Dock of the Bay

Volume VI Number 37
September 17-23, 1998


  • On the Trail: Gov. G Rides the Bus
  • In Hot Soup: Md. Seafood Festival Simmers
  • Era Ends with Barber Tucker's Retirement
  • Special Delivery: Construction Begins on New PO for Tracys Landing
  • Way Downstream ...

  • On the Trail: Gov. G Rides the BusGwenda Harrison

    photos by Mark BurnsGwenda Harrison of Annapolis, left, greeted Governor Glendening's campaign bus at City Dock.

    This fall's politicking just got stepped up a bit.

    On the eve of the primaries, Gov. Parris Glendening's day-long "state-wide" school bus campaign ride kicked up dust - though the state Glendening and crew toured was only as wide as the ride from Rockville to Annapolis.

    Even if the bus didn't exactly canvas Maryland, it did cover a lot of turf. Starting in Riverdale at 6:15am, the gubernatorial field trip stopped off at New Carrollton, Bethesda, Rockville, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Annapolis and twice more in Baltimore, ending at Camden Yards.

    At each stop volunteers boarded up, including the Rev. Chasep Richardson, pastor at Baltimore's Whitestone Church, who boarded at the Inner Harbor. "There are a lot of things he wants to do, and he's going to need four more years to do it," Richardson said of the governor.

    Ralliers at Glendening's and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's sides had the mission of stirring up the public, getting voters up off their bums and into the booths come November. With a tight race forming once again with Ellen Sauerbrey, Glendening & Co. want to make sure they get as many of their supporters to the polls as possible.

    At the Annapolis campaign stop, Glendening laid out the tour's intent. "What we're out to do is create excitement among voters for the upcoming general elections," said Glendening during a campaign stop on Main Street. "Things are going really well in the state right now; we just want to remind people to cast their vote."

    Judging by blasé pedestrian summaries, they may have a bit of a tough time generating excitement.

    "He came in, greeted customers, they bought a few drinks and they left," recounts Sherrie Staab, who was working the counter at Chick & Ruth's Delly when Glendening and a few of his campaign crew entered. The deli sat near the halfway point of Glendening's march up Main Street from City Dock to Church Circle.

    At least here, the air was not electric after his visit. Staab, for one, was somewhat unimpressed. Was there anything exciting about the governor's visit? "To me, no." Are you decided on a candidate? "I'm in-between." Did his visit sway your opinion at all? "No."

    The bus stopped by the dock shortly after 1:30, off-loading a campaign crowd armed with signs, bumper stickers and flyers. After a brief campaign speech, the group started their march on Main.

    Halfway through the walk, at the corner of Francis and Main Streets, the rally rested with drinks in front of the Crestar Bank building after Glendening's foray into Chick & Ruth's.

    "Vote for Sauerbrey!" exclaimed a woman in a business suit as she cut through the thick of the group, rousing resting ralliers. Heads turned and eyes rolled as she walked briskly across the street into her office.

    "He didn't see me, but most of the others did," said Mary Claire Holder, precinct leader for Sauerbrey's campaign, as she contentedly sipped at her iced tea behind her desk at the Long & Foster office on Francis Street. "They called me from down the street and told me he was coming, so I figured it was time to go get a drink."

    Aside from the brief bit of friendly rivalry, political street action was largely self-contained in the group of ralliers. A few passers-by stopped in to meet and get photos taken with the governor, but for the most part pedestrians were content to look on from a distance. "Oh, it's just a political rally," one woman was heard to say as she craned her neck past Banana Republic to see what the hubbub was about.

    The Glendening campaign machine hiked the rest of the way up Main, boarding the bus at Church Circle and headed off to Baltimore. In their wake was a street full of people the governor talked to, a few excited supporters and one charged up Sauerbrey supporter.

    Maybe a bullhorn truck would help.

    -Mark Burns

    In Hot Soup: Md. Seafood Festival Simmerscrab soup pic

    The Crab Soup Cook-off at the 32nd Maryland Seafood Festival Sept. 12 at Sandy Point State Park was one of life's win-win events. As 24 Maryland restaurants vied for the honor of serving the best crab soup in the state, festival-goers paid $5 for a good cause to sample delicious cream of crab and vegetable crab soups.

    Two categories of awards were made for first, second and third place favorite soups: the Judges' Award and the People's Choice.

    On entering the huge canopy tent, we the people were given a ballot, a pencil, and more importantly a spoon and napkin, then left on our own to sample the Chesapeake's finest soups. Chefs and energetic restaurant staff served up copious amounts of silky, smooth cream soups with lump crab meat and spicy vegetable and crab concoctions that tantalized the senses and tingled the taste buds. Some carried their stacks of Styrofoam tasting cups like proud trophies, even as they lined up for yet another restaurant sample.

    We snatched a moment to visit with Chef Vince Williams of the Bayard House Restaurant before the awards were announced. The Bayard House of Chesapeake City at the head of the Bay has been the People's Choice for three years, but the Judges' honors have eluded him. Finding his spicy soup bright and fresh tasting, the vegetables slightly crunchy, we asked the chef his secret. "We've been developing this recipe for about 10 years, and use only fresh vegetables." That's "all fresh" carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, peeled Roma tomatoes, oregano and thyme.

