to support a charity of your choice: Anthony Clark: 443-822-1606.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;

Give thanks and get ready

It’s a good thing the winter holidays start with a feast. You’re going to need all your energy to keep up with the oncoming season.
    Thanksgiving, only a week hence, is a command performance throughout America. Anticipation and anxiety pair as we prepare for the communal feasting demanded by our native holiday.
    Have we the time, energy and skill to manage a multi-course menu? Or had we better eat out or carry in? The Bay Weekly family spans the options, with some cooking … others going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house … some dining out … and others carrying out grocery-store feasts of turkey, ham and roast beef — each with its side dishes and desserts.
    Even more complex, can we manage the dynamics of our families?
    Who’s coming to dinner? Ask that innocent question, and you’ll hear stories that make you classify your own family in the ranks of the nearly sane.
    I’ve celebrated a whole lot of Thanksgivings. Most have approached with their fair share of trepidation and doubt. A few lived up to my worst fears. There was the Thanksgiving when … I could tell you that story, but you could tell me your own, just as traumatic.
    Yet I look forward to this year’s feast with hope, encouraged by the wisdom of writer Caiti Sullivan, whose Thanksgivings are far fewer than mine.
    “The food on the Thanksgiving table is a bounty to share while celebrating family, friends and the joys of life,” she writes in this week’s feature story, Loving Your Leftovers. “Preparing the feast is a labor of love among us.”
    That’s just what Thanksgiving is about. What better way there than affirming her words in our hearts?
    As well as a good attitude, Caiti brings us six recipes for transforming Thanksgiving leftovers into a continuing feast.
    Leftovers, after all, are one of the few certainties we who cook the Thanksgiving feast can depend on. With all that’s going on, we can’t be sure the turkey will be moist, the gravy lump-free, the guests timely or Uncle Max sober. But there will be leftovers. To that end, I buy a 20-plus-pound turkey for eight or 10 people, and I collect a tall stack of carryout containers. My family and my guests have read Caiti’s recipes, and we’re all eager to eat them.

Christmas Is Coming
    Then, before you’ve worked your way through the leftovers, begins the countdown toward Christmas. It’s a season worth savoring whatever your faith.
    The fun starts Thursday, Nov. 20, when you can Trot for a Turkey through Watkins Park’s Winter Festival of Lights or walk your dog through Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park.
    In this issue, Bay Weekly keeps you up with the fun in Season’s Bounty: Your Essential Guide to Holiday Happenings. Illuminations, Shops and Sales, Santa Sightings, Holidays at the Theater, Skate Your Way into the Holidays and a day-by-day calendar — plus dozens of advertisers offering wondrous things — stuff its 48 pages with seasonal opportunity for you, the kids, family, friends and visitors. Open it up today and fill your calendar from ours.
    Without Season’s Bounty, you won’t know what you’re missing.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher;