When I moved to Maryland 22 years ago, Old Severna Park Village Shopping Center and Dawson's Country Store were the heart and soul of the community.
Time and progress have diluted their importance, as mini-malls and strip centers appeared along Ritchie Highway. But while stores on Route 2 struggle to stay open, good quality shops are returning to the Old Village.
Saturday morning in the village, I dropped off film for developing, bought fresh summer squash for dinner, picked up a bottle of my favorite floor cleaner and succumbed to the temptation of warm pumpkin muffins.
Then I signed up for a painting class, and dropped in next door to welcome Zelma Gossard and her daughter, Jean Zemo, back home to the shopping center.
I also could have had my hair done, my clothes cleaned, and my pictures framed, while my prescription was being filled.
Traffic passing by Severna Park High School the other day slowed at the sight of Top Sgt. Andy Borland (alias head football coach) in head-to-toe fatigues, stalking among his helmeted recruits. All eyes were on the molder of championship teams as he shared his athletic wisdom with the young men.
What is more exciting and filled with hope than the period just before a high school football season?
A 16-year-old Severn School student will spend his junior year abroad as the house guest of a family in Germany, thanks to the American Field Service (AFS) Inter-Cultural Programs and a Congress-Bundestag Scholarship.
Jason Dell, son of William and Beth Dell of Round Bay, leaves this week for an unannounced German destination to begin a year abroad, living with a host family, speaking their language and attending the local high school and exploring as much of Europe as he can. (He won't know where he is going until a few hours before his departure.)
"I like to travel, and a trip like this has always been on my mind," said the mature young teen.
The scholarship -- co-sponsored by the legislative bodies of the two countries -- is one of only two awarded to Marylanders.
"Jason has done extremely well at Severn and has demonstrated his flexibility, enthusiasm and curiosity, traits which AFS looks for in students," said AFS Annapolis chapter president Sarah Morse Viccellio.
Although he has studied French, Jason will be speaking a brand new language from the day he arrives in his adoptive country until he leaves next spring. He plans to participate in sports, although he'll have to wait until he's home to play lacrosse.
Jason will return to Severn for his senior year. His father graduated from the school in 1969.
* As they say at Severna Park United Methodist Church, "Don't give blood by accident."
Show up at the church on Benfield Road between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and make a donation to the American Red Cross. You never know when you'll need to make a withdrawal.
* Some people paste stamps in a book; others count their coins. If your hobby is keeping a list of prefixes or codes for Greater Severna Park phone numbers, your collection already includes 647, 987 and 544. Here are some new ones: 222, 541 and 315.
* Speaking of hobbies, a video on hiking the Appalachian Trail will shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Blue Heron Center at Quiet Waters Park off of Forest Drive, near Annapolis.
After the 75-minute film, Tina Lorentzen will answer questions about hiking equipment and backpacking.
Registration is required, so call 222-1777.
Or you might choose some outdoor footwork closer to home.
The annual Pennysaver 5-mile Run gets under way at 8 a.m. Sept. 13 at Severna Park High School in the Benfield and Robinson roads parking lot.
This race is also the seventh leg of the Annapolis Striders' 1992 Championship Series and the third leg of the County Executive Series.
Registration is from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., and an awards presentation is planned for 9:30 a.m.
The race, part of which takes place along the B&A Trail Park, follows a course of gently rolling hills and mostly asphalt surfaces. There will be refreshments.
Pre-entry by mail before Sept. 3 is $3 for Annapolis Striders; $4 for nonmembers. Race day registration is $5.
New, two-color T-shirts will be available for $5.
For further information, call Race Director Bruce Burns at 267-9400 or the Annapolis Striders hot line, 268-1165.
* Anne Arundel Community College has planned special health service programs during September.
In the cafeteria, from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 14, learn "How 12-Step Programs Succeed."
"Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit -- Stress Management and Meditation" will be the subject from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 16 in Room 107.
The American Diabetes Association will conduct an educational group from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 23 in the cafeteria.
An update of this July's HIV/AIDS International Conference by Dr. Michael L. Levin, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland schools of medicine, will be presented from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Pascal Center for Performing Arts.
For more information, call 541-2480.
In case you are planning to attend the county library's sign language program at 4 p.m., Sept. 22, the location listed in the calendar of events has been changed.
"Rhyme it in Sign," for first through sixth-graders and their parents, will take place at the Provinces Branch Library in Severn.
This program will start your children on a life of caring for the disabled, and it's one of the nicest things you can do if you have a deaf friend or co-worker.
Coinciding with National Deaf Awareness Week, the program will teach the finger alphabet and basic signs through favorite rhymes.
Registration is not required. For more information, Call 222-6280.
There are a few openings for afternoon classes for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds at the Wee Center at Severna Park Baptist Church.
Call Judy Myer at 647-0765.