    This year Bayard Restaurant's ship came in: Williams' vegetable crab soup won first place from both judges' and people.

    Also ranking in the Vegetable Crab category:

    Judges' Choice

    2. Key West Bar & Grill, Hanover

    3. Roy's Kwik Korner, Glen Burnie

    People's Choice

    2. McNasbys, Eastport

    3. Roy's Kwik Korner, Glen Burnie


    Top for Cream of Crab:

    Judges' Choice

    1. Eastport Clipper Cantina, Annapolis

    2. Roy's Kwik Korner, Glen Burnie

    3. O'Brien's, Annapolis

    People's Choice

    1. Treaty of Paris, Annapolis

    2. Roy's Kwik Korner, Glen Burnie

    3. McNasbys, Eastport

    The crab soup cook-off is just part of the fun and food at the annual Maryland Seafood Festival. The non-profit event is run by volunteers to raise awareness for regional non-profit charitable organizations. From sales of crab cakes to crab dogs, every dollar raised by Boy Scout troops, churches and civic organizations goes back to the community. The event also promotes year-round use and enjoyment of Sandy Point State Park and Chesapeake Bay.

    With the Bay full of boats, and backdrop views of the Bay Bridge, sparkling water that knocks your socks off, and the lively music by the Broadneck Gospel Choir, we couldn't think of a better way to say good-bye to summer or supporting Maryland seafood and local charities.

    We only wished we'd brought our bathing suits as well as our appetites.

    -M.L. Faunce

    Era Ends with Barber Tucker's Retirement

    photos by Marilyn Baker Harvey Tucker's steady hand provides a clean cut for Royce Smith.Harvey Tucker trims Royce Smith's hair

    You've seen the square white building to the left just before the intersection of Rt. 255, Galesville Road, as you head north on Muddy Creek Road. For 29 years, Harvey Tucker, now 71, has been cutting hair there. In 1969, he came down from Annapolis, where he'd already barbered for 22 years, and set up shop.

    What was once the old Galesville jail gave Tucker the building he was seeking to open as his own barbershop.

    He found it on a drive, tracked down the owner and rented for $100 a month. Tucker did his own repairs, then opened the first and only black barber shop in South County. The year was 1969.

    Four years later, he took over the mortgage, paying $15,000. In 12 years, the building was his.

    Now Tucker is retiring and with his leaving, an era ends.

    photos by Marilyn Baker Benjamin Puny, of Annapolis, will have to find somewhere else to have his hair cut when Harvey Tucker closes his barbershop after 29 years.

    After three decades, the old building at the crossroads will no longer be the setting for men to gather, socialize and get a haircut. While not as old as Tucker, the building itself is a fixture of local history. The concrete block was built by Anne Arundel County some 50 years ago as its southern region's jail, or sub-station as they were called in those days. Two cells filled the basement, and the main level served as courtroom. After a larger jail was built in Edgewater, the old jail lived three lives, becoming over the years a used car lot, a frozen custard shop and a beauty shop.

    Tucker hopes that after he retires, his old shop will live on. "I don't think it will be torn down; it's a historic landmark," said he.

    At a more personal level, the customers who've filled Tucker's chairs over the years will shake shaggy heads, wondering where they'll get their next haircut.

    One of Southern Anne Arundel's few black barbers, Tucker has shaved and trimmed a large base of loyal customers. "People come from the Eastern Shore, Calvert, Pasadena, Severna Park. Just about all over," he told NBT.barber shop

    One, Dwayne Spriggs of Annapolis, has been coming down for a quarter century. "He's a good personal stylist," said Spriggs, whose hair Tucker has styled since boyhood.

    Royce Smith of Calvert County couldn't find a good barber in Annapolis, Calvert or Prince George's County until his uncle directed him to "the best barber there is." Smith quickly agreed. "Now my whole family drives up from Calvert. He's worth the drive," said Smith.

    The razor cut Tucker gives is a dying art. As Tucker says, "not too many barbers do razor cuts anymore. It has faded out with the old barbers."

    Whether he barbers with straight razor, scissors or shears, Tucker devotes his entire attention to the task. He is slow and methodical as he studies the shapes and contour of the person's head.

    Contours not only of the head but also the face. "In the old days, guys would be lined up for shaves. It was a big thing on Saturday mornings," explained Harvey of an era already ended. Tucker will still shave face or head. Even after a stroke and heart attack, he has one of the steadiest hands in the business.

    Tucker, who was born in St. Margaret's, learned his trade from, he recalls, "a fellow in my community who was my idol.

    "Everything he did, I wanted to do. He had a barbershop in downtown Annapolis on Cornhill and Fleet streets at the Flatiron Corner, where I used to hang out," Tucker recounted.

