A trail of love and mystery that ends in triumph for the big galoot


April 13, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS Liesa Abrams

Louis Klaitman has been getting spring water -- "great-tasting, fresh spring water" -- from Chattolanee in the Greenspring Valley for almost 20 years. He's been joined there by countless other hikers, bikers, families and people of all ethnic and social classes who have stopped at the spring, at Chattolanee Hill Road and Green Spring Valley Road, to fill up jugs and exchange friendly chatter. Cancer patients have taken from the spring, too, Klaitman says. Some people have been taking the waters since the 1940s.

In February, however, men and women who made the pilgrimage to the spring noticed that the pipe that carried the water from its source to a stone font had been broken off. Klaitman and another man, Joe Williams, went to Hechinger's to buy what was needed to repair the pipe and make the spring accessible again. "Joe and I got our water, talked for a moment, felt great about what we had done and left," Klaitman says. But, within a few weeks, the new fixture was broken off. As of last week, the pipe was dry.

What's going on? Klaitman doesn't know for sure. If the spring closed by official edict, he missed it; he's never seen a sign prohibiting use of the spring. Klaitman suspects some "valley types" might have grown tired of seeing people, especially "inner-city types," stop by the spring to fill jugs. (Nothing said, but he's caught some icy glares from motorists turning off Greenspring Valley Road, and now feels unwelcome at the spring.)

Klaitman, a Baltimore businessman, claims he and other fans of Chattolanee water have always shown respect for the neighborhood and cleaned up any trash that might have been left by passing motorists. "We never created any trouble," he says. "We just got our water and left. The place was never crowded. We never made any noises or other disturbances." The spring is at the very beginning of Chattolanee Hill Road, right off Greenspring Valley, and a good distance from houses.

People used to stopping there are disappointed. Klaitman is frustrated. "All we did was get our water and leave," he says. "Is that so wrong?"

Pigtown mystery

I received this, shall we say, somewhat off-the-wall and distressing message from Hunky Sauerhoff, honorable son of Pigtown, and I have no idea what he's talking about. If anyone out there understands the meaning of the message -- including you, Hunk -- give me a call.

"Danny, there is this known habitual liar who comes into Pigtown and is always passing lies around on our dead friends and some of our old gang who are just about hanging in there. I caught him on a corner and put my finger write [sic] in his face and told him that the lies he passes are the most faceless, shocking, outrageous, absurd, preposterous, unfounded lies I have ever heard in my life. They are unjustifiably fabricated by him just to disturb someone's peace of mind. . . . He is so ignorant and low-class that he actually thinks I was talking Greek to him. Pigtowne will shine tonight!"

The joy of spring

My hearing hasn't gone, and I am not totally nuts yet. Those most definitely were spring peepers that I heard yesterday morning -- little froggies gone a'courtin' -- in the midst of rush-hour traffic on the Jones Falls Expressway, south of Cold Spring Lane. You know those little froggies were doin' some serious peepin' if I could hear 'em over the rush-hour grind and the radio, way up on the expressway, high above the once-bucolic ones Falls River Valley. Those little froggies must be doin' some serious lovin' this year. Ah, 'tis spring!

For the love of Barney

In case you missed it, Barney-bashing has become a national pastime. Some people cringe when they hear or see America's favorite kiddiesaurus. Teen-agers pride themselves on their mutilated versions of Barney's "I love you, you love me" trademark tune. Others go to extremes. Just last week, a woman dressed as Barney for a drugstore opening in Worcester, Mass., was beaten by a college student crazed with hatred for the purple dino. (While we're picking on ole Barn, what's with those eyes? The guy looks like he has a major thyroid condition.)

But, for all this adult sneering, Barney deserves respect. (There! I said it!) Check this out: The Barnster's videos have been a smash in the pediatric outpatient surgery unit at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Denise Goodman, a recovery room nurse disturbed by the volume and amount of crying in children awakening after surgery, was inspired toward a solution by her own young children. One morning in February she arrived at GBMC, donned Mickey Mouse garb and played Barney videos, goods lifted from her kids. The dozen children in the recovery room quieted down much more easily upon waking up, and some of them seemed to recover faster. The Barney videos have become a regular feature of GBMC's recovery room and the positive results have been consistent since that first morning.

So the next time you turn on your television and struggle to control your facial muscles from forming an expression of disgust in reaction to the vision of gooey love and sunshine that is Barney, remember that the big, purple galoot is doing some good for sick kids in Towson. So there.

Park School intern Liesa Abrams contributed to this column. Contact This Just In on 332-6166, or write to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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