EVEN THOUGH I had been to the grocery store earlier in the day, when the news of last week's impending snowstorm flashed across the television screen, I felt compelled to join my fellow citizens in the mid-Atlantic snow ritual.
You know the routine: Find the last space in the parking lot, curtsy to the OPEN sign and take your place in the procession. Because there are no carts left, you must balance a jug of milk and two liters of Pepsi with three cans of chicken noodle soup without squishing the bananas.
The second time around at the store,I was amazed to see bare racks. The empty shelves that so recently had held milk and bread now looked like a Moscow market photo.
Glancing across the vacant Safeway at the familiar face of Bill Shuman, I gestured at the bare shelves.
Frustrated at not being able to stay ahead of his customers, he shrugged and said, "This is definitely my last winter in this business."
But he'll be back. Groceries are in his blood.
In addition to winter panic-buying, February provides another excuse for shopping: Presidents Day sales.
But while some of us will be lined up at mall entrances Feb. 24 anticipating bargains, others will be lined up at Bay Hills Community Center in Arnold for the Washington's Birthday 5K race.
Sponsored by the Annapolis Striders, the 10 a.m. race is the first of 10 in the Striders' 1996 championship series.
"A person who runs in all 10 championship races during the year is recognized at the annual awards ceremony," said Evan Thomas, an often humorous board member of the Striders. "We call them Iron Men, or strangely demented. I'm not sure which."
Prizes for the Birthday 5K race go two-deep in the male and female overall and masters divisions, and three-deep in seven men's and six women's age divisions. The Striders always provide refreshments.
If you'd like to run but feel you could use a little help getting started, ask the Striders about their 10-week beginners program that starts in May at the Bates School track in Annapolis.
The YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has scheduled its sixth annual YWCA Bowl-O-Lympics for March 23 and 24 at the Crofton Bowling Center and Annapolis Bowl.
Organizers encourage businesses to underwrite the event, donate prizes or form teams of three to five bowlers to participate in the fund-raiser.
The logos of lane sponsors will be displayed, and sponsors will receive lots of publicity.
Individuals and community groups are also invited.
For more details, contact Dee Sher at 410-626-7800.
Stories, proverbs, songs
In celebration of Black History Month, storyteller Stanley "Bunjo" Butler will share his tales at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Severna Park Library.
Mr. Butler, a librarian and manager of the Hollins-Payson branch of the Enoch Pratt library system, has been a professional storyteller for 12 years, performing African and African-American stories, proverbs and songs.
This free program is open to anyone age 6 and older. Seating is limited.
Information: 222-6290 or 222-7371.