Volume 14, Issue 52 ~ December 28 - January 3, 2006

Bay Reflections

Reflections are a fine place to start reading Bay Weekly each week (which is why this personal essay always appears on page 3 or 4) as well as the best place to break into our pages as a new writer.

Weekly explorations of living in this time and place, Bay Reflections bring us the experiences — and voices — of many writers. Some are longtime familiars, like Audrey Scharmen or M.L. Faunce. Some are humorists who provoke bursts of deep belly laughter, among them long-timers Pat Piper, Mark Burns and Allen Delaney, joined this year by theater reviewer Dick Wilson. Some are sharp observers of the creatures and seasons of Chesapeake Country, like Sonia Linebaugh, with us from our earliest days; Mark McCaig, an occasional contributor for nearly as long; Dotty Doherty, with us since last year; or Carol Russell and Elizabeth Ayers, new to our pages in 2006.

Many of our feature writers — Maria Bellos, Carrie Madren, Helena Mann-Melnitchenko, Maureen Miller, Margaret Tearman — have also contributed Bay Reflections this year.

Serendipitity brings other writers to our pages, such as Nancy Kelly, who appears once every decade or so, Sylvia Oliva, driven by principle to speak up; or Alice Bradshaw, who at 103 years old, offered us reminiscences we could not pass up.

Which of these writers, if any, will win this year’s prize? If only we could psyche out the North Carolina judges who’ll be reading all the competing columns sent in by all the papers of the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association, Bay Weekly among them.

We’ve honed the choices down to the two writers who’ve each tickled our fancies several times this year — Pat Piper and Allen Delaney.

So, dear readers, that’s where we seek your guidance. Which of these Piper and Delaney shall we choose to represent Bay Weekly as columnist of the year? Read them in full on-line at www.bayweekly.com.

Pat Piper

No Sense Nonsense: Who Wants a 39-Cent Stamp?

What is this thing the federal government has with pennies?

Ever since George Washington took the oath of office that spring day in 1789, people have made careers out of bad-mouthing the federal government. In case you haven’t noticed, it continues today. In fact, it’s gonna continue right here because I need to add my two cents.

–January 19

Music to Fish By

Of course fish like music. But their tastes may surprise you.

Sensing the need for a new topic, I took a pull from the Rolling Rock and asked, “Do fish like music?”

–July 20

Holiday Spirit

Santa’s on the road, and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

I was waiting for the light to change at the intersection of Routes 258 and 2, when I happened to look over at the car next to me. It was Santa Claus. He was behind the wheel of a burgundy Mercury with a big dent in the driver’s side door.

–November 16

Allen Delaney

Clotheslines Make Good Neighbors

I couldn’t believe that the kid had never seen clothes hanging out to dry.

As I slowly opened my right eye, a small, bespectacled face came into focus. It was the neighbor’s five-year-old kid, Wendell, a child who has the ability to seek out and destroy relaxation at 100 yards.

– April 20

Keep Your Shirt On

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you guys this, but you’re scaring the little kids in your neighborhood.

Please, please, please guys, wear your shirt while mowing.

–May 4

The Joint Household: Advice for Newlyweds

The most difficult part of a pending marriage between two middle-age adults is furniture consolidation.

After the ring is bought, after she said Yes and after her two children finally decided not to string you up by your intestines for taking away their mother — after all that comes the most difficult part of a pending marriage between two middle-age adults: furniture consolidation.

–June 1

Another Fourth of July, Another Block Party

Our motto is Safety First, hopefully, which is why we held the Fried Turkey Cook-off near the water.

Again, I want to stress that I never knew vegetable oil could burn! I want to thank all of you for helping to throw sand on the fire. We were doing fairly well until the dock burned through.

–June 29

Battle for the Bay

With today’s gas prices, I may have to learn to love sailing.

Throughout the Chesapeake, power boaters and sailors compete as the Caputlets and Montagues of the water.

–August 31

Do The Wave

Help save a dying gesture.

That is not how you wave. That’s how you give a middle-aged guy a heart attack. A wave is a subtle gesture.

–October 19

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