It's a sort of trophy collection, the bulletin board full of pictures of mangled tractor-trailers, derailed automobiles and bulldozers buried in the mud.
The photos hang in the office of Tauber's ServiceInc. of Linthicum -- a testament to the little towing business' talent for getting any vehicle out of whatever mess it's managed to get itself into. In more than 60 years, Tauber's has yet to find a set of wheels it couldn't move.
The pictures tell the story:
A huge, log-laden rig that went over the bridge at the Beltway and Camp Meade Road. Cars half-submerged in streams and ponds. Tractor-trailers jackknifed on snow-covered roads. Caterpillars up to their axles in ooze.
"Every day is something different," says Julius Tauber, 67, the soft-spoken man who has owned the towing shop for nearly 45 years.
No one -- not even Tauber -- is sure when the business was founded. He knows it date backs atleast 60 years, because he remembers playing there when he was a small boy.
Longtime Linthicum residents say that, along with Ted's Pharmacy (once called Albrecht's), Tauber's is one of the oldest -- if not the oldest -- business in town.
Tauber's was founded by the current owner's grandfather. "I don't even remember his name," he says."I think it was Rudolph."
When the grandfather died, Julius Tauber's uncle, Rudy (called "Junior"), took charge of the business and ran it until 1947, when Julius Tauber, then 21, came back from the service after the end of World War II.
Tauber had worked a little as amachinist before going into the infantry, but he didn't want to go back to that.
"I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself," he says. So he narrowed his options to two: the towing business or the U.S. Postal Service.
"I took the exam for the post office," he recalls, "and the day the post office called me to come to work I had taken over here, and I was undecided what to do. Now I'm not sure I did the right thing,but I think I did."
Tauber has always known a thingor two about cars. He raced for awhile, back in the 1940s; a member of the Delmar Vintage Racing Club, he still takes to the track now and then in his 1940 Ford race car.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Tauber built his own tow trucks. For a time, he says one of his home-madecreations enjoyed the distinction of being the largest tow truck in Anne Arundel County.
Today, the shop boasts seven red, gleaming, state-of-the-art tow trucks and an atmosphere peculiar to small businesses in small towns.
People like to hang around the towing office,shooting the breeze and patting the two old dogs who call the shop home.
And if you've lived in North Arundel long enough, chances areTauber's has gotten you out of a scrape at least once.
"They rescued me in a snowstorm" more than 30 years ago, says Anna Bachman, wife of Councilman George F. Bachman, D-Linthicum.
"I was coming homefrom church with my daughter -- she was 2 or 3 -- and the car ran right off Dorsey Road into a ditch. Mr. Tauber took my daughter and I home, because we couldn't get the car out."
A tower does much of his work at night, in lousy weather, or both. Though he employs four younger men, including his son, Mike, Tauber still goes out on the road.
"When we're in bed, he's out," says Martin Ziegler, who's workedat Tauber's for 12 years.
The pictures on the bulletin board and in Tauber's photo album don't do justice to all the screwy situationsthe towers have seen, Ziegler says.
There's no picture, for example, of the kid who drove a stolen car through a fence into a North Linthicum swimming pool. Or of the man who lay for two days, upside-down, in his car before it was found in a drainage ditch along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Or of the guy who stopped to fish on Belle Grove Road, put his car in neutral, then watched it roll downhill intothe water with $600 in the trunk.
"Then you have the people back in the woods on lover's lanes, but nobody wants to talk about that," Ziegler says.
"Friendship Park's a good one for that."
Tauber says he probably will turn the business over to his son soon. Come March, he will have spent 45 years in the towing business, and that's long enough, he says.
Besides, "I just bought a new motor home, and I'm ready to try it," he says, secure in the knowledge that if he runs off the road, into a ditch or over a bridge, he knows where to callfor help.