Families poised for vacation as school lets out for summer WEST COLUMBIA

NEIGHBORS

June 16, 1993|By LARRY STURGILL

Tomorrow is the last day of school for Howard County students, and many people aren't waiting for summer to begin officially before taking off on vacation.

A number of Columbia friends and neighbors are heading for Disney World, various beaches and other vacation havens on Friday, the day after school lets out. One friend is turning over the day-to-day operation of his lawn-care business to two sons when he and his wife leave early next week on an eight-week motor-home trip around the United States.

And I talked to a Wilde Lake resident whose two teen-age daughters are flying out Saturday to spend the summer with relatives in Germany. He said this summer at home will be the first vacation he and his wife have had alone in almost 18 years. He seemed quite happy about it.

However, for most people, summer is no different from any other time of year.

It means work as usual.

A lot of students will begin working summer jobs, and like many working parents, will pin their hopes for a summer vacation around a weekend trip to Ocean City, or several days at a nearby amusement park such as King's Dominion, Busch Gardens or Hershey Park.

Many parents will send their kids to various summer camps, hoping to stave off boredom, and prevent them from coming down with a bad case of the summertime blues.

Sports are also a big part of summer for children and parents. Parents who have children playing on tournament and travel baseball or soccer teams know that if it is a winning team, there may be no such thing as a summer break until at least mid-August.

One of life's treasured moments: the gleam on the faces of my 6-year-old son and his teammates as they received a small trophy for playing tee-ball in the Columbia Youth Baseball Program. Watching these 5- and 6-year-old kids play this spring has been a pure joy.

Forget about "basebrawls" at Camden Yards. Go watch some youngsters play the game. This is what baseball is really all about.

*

And . . . one of life's less treasured moments: Last Saturday was a beautiful day, and I spent part of it bike riding with my youngest son on the paths around Wilde Lake.

At one point we stopped to watch the swans swimming near the shoreline.

The solitude and tranquillity of an otherwise wonderfully peaceful moment was suddenly squashed by a group of six young men who approached with an enormous boom box blaring somewhere in the mega-watt range.

As they drew near, the swans paddled hurriedly toward the far shore, and a number of ducks who had gathered at the water's edge begging for handouts took to frightened flight.

Under the angry glares of myself, a family walking along the pathway and several people fishing along the shore, the youths sat down in the grass nearby. Laughing, and with music still blaring, they defiantly returned the stares and made obscene gestures toward everyone around them.

Most of the people simply moved away from this unruly group. However, the incident left me with a bitter taste and begs the question of whether such behavior should be tolerated.

Some people might use the old "kids will be kids" reply.

But, when people use the open space in Columbia, there are rules, written and unwritten, that should be followed. To the best of my knowledge, the use of boom boxes is not forbidden.

Hey, I like music, too. However, at some point, volume and common courtesy should definitely come into consideration.

Everyone should be able to enjoy the parks and open space in Columbia. Unfortunately, it takes only a few inconsiderate individuals to ruin a nice day for everyone.

*

The word "cancer" is probably the most dreaded of all words in our language. In conversation, it is usually whispered, in fear that to say it out loud may cause a flood of pain and anger in others. This feeling is especially true when someone you know or love has cancer in one of its many forms.

For those who have a relative, friend or loved one who is living with cancer, there is Pathways, a support and sharing group offered by the Pastoral Group of Howard County General Hospital.

The Pathways group meets in the Hospital Chapel from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first and third Monday of each month.

Information: 740-7898.

*

Many thanks to Wilde Lake residents Pat Molsen and Geri Morales for organizing a small group of six concerned citizens to help clean up the trash, bottles and cans from along the banks of several small streams in the Longfellow and Bryant Woods neighborhoods.

These streams eventually join and feed into Wilde Lake.

Ms. Molsen says approximately 15 30-gallon bags of trash were collected over the past two weekends.

*

The in-home Storyteller Program is one of the better programs offered by the Howard County Library. Arrangements may be made for a storyteller to visit registered day-care homes to read stories to the children, and offer a variety of songs and other activities.

Also provided are a selection of books for reading and suggested follow-up activities to be implemented between storyteller visits.

Information: 313-7880.

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The Harmony Hall Retirement Center is looking for a good used piano. Anyone wishing to donate one to the center, or who has one that can be purchased at a reasonable price, please call 531-6000.

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