Bay Reflection
Reflecting on 1999

Life as we know it up close and personal is the usual subject of our Bay Reflections, while Bay Commentary brings us principles to guide us in living sustainably into the Third Millennium of our Common Era. Many voices share this space, keeping it fresh and vital. Some are familiar, some new.


Just as it's become customary for the Ku Klux Klan to rear its ugly head in Chesapeake Country every year, so it's become customary for NBT general manager Alex Knoll to take up his pen to dress them down. This year, however, he sided with the Klan, in a way, and against Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens' decision to end the county's Adopt-A-Road program rather than give the Klan a clean-up route and road sign. Here's a bit of what he had to say:

When Eddie, our class clown, put a tack on my fifth grade teacher's chair, I learned a lesson: Mrs. Merrick revoked recess privileges for the entire class for two weeks.

And once again it looks like -- if Executive Owens has her way -- the innocent are going to pay for someone else's deeds.

This time it's not the class clown. It's the classless Klan.


With us since our earliest days - way back in 1993 - is Audrey Scharmen, NBT's blue ribbon-winning columnist in 1998's Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Editorial Contest. Scharmen continues to find her inspiration - and metaphors for human life - in nature. In "Endangered Species," she considered mute swans and little girls:

She was born on a gray day in midwinter when snowdrops bloomed beneath the bare branches of a crabapple tree and mute swans came to this tributary of the Chesapeake for the very first time

At Mother's Day, her garden recalled another relationship:

I remember Mama each spring when I first go into my tiny dooryard with eager plans for my garden. Mama was a realist. She raised a passel of kids in the midst of a Dustbowl and a Depression. If it couldn't be eaten, she didn't grow it


Contributing editor M. L. Faunce reflected on endings and beginnings this year.

As the 106th Congress convenes in Washington this month, she wrote in January, for the first time in nearly 30 years I won't be commuting to the Capitol. Now I'll meander along Muddy Creek Road in Southern Anne Arundel County toward Maryland's Capitol (and our nation's first) in Annapolis

Her new career as a staffer at the Maryland House of Delegates occasioned another Commentary, "From the Sublime to the Ridiculous":

Maryland's three-month-long General Assembly is part high school football game, part New Year's Eve gala. In the House, the engine that could struggled up a summit of 1,218 bills, introduced in a furious frenzy

But it was her Father's Day Reflection on old times, "The Babe and the Boys," that brought tears to readers' eyes:

My father and his brothers all remembered with clarity the effect Babe Ruth had on their lives at St. Mary's Industrial School, where they were sent in much the same way he had been ...


Another babe appeared in our pages as young uncle Mark Burns reflected on the public arrival of niece Mary Catherine into the world:

Now it's safe, so Dad and I step into the sanctum. Yon hallowed sanctum where the miracle of human birth has just been wrought. It's awe inspiring. It's befuddling. It's gross.


Many a NBT reader would rather have a Pat Piper reflection than an invitation for New Year's Eve. One comes our way every quarter or so to leave us shaking our heads and smiling. Such a one was this year's popular favorite, "One Brief Shining Moment":

"Al," I began. "Janis Joplin was a great singer, but she wasn't around very long. We appreciate her now. It's the same thing that's going on with the peonies. If they bloomed all summer, we wouldn't be having this conversation."


Many new voices joined us this year, among them -

Christopher Heagy, whose turning 25 awed him but did not strike him speechless. After interviewing some of us still able to remember what 25 was like and others not yet there, Heagy reflected:

Maybe that's what I miss most, the wild dreams of youth and the innocence to believe they might come true ...


Lori L. Sikorski, journalist and family woman, blesses us with reflections on family and her special commentaries from the "Front Lines of Literacy."

Holiday reading, she wrote in December, has become as traditional as putting up the wreaths in our home. We gather around the glow of the tree

Earlier she visited a first-grade classroom to discover how a much-touted reading program really worked.

Sixteen new words are introduced in a riddle game. When him becomes ham, several of the girls giggle. When the teacher urges the class to replace the T in top with a P, there is a rousing sound of Pop!

But Sikorski tugged at our heartstrings in "My Recipe for Thanksgiving":

The year after my mother died, Dad and I still shared Thanksgiving cooking, only this time he was in my kitchen


And newcomer Connie Darago celebrated the holidays by reminding us anew of old wisdom:

The perfect gifts I always sought were there right in front of me. My husband, children and love. Everything else was just buttons, bows and doodads.

| Issue 52 |

Volume VII Number 52
December 30, 1999 - January 5, 2000
New Bay Times

| Homepage |