A new lease on love, thanks to the MVA

This Just In ...

September 09, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

She doesn't have a clue about it yet, but a woman who works for the Motor Vehicle Administration in Columbia will be getting an invitation to the wedding of Julie Field and Stuart Weber. This still-unidentified MVA employee played a significant role in getting Julie and Stu together, though all she did was bounce one of them out bureaucracy's door. Here's the story:

Back in May 1995, Julie, a 30-something college administrator who lives in Howard County, decided to do that four-wheel-drive thing and lease a Jeep Grand Cherokee. She went to Sport Jeep Eagle in Silver Spring. The salesman was Stuart. He was in his late 30s. Julie thought he was cute and felt a romantic tingle, but she kept that to herself because she figured Stuart was married. He'd mentioned something about buying a five-bedroom house, see, and that's not something a single woman associates with a single guy, unless he plays in the NBA.

So she drove away in the Cherokee, leaving thoughts about Stuart on the salesroom floor.

About 10 months later, Julie received a notice from the MVA that her Cherokee registration needed to be renewed. "When you lease a vehicle, renewing your registration can be a little confusing," she says. "But I got all my papers in order and went to the MVA Express in Columbia."

And a woman behind the counter expressly told her she couldn't help, didn't do that registration thing in Columbia. She suggested Julie call the MVA's 800 number for more information. Great, huh?

"So I went out and used my car phone," Julie says. "I called the 800 number and got put on hold for about 10 minutes. So I got torqued and said, 'Forget it!' Then I drove back to the dealership."

Stuart was there. And, man, was he helpful.

He called the MVA. He called the leasing company. He got all the information Julie needed for her registration renewal. Then he and Julie got to making small talk, see, and pretty soon she was telling him about turning 35 and being single, and what a bummer that was. "The conversation was great and it reminded me why I was intrigued with [Stuart] in the first place," Julie says. "So I went fishing and asked about his house."

And she discovered that he was unattached. Yes!

But nothing happened.

Until the next day.

Another salesman called from Sport Jeep Eagle. His name was Ashraf el-Nagey. He offered to take Julie's registration forms to MVA in Glen Burnie. "Boy, what great customer service!" Julie thought. (Little did mademoiselle realize that ole Ashraf and Stuart had worked that bit of schmoozery together; Stuart was on the hunt for romance, and Ashraf was his point man.)

Julie declined Ashraf's offer and went to Glen Burnie herself. "And, I must admit, they were great there," she says. "There were people lined up at 8 a.m. and they opened 20 minutes early to accommodate us. I got my new registration and [license plate] stickers and was on my way."

A little while later, at her office in College Park, Julie's secretary walked in with flowers. The attached note said: "Too bad you think 35 is old. If that's the truth, you are obviously getting better with age. Give me a call some time, Stu."

That she did. And the rest is, well, bliss-tory.

They were engaged in June. They're getting married next spring. fTC And Julie is out to find that woman from the MVA, the one in Columbia who told her she couldn't help her. She actually did -- a lot more than she knows.

No word from Col. Sanders

From our official food taster, Joey Amalfitano: "Dan, we've all heard about -- and enjoyed -- General Chou's Chicken at various Chinese restaurants along the way. Here's a twist. At the Galleria Deli in Lutherville the other day, a lady in line for the popular luncheon buffet inquired of Mr. Deuk Sun Kim, co-owner, if the delicious bin of chicken was of the General Chou variety. 'No,' the proprietor replied. 'That's Sgt. Kim's chicken.' (Mr. Kim served with the elite Republic of Korea Tiger Division in Vietnam.)"

Mysterious stone

The top of the gravestone had broken off near its crown, taking most of the engraving with it. All that remained was the word, "Sacred," which lends grand irony to this little story from Anne Arundel County.

Jack Milstead of the State Highway Administration was on a field inspection along Ritchie Highway in Arnold, near the Big Vanilla Racquet Club. In a patch of weeds and thorns he discovered a 165-year-old gravestone someone had dumped there. Though the top half of the stone had broken away, the bottom half revealed the following: To the memory of Elijah Redmond/Who Departed This Life/Dec. 17th 1831/Age About 70 Years.

"What struck me about this," Milstead says, "is that this guy was born before the country was a country. Who was he? Is there any surviving family? Where is his actual gravesite?"

I'll bet the stone came from an old graveyard that got in the way of a shopping center or road project. Or perhaps Elijah's stone came from one of those family graveyards that dotted the Maryland countryside back before the countryside became the suburbs. Someone, we can be sure, disturbed sacred ground, then left Elijah's stone to the roadside weeds.

If you're a Redmond, or know anything about that stone, give us a call at 332-6166.

Pub Date: 9/09/96

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