Opening my kitchen door, I found my neighbor on the step, a large plastic measuring cup gripped tightly in her hands.
"I'm making dinner and I need something extra for the gravy," she said as she headed for my bathroom. "Where do you keep your NyQuil?"
As she wrestled with the tamper-resistant, child-proof cap, I steered her back toward the kitchen and the benign safety of flour.
"I promise it's just this one time," she explained, attempting to saw through the lid with a Ginsu knife. "It's practically an emergency. The entire family is sick: body aches, watery eyes, sneezing, runny noses, coughing.
"All night, every night. Ack, ack, ack. It sounds as though they're all trying to cough up a hair ball. And you know how I hate cats."
Murmuring soothing advice on chicken soup and hot tea, I pried the bottle from her hands.
"My house is a mess," she wailed. "Empty nose spray bottles litter the floor, casualties in a war against the sinus. Loved ones clutching entire rolls of paper towels debating the value of the quicker-picker-upper as they cope with the humiliation of post nasal drip."
Lowering her voice, she whispered, "We all smell like Vick's Vapo-Rub. Always. I believe the odor has even permeated the wallpaper."
Several hours later, after promising the groundhog would rise and offer an assurance of an early spring, she relented.
Abandoning her NyQuil-gravy recipe, she opted for a dessert using Flintstone vitamins.
Yabba-dab-achoo, Glen Burnie.
Warm summer breezes, the smell of Coppertone, sounds of children laughing as they splash one another. With the summer swim season at the Country Club Estates Recreation Association less than four months away, it's time for the annual membership drive.
From today through May 1, the CCERA is accepting applications for membership. Membership is open to the community, with several plans to fit different needs.
Full memberships are $250 per family and include use of the association's 25-meter pool, a kiddie pool, playground, volleyball court, basketball court, softball field and access to the CCERA boat launch and fishing pier. There is a $20 discount if full payment is made before March 15.
Also available is a social/recreational membership for $100, which excludes the use of the pool area.
Two levels of senior citizen discounts are available.
For those feeling lucky, raffle tickets for a one-year full membership are being sold by the CCERA for $1. The drawing is scheduled for May 28.
For additional information call Kathy Nangle, 766-9788.
Hoping to dispel the myths and misinformation surrounding the operation of amateur ham radios, Hal Camlin will address members of the Harundale Presbyterian Church Retired & Redirected Club at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Camlin, president of the Bay Area amateur Radio Society, will discuss what he terms the "12 myths of amateur radio." For example, he explains, many people incorrectly believe that operation of a ham radio will interfere with television reception or that an operator must know Morse Code.
A retired manufacturing engineer, Camlin began a 45-year commitment to communication while serving in the Marines during the Korean War. Since then he has spoken to fellow operators spanning the globe, including Japan, Germany and England.
With today's easy communication between neighborhoods, states and nations, it is easy to forget a time when the Iron Curtain made ham operators the only link to many countries.
"As an operator, there were no political boundaries. The communication promoted goodwill between countries," recalled Camlin.
Today, ham operators are just as likely to be found relaying information at the Boy Scout Klondike Derby or handling communications for statewide events such as Cycling Across Maryland. Recent space shuttle explorations have included communication between astronauts and students via ham radio.
JTC The next meeting of the Bay Area amateur Radio Society is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Northern District police station on Hammond's Ferry Road.
For information on either meeting, call Camlin, 766-3878.
Raising children has never been easy, but economic instability, changing social values and increased health concerns often strain the relationships within the modern family.
To help improve family communication and child-raising skills, Glen Burnie Senior High is offering a four-session workshop, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays starting March 21.
"Parent To Parent" offers video lessons, discussions and methods to apply the material to issues at home. Practical assistance will include tips on monitoring possible drug and/or alcohol use.
This free seminar is open to all parents of GBHS students. Registration forms are in the school newsletter and should be returned to the guidance office by Friday.
For information call Dale Mills, 761-8950.
The Abundant Life Church School of Music and Fine Arts is accepting registration for its 1995 winter semester. Private lessons are available for piano, guitar, bass, drums, beginner flute and voice. Classes are $12 per half hour.
Abundant Life Church is at 7305 E. Furnace Branch Road. For registration information, call 761-9075.
The Old Mill Middle North Band Boosters are meeting tomorrow to discuss fund raising and chaperon payment plans for the spring trip.
The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. in the school band room.
Continuing through Feb. 15, band students will be taking orders for a submarine sandwich sale. Delivery is scheduled for Feb. 25.
For information call the school office, 969-5950.