The other day some friends heard I'd never visited the Harvey Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton. To correct this cultural oversight, we aimed a Ford northward and got lost on back roads until we found the fabled green bushes. During that hour's ramble through the Baltimore and Harford county cornfields, I got to thinking about all the places and events I've never sampled in 40 years:
I've never spent a night in Ocean City.
Never been to a Johns Hopkins lacrosse game.
Though I've lived in Baltimore (Charles Village) all my life, I have never had a steak dinner -- or any meal -- at the Prime Rib Restaurant.
Have never attended a high mass at the Basilica of the Assumption.
Have never bought a Maryland State Lottery ticket.
Have never cashed a daily double ticket at Pimlico. I also have never gone near the infield on Preakness Day, but, in 1970, I did dress up as an usher and made $28 in quarter tips taking patrons to their seats in the oldest part of the Pimlico grandstand.
Somehow missed the Italian festival all these years.
And April rolls around and I never make it to the Maryland Hunt Cup.
I have never been able to say no to a second (or third) beef sandwich at a bull roast.
I have never eaten -- and never plan to -- a raw oyster at Faidley's in the Lexington Market.
Have never been to a City-Poly game.
Despite my fondness for Baltimore traditions, I never sailed on the City of Norfolk night boat even though my great uncle was its chief engineer. I also never went to Tolchester or Betterton, rode the Ma&Pa Railroad out of Baltimore or flew on the Bermuda Clipper. And the only taste I ever had of the fabled Baltimore and Ohio passenger train service was on a racetrack-bound express. I never ate from the blue china used in the dining car. Nevertheless, the B&O service was so special I haven't forgotten it.
I've never played golf at Clifton Park.
Never stopped calling the big airport south of Baltimore "Friendship."
I've never gone swimming in the Baltimore harbor. The closest I've ever come was my Uncle Frank's shore place on Log Inn Road, off U.S. 50. It fronted on Chesapeake Bay and I did watch the graceful old City of Norfolk pass by one evening.
I've never made it to the IKEA store in White Marsh.
I've never been to an I-Am-American-Day Parade. I was invited one year, but was out of town that weekend.
I avoid Fells Point on weekend nights.
I have never been to Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, King's Dominion, Busch Gardens or Hershey Park. Once, 18 years ago, my college class had a picnic at the old Marshall Hall. I rode the wooden roller coaster, took a second spin, and my stomach regretted the actions several hours later.
I have never sung in the chorus of an Essex Community College musical. I have, however, watched from the seats.
Have never had a Domino's pizza delivered.
I have never had an appendix removed at St. Agnes Hospital.
I have never set foot on Fort Carroll, the island fortification in the harbor.
I have never been able to endure all of an opera by Mozart. On the other hand, I wish Wagner had written more music for his, no matter how long the performance lasts.
I have never been to a performance of "Cats," no matter how many times it plays Baltimore.
I've never climbed to the top of the Washington Monument -- which is now closed to public stair climbing, anyway.
I have never been able to stay awake for long, boring foreign films at the Charles Theatre.
Ditto quite a few screened at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
I have never been invited for drinks to the L'Hirondelle Club of Ruxton. Ditto the Stonewall Democratic, Cresmont Pleasure, Gibson Island, Sphinx or Rangers clubs.
I have never bought or installed painted screens.
I've never been to Frog Mortar Creek off Middle River. Also, Oella.
I've never been in the Scottish Rite Temple.
I voted against both Harborplace and the aquarium in the public referendum.
I have never been over the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
And I've never crossed off all the items on my things-to-do list.