Prophet Pat disappears without so much as one word of 0...

ROUTE 2 -- A weekly journey through Anne Arundel County

September 09, 1992|By Candy Thomson Bakery giving away bagels on a birthday

Prophet Pat disappears without so much as one word of 0) goodbye

I feel like I've been jilted by a lover.

Prophet Pat left our section without a single word of goodbye. No explanation. No note.

After more than 20 years of prognostication in these sports pages and the now-defunct News American, the Rage of a Sage has simply vanished. Took his little cartoon picture and hit the bricks.

Some say he left to become Ivana Trump's fashion adviser. Others say he was the player to be named later in the Craig Lefferts deal. Still others hint he will be named commissioner of Major League Baseball.

It really doesn't matter why he packed away his crystal ball and disappeared into the night like Bob Irsay and the Colts. Suffice it to say he left a string of broken hearts.

As one father said to me on the phone: "The only thing my kid reads in your paper is Prophet Pat. He reads it and throws it down in disgust, but at least he's reading."

The Prophet as a literary figure. Scary thought, eh?

But the turbaned one was much, much more. Although the name this section of The Sun has changed more times than Madonna's hair style, the Prophet had been a rock. Everybody knew him.

He was smacked in the face with a pie at a sports banquet. Coaches used his column picks to fire up their teams. Parents and players alike would call our 24-hour Sportsline to rub his nose in missed picks (It didn't happen often. The Prophet carried a 75 percent success rate. But when he missed . . . hoo-boy).

In one of his most celebrated misses two years ago, the Severna Park girls lacrosse team proved the Prophet wrong when it repeated as state champion.

That Saturday afternoon in May, the bus carrying the girls home from the championship game stopped in front of the Prophet's house in Severna Park.

The team got off the bus and serenaded the neighborhood with a Severna Park fight song. The girls left a big bouquet of blue and gold flowers and a huge balloon on a newspaper box in front of the Prophet's house, and blue and gold streamers all over the bushes in the front yard.

The Prophet as a lovable figure? Why not?

The guy would be shopping in the local supermarket (the domestic Prophet?) and someone would call out, "Prophet, Prophet." Same thing at police line ups.

It was humbling just to be a part of the fearless forecaster's world. Even scarier to be his editor.

And now he's left.

"I missed you today," Severna Park coach Andy Borland said on the Sportsline Thursday night. "You made Thursdays exciting, and I know I speak for most of the coaches in the county."

For us, too, Prophet.

First of all, who is Benjamin? And why do the owners of the Chesapeake Bagel Bakery care if he's 3 months old?

For that matter, why should the bagel lovers of Anne Arundel County care?

Well, if you like to eat for free, you should know that Benjamin is the first child of John and Jeanne Luther, part owners of the Severna Park bakery. The child was born one week before the shop opened.

And that's why the shop's newest promotion is called Benjamin's Outrageous Bagel Giveaway.

Aside from that, there is little connection between the bagel emporium and Benjamin, who probably hasn't developed a taste for cream cheese and lox yet.

The bakery does offer a wide range of bagel entrees, though, from the best-selling cinnamon raisin to the poor-selling peanut butter and jelly. "That's mostly for the kids," said co-owner Charles Cockrill.

The promotion itself is a complicated, and sometimes amusing, way of selling food. There are five ways to go about getting free bagels. On three separate days this month, the owners will give away a free meal -- breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Patrons don't know which day. The idea, of course, is for the same people to stop by the shop every day, hoping to get lucky once. In the meantime, they will spend their money on bagels that aren't free, like the bagel sandwich of hummus and sprouts.

"Quite a few people are coming in and asking about the promotion," Mr. Cockrill said. "We've had a 20 percent increase in business. It's kind of fun."

There are other ways to win, such as by picking up free vouchers at businesses listed on the flier. And everyone gets a free bagel Sept. 12.

But it's the free meals that have people coming. And once folks find out which day they don't have to pay, Mr. Cockrill expects the place to be flooded.

Peter Hermann

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