Inauguration Day in Annapolis was a gloomy affair. It was hard to be upbeat, what with the gray, rainy weather, state troopers toting machine guns, and the Governor and Lt. Governor in bullet-proof vests as a reminder that in these times, terrorist acts are a distinct possibility.
There was a sea of umbrellas in front of the State House, where guests waited while Maryland's Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals Robert Murphy administered the oath of office to Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Lt. Gov. Mickey Steinberg in the Senate chambers.
Murphy's crimson robe added a touch of warmth to the event. According to Schaefer scheduler Lainy LeBow, the cost of the inaugural is expected to come in under $30,000, which she thinks is probably the least expensive inaugural in the country.
Some who braved the elements were BG&E's head honcho George McGowan, who stood under an umbrella with his wife Carol, a member of the Maryland Racing Commission, and Baltimore businessman Ted Herget. Nearby was attorney Claude Callegary, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Eddie DeWaters, Baltimore County Register of Wills Peter Basilone, John Appel, Ned Griffith, and recently defeated Baltimore County Sheriff Ned Malone. I also spotted several other friends, Al Flora, Joanna Meyers, Leroy and Floraine Applefeld and Kitty and Calvin Chin with their daughter Stephanie.
Almost on cue, the sun came out briefly when the governor and his entourage arrived on the tented podium. The tent was a last-minute addition, thanks to Puddy Loane, owner of Loane Brothers.
Onstage were folks like Hilda Mae Snoops, who had held the bible for the governor's swearing in; Federal Court Judge Norman Ramsey, who gave a glowing presentation speech for the Schaefer; Senate president Mike Miller and Rabbi Matthew Simon, whose benediction was quite moving.
While trying to get through the crowd, I saw Judge Mary Arabian; lobbyists Frank Goldstein and Bill Dunbar; Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden; Harford County Executive Eileen Rehrmann; Donna Felling, who was defeated in her re-election attempt for the Baltimore County House of Delegates; Sen. Nancy Murphy; the state's Secretary of Personnel Hilda Ford; Joe Defrancis, race track czar; Shirley and Brice Phillips of Crab house fame; the state's Secretary of Economic Development Randy Evans and his wife Lynne; and Nancy German, Mike Miller's top aide.
Lt. Gov. Steinberg and his wife Anita are a joy. In the midst of a somber receiving line, Steinberg broke into a jitterbug routine with one of his fans. His antics helped take some of the tension out of the scene.
Speaking of Senate president Miller -- he's come to Annapolis a lean, mean working machine, having lost about 25 pounds since he and Prince George's County Delegate Gary Alexander had a weight loss contest.
Miller and Alexander weighed in opening day of the session in the nurse's office -- Mike with his clothes on and Gary without his. Both made their goals, so now the bet continues to the last day of session -- whoever weighs the least wins.
But it's so hard to diet with the many legislative lunches, dinners and receptions going on seemingly all the time.
The Cafe Des Artistes was recently the scene of a happy birthday dinner for volunteer extraordinaire Carole Sibel. She and about 20 of her friends, or should I say her committee of friends, celebrated in grand style . . .
Gamberdella's Bridal Show and High Tea scheduled for Harbor Court Hotel tomorrow from 2 to 5 p.m. is still on, but the special reception for Harbor Court clients scheduled for that same evening was canceled because of the war . . .
Speaking of Harbor Court, I hear the recession has taken its toll and management has asked a group of employees to take a five percent pay cut.
Sylvia Badger's column also appears Tuesday in the Accent section of The Evening Sun.