Settle back to await the 600th anniversary of...


November 06, 1992

AS WE NOW settle back to await the 600th anniversary of Columbus' arrival, his name remains affixed to cities, rivers, an entire South American country. But, somehow, always to places rather than to people.

All those Washingtons and Lincolns -- first names, yet -- those Franklins and Hamiltons and Jeffersons. But where are the Columbus Smiths and Columbus Joneses? As for last names, Baltimore's phone directory lists not even one Columbus.

Happily, Baltimore does have Columbus O'Donnell Lee -- indeed, four men of that name so far, who go way back, toward the mere tercentennial.

It started in Canton, with a sea captain named Columbus O'Donnell; the family, intermarried with Virginia's Revolutionary War Lees, has distinguished itself in Baltimore society and business ever since.

While it's still 1992, will some new Maryland father and mother, beaming down at a new bundle in the cradle, call their young explorer not Cal but Col?

* * * WAS Josip Broz, better known as Marshal Tito, a Serb, Croat, Slovene, Bosnian, Macedonian or Albanian? Most of the Baltimoreans queried in one more of those micro-surveys said just, "a Yugoslav."

His father was a Croat, his mother a Slovene. We would call it intermarriage but over there, in today's definition, his parentage was soiled. Next question: Was Tito a Muslim, an Orthodox Catholic or a Roman Catholic?

The man who held the South Slavs together from WWII down to his death in 1980 believed in, well, state socialism and a secret police. But also in peaceful and prosperous diversity.

Tito was born in 1892. To think that the six republics and two autonomous provinces of Yugoslavia could have been joining this year in centennial observances!

* * * CANDIDATES aren't the only winners and losers on Election Day. From Thursday's Wall Street Journal:

"When the Minnesota Vikings win a football game on the Monday night before a presidential election, the Republican candidate always marches to victory.

"Schoolchildren polled by The Weekly Reader have never favored the wrong candidate.

"And Crook County, Ore., has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1884. Until this year, that is.

"How the mighty have fallen . . .

"The Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 38-10 on Monday night, 56 percent of the students polled by The Weekly Reader picked President Bush and Crook County gave the incumbent a narrow 37 percent plurality on Tuesday. But Bill Clinton won anyway."

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