    "I told him I wanted to cut hair. He started me, then I got bored. Three times I quit." The third time Tucker went to work on a construction site. After a couple of hot days, he went back to the barbershop and asked for another chance.

    "He wouldn't take me back," said Tucker. "I had to promise him that if he taught me how to cut hair I wouldn't leave again."

    With Tucker's promise and some persuasion from another barber came one more chance. "I've been cutting hair ever since," said Tucker. "I would do construction in the daytime and cut hair at night."

    "Back in those days, barber shops used to stay open till 9 or 10 at night. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, we would open at 7am and close at midnight. We had five barbers working and people waiting in line all the time." A haircut cost 35 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.

    "I made a lot of friends made a lot of money and had a good time doing it," said Tucker of the trade he has devoted most of his life to.

    But after so many years of standing on his feet for eight and nine hour days, Tucker is ready to retire. He'll do "as little as possible."

    That's come Jan. 1, 1999. Until then, Tucker does business as usual. As he says, "when your hair's not becoming to you, you come see me."

    -NMK with Marilyn Baker

    Special Delivery: Construction Begins on New PO for Tracys Landing

    Postmaster Heidi Mudd and Del. George Owings, stooped at center, with Anne Arundel Councilman John Klocko, third rom left, break ground at Tracys Landing.ground breaking at Traceys Landing

    Christmas comes a little early every fourth year. The force that shifts the calendar is not some cosmic reckoning like Leap Year. It's set in motion by a far more human origin: election year. Which is the force that finally brought change to little Tracys Landing, Md.

    With seven shining ceremonial shovels, ground was broken for a new post office the week before Maryland's 1998 primary election. If you didn't already know this is a political year unlike any other, this groundbreaking would have told you so. Congressman Steny Hoyer, who took the credit for the long-awaited ground breaking, missed the event, called to Washington by his president on the eve of the release of a certain troubling report.

    But in Tracys Landing, a town with no face but its post office and a nearby elementary school, the stir in Washington was eclipsed by the news at home.

    "Finally! We're very excited about it," said Postmaster Heidi Mudd, who presides over the 900 square-foot empire without indoor plumbing. Replacing the familiar trailer, at the same location, will be a 2,660 square-foot building with two service counters and 24-hour lobby - plus fully modern indoor plumbing and an upgraded brick facade.

    "The new post office will be finished by January 15," promised Tim Hirt of the general contractor Kobane Inc.

    And sure as jobs follow elections, grading equipment moved right in. The "whole lot was cleared in less than a week," said Mudd, swept up in the whirl of progress.

    Meanwhile, postmasters at Port Republic Post Office in Calvert County and Eastport in Annapolis await their promised turn (NBT June 4-10: "Superstores Are Replacing That Old PO of Mine").

    "We're anxious awaiting construction so we can provide better service," said Joe America, new and aptly appointed postmaster at Port Republic.

    "We're obtaining the permits for construction and site plan approval even now," said Elihu Hirsch, project manager at Port Republic.

    At Annapolis' Eastport Station, less was shaking. "We're kind of on hold, hoping we'll be moving forward as soon as possible but when I don't know," said customer relations manager George Norberg.

    But Tracys' ship had landed, and with good reason.

    "This one's been waiting longer than the rest. Since it's a trailer, there's been a long-standing effort to replace it," said Capitol District Manager Allen Grimes.


    Way Downstream ...

    In Florida, people are worrying that the environment will be a victim of The Scandal. The Palm Beach Post put it this way: "Washington is preoccupied with presidential sex. If anyone feels like actually working, the Everglades would appreciate it" ...

    Washington-based American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy will tell you if you're gliding in a guzzler. The council's auto ratings released last week had these vehicles at the top: General Motors EV-1, Honda Civic GX (natural gas) and Toyota RAV4EV. The worst were the Lincoln Navigator, Ferrari 550 and Ford Expedition ...

    In Virginia, a new study by the University of Virginia concluded that one-third of the state's trout streams are damaged by acid rain and that many no longer have any fish. The study, paid for by Trout Unlimited, blamed drifting pollution from power plants in Ohio and West Virginia ...

    In the South Pacific, American adventurer Gene Savoy, 70, is safe but devastated after a storm destroyed his 73-foot mahogany catamaran and nearly cost him his life. Savoy is credited with finding 43 lost Inca cities in Peru's remote rain forests. His destroyed vessel, which had huge dragon heads, was based on images he discovered on pre-Inca pottery ...

    Our Creature Feature comes to us from the marshes, where our friends the frogs have become recording artists. "Sounds of North American Frogs," re-released by Smithsonian Folkways recently, includes the "confident growl" of a Florida gopher frog and the "paranoid honk" of the green tree frog, the New York Times reports.

    The sounds were recorded 40 years ago but the re-release is climbing the charts, possibly because of the rapid decline of frog populations around the world. But how will record stores and music magazines classify it?

    Folkways' Tony Seeger observed that it didn't fit under folk or rock. "We thought we'd put it under 'Various Amphibians'," he said.

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    Volume VI Number 37
    September 17-23, 1998
    New Bay Times

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