Jude Harrison gives comfort to people with cancer
Jude Harrison describes a day at work: "There's good news in--the morning, and somebody dies in the afternoon."
The executive director of Baltimore's Hope Lodge cannot save lives, but she can make them more comfortable by giving out-of-town cancer patients and their families a home away from home.
The warm touches -- lace tablecloths and antique furniture -- that dot the 26-room "inn" run by the American Cancer Society help keep visions of sterile hospitals at bay. But perhaps the best antidote is the upbeat registered nurse herself.
"You used to say the word cancer and you were dead. Now cancer can mean hope," says Ms. Harrison, 50, who was recently named "Woman of the Year" by the Arlene Rosenbloom Wyman Guild.
She has a reason to be optimistic. Eleven days after getting married, her husband, Eddie, learned that his cancer of the lymph glands -- in remission for 14 years -- had returned. The New Hampshire couple traveled to Baltimore for treatment, spending nine months at the University of Maryland Cancer Center and Hope Lodge.
She was appointed to direct the facility in 1988, and has since lived there with her husband, who is in remission again.
How do you turn a neighborhood dive into a hot spot for jazz?
Work 60 hours a week, mop floors, tend bar, discourage riffraff and sweet talk some musicians into stopping by.
If your name happens to be Keith Covington, this works, and your family-owned club, the New Haven Lounge, gets touted as a top jazz spot in the country by Ebony Man magazine.
"When I first started, I was told jazz wouldn't work in Baltimore. The fact that people accept what we do continues to amaze me," says Mr. Covington, 38.
What the low-key impresario does is attract a diverse crowd to the no-frills Northwood club by offering such regional jazz
musicians as Moon August and Gary Bartz.
He first fell in love with jazz as a youngster growing up in Turners Station. "Jazz can bring you to many different moods. It can soothe you; it can feed you, stroke you. It literally provides brief vacations," he said.
While there are drawbacks to running a restaurant and club -- namely missing time with his wife and two children -- the major advantage is getting to listen to plenty of live music.
He even tries to cultivate an interest in jazz in his Edgemere home -- with limited results. "When I'm home, it's strictly jazz," he says. "But once I leave, I imagine they play . . . rap music."