The Christmas morning that Cupid made a dark world glow


December 24, 1993|By DAN RODRICKS

Ten years ago, Beth and Dale Jones were a couple of crazy kids, grad school students, doing that Let's-Live-Together Thing down in Bowling Green, Ky. They were attending Western Kentucky University. They shared a one-bedroom cottage on Nashville Road. It was Christmas Eve. They were young and in love. They wanted romance.

So they had this idea to sleep under the Christmas tree, with all the lights on. "Sounds corny," Beth says, "but we thought it would be kind of cool to wake up under the tree, under all the lights."

They slid into sleeping bags and took a long winter's nap. When they awoke Christmas morning, the cottage was dark. So was most of Bowling Green. There had been a major power outage overnight and, all over the town, Christmas breakfasts and Christmas dinners were on hold. Kids weren't able to try out their train sets. A Bowling Green Bummer, overall.

"It was really cold, too," Beth says. "But we made the best of it. We broke out a kerosene space heater. It had a flat top, so we cooked breakfast, sausage and eggs, on top of it. . . . And we spent the morning slowly opening our gifts. It was past noon, closer to 1 o'clock, when Dale handed me this large gift box. I opened it, and it was stuffed with paper, and I found a little scroll that said, 'Keep looking,' and I dug down inside, and I found another little box. So, I opened it, and inside was a little ring with emeralds and diamonds. I didn't know quite what to make of it."

She oohed, she aahed. She tried it on. "What am I supposed to make of this ring?" Beth asked.

"Well," Dale said, "I like to think it's an engagement ring."

And with the words "engagement ring," the lights ,l,l,12,0,10,5p5,7,7p came on. Beth oohed, she aahed. The Christmas tree glowed, and so did the day. Ten years have passed since that Christmas. Beth and Dale have been married nine of them. They live in Baltimore now. They have two kids.

Chelsea in town

Chelsea Clinton went Christmas shopping with a friend and a couple of casually dressed Secret Service agents at the Gallery over the weekend. She picked up a gift for her dad at the Caswell-Massey store, a "Where's Waldo" book in B. Dalton's, and she shopped in Banana Republic, The Sharper Image, Gloria Jeans and Night Goods. All merchants respected the First Daughter's privacy and resisted making a fuss. Same was true of shoppers. Sun photographer Mark Bugnaski had a chance to take her picture but when Chelsea, dressed in oversize sweat shirt and jeans, asked to be left alone, Bugnaski acceded to her wish. Way-da-go-you-guys.

Fun, fun, fun

A couple of fun calendars have slid across the desk in time for 1994. Jim and Barbara Dale, Baltimore-based creators of a line of popular greeting cards, offer, "Things Men Do That Drive Women Crazy," featuring one gripe for each month. The Dales go with some classics -- "Men leave the toilet seat up. . . Men cannot watch television unless they have the remote control device" -- and others that are more original and clever. A couple of panels are a bit juvenile, but then, so are a lot of guys I know. . . The other calendar came in from the Eastern Shore. Rick Kollinger, the Easton-based free-lance cartoonist who produced two "Schaefer Activity Calendars," poking fun at Maryland's Lord High Governor, this time aims his wit at the Clinton administration. Fun stuff. Look for Bill and Hillary on the cover.

Words to drive by

Sign on Seminary Avenue, Lutherville: "Slow Goats". . . Bumper stickers spotted on Beltway: "Hunt With Your Children, Not For Them" and "I Brake For Old Graveyards". . . Billboard, JFX: "Shop recklessly, drive safely." Ad rack at Rite Aid prescription counter: "The future is here." It's double-headed toothbrushes! . . . Hottest New Year's Eve ticket: The Crystal Ball, to benefit the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter. Takes place at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Tickets: $40.

Good deed, indeed

Raise a toast to good guys. Donald Moore is an "aggressive recycler," gobbling up aluminum cans all year at the Joppatowne substation of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department. What do Moore and his comrades do with the cash they get from cans? They use it to buy turkeys for the needy. Last Saturday, the volunteer firefighters delivered 15 holiday birds and a bunch of food baskets to the Joppatowne Christian Church. Way-da-go-you-guys.

Well, what's the girl to do?

The last day for an old strip-joint, Club Playgirl, is Dec. 31. That's when the lease expires. The Rombro Building, in which the club has been housed for years, is scheduled for a face lift and a new life, according to Michael Abrams, president of the company that owns the six-story building at 22-24 S. Howard St. Employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will be moving into the upper floors, and Abrams wants to see a restaurant on the first floor. That means curtains for Club Playgirl. More on this next week.

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