Friday, October 26, 2012

Dinner Talk in the Country

I'm not sure what dinner conversations at our house covered twenty years ago, probably toddlers and workplaces, definitely not duck feet, sour oranges or sausage with a pet's name. Where did you guys meet? Still a common question. Or where have you lived or traveled? Guaranteed to find common ground and interesting stories.

Barre Circle, Pigtown, in Baltimore, now a few blocks from Camden Yards, across the street from the home of Police Commissioner Bishop Robinson, which didn't keep some fellow from breaking in my back door to fill every suitcase and pillow, again and again, with items I discovered years later -- a leather jacket from New Zealand, a Gucci watch -- so useful that years passed before I missed them. How many yard sales have they seen? On Orioles game nights, you can probably open what once were my windows and hear cheers, see lights in the sky.

Reston, Virginia, at the entrance to South Lakes High School, bigger than the college I attended. Now 60,000 strong, the place drew me after a New Towns Seminar at the Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, taught by Dr. Shirley Weiss, one professor I'd see at Hill Hall concerts. Does anyone swim Lake Thoreau any more? When we visited a few weeks ago, I wondered if this metropolis was anything like Robert Simon had pictured back when his family sold Carnegie Hall and he used some of the proceeds to start a new community on his fiftieth birthday. The Bowman distillery was still there in my time; now another Bowman is here in my time.

"Keep it up and the world will know your life's history," says Virginia.

If I'm telling the truth. It's about time to canoe Algonquin Park again, search the Poconos for a lost resort, wander the streets of University City. Maybe next year, a year of anniversaries.

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