1992 to be remembered as the 'Year of the Fruitcake' GLEN BURNIE


December 30, 1992|By BONITA FORMWALT

Christmas, 1992. It will live forever in the hearts and minds of my family as the "Year of the Fruitcake." Each year my family chooses a single arcane topic of interest and proceeds to discuss it ad nauseam for the entire holiday season.

Favorite subjects in the past have included:

* Why a neighbor decided to cover only the front of his house with Formstone and not the sides and the back.

* Just how long is it necessary to continue exchanging Christmas cards with your ex-in-laws after a divorce.

* My cousin David, who moved to Colorado to pursue an alternate lifestyle, which includes not making his children wear shoes if they don't want to.

This year it was fruitcake. Not just any fruitcake, but a specific fruitcake made in 1962 that still thrives in my Aunt Dottie Miller's club basement. (Please note: We always refer to her with the complete title of "Aunt Dottie Miller" even though we're all pretty sure she is no relation to us whatsoever. As time passes, the origin of her attachment to our family has become increasingly vague.)

It seems that 30 years ago my mother made a fruitcake -- the only fruitcake she has ever made in her life -- and gave it to Aunt Dottie Miller, who has preserved it faithfully with rum in the aforementioned club basement.

Now, Aunt Dottie Miller wants to submit this fruitcake to the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the oldest edible fruitcake. This prompted my grandmother to lay claim to the fruitcake because we all know my mother couldn't handle anything

more involved than a Hamburger Helper-type version of a fruitcake.

After six hours of discussion that included 21 members of my family, only one thing became increasingly clear: the fruit(cake) doesn't fall far from the (family) tree.

Happy New Year, Glen Burnie.

* Now that the holiday frenzy has settled down a bit, take some time to drive through the community and check out the winning houses in the Glen Burnie Improvement Association's annual decorating contest.

First prize for the best overall decorations went to James and Frances Potter of 306 Eighth Ave., S.E. This is the second time the Potters have won an award in the contest. Two years ago, they received an honorable mention for their efforts.

Mr. Potter was surprised to discover his house had taken first prize.

"We just like to decorate the house," he said. "We didn't try to win. I didn't even realize we were entered in the contest. We just like a lot of decorations."

The decorations at the Potter house include religious and secular adornments: a handmade wood nativity scene, Santa Claus and his reindeer, Christmas trees and a 4-foot-tall angel made by Mrs. Potter.

"And lights. We have lots of lights," added Mr. Potter.

Other winners in this year's contest are:

* Most Child Appeal: Ray Hopkins, 303 Baltimore Ave., S.W.

* Most Original: Andy Werner, 602 Stewart Ave., S.W.

* Honorable Mention: Daniel Schoene Sr., 704 Delaware Ave.

Runner-up awards were presented to: Jacqui Dixon, 417 A St., S.W.; Robin Fries, 432 Rose Ave., S.W.; and James Lynch, 6 Oak Lane, S.W.

* Joyous holiday music by the Sons of the Severn Barbershop Chorus will fill the hall of the Church of the Good Shepherd during the 7 p.m. Mass on Sunday.

Sunday's concert will wrap up an active holiday schedule of singing for the 41-member chorus.

"This has been a very busy December" (for the chorus), said Orville Henschel, a member of both the chorus and Good Shepherd. "We've had 13 engagements this month -- nursing centers, Glen Burnie Mall, Marley Station Mall, Cranberry Mall in Westminster. We've been all over the place."

The chorus meets every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Glen Burnie Methodist Church on Crain Highway. New voices are always welcome. "We're always looking for members," Mr. Henschel said. "There's no experience necessary. We're a teaching society."

The Church of the Good Shepherd is at 1451 Furnace Ave. For information on Sunday's concert, call 761-4607.

For information on joining the Sons of the Severn Barbershop Chorus, contact Mr. Henschel, 761-3715.

* The music ministry of Holy Trinity Catholic Church will celebrate the visit of the Magi to the Christ child with the presentation of its third annual Epiphany Concert, 3 p.m. Sunday at the church, 7436 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.

Holy Trinity music director Greg Poole is coordinating the church music groups for the concert.

The participating groups are: the Folk Group, under the direction of Daniel Guay; the Children's Choir, directed by Laurence Owens; the Contemporary Music Group, with Valerie Wilburt directing; the Handbell Choir and the Holy Trinity Choir, under the direction of Mr. Poole.

"It's a chance for all of the music groups to get together," Mr. Poole explained. "It's not very often that the members of the church get to hear everyone."

Sunday's concert is open to the community.

* New Year's Eve is tomorrow, and there are still tickets available a few parties in town.

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