Plenty to be thankful for this year

This Just In . . .

November 27, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

This is exactly what I wanted: Charlie Newton, live and in color, scouting another painting. And we have a perfect morning for it -- clouds breaking, suddenly and dramatically, into a white mist over Fells Point. Out on the dirty water, a tug pushes a gray freighter called the Giorgos toward the pier at Domino's in Locust Point, on the other side of the harbor.

Charlie Newton, cigarette in his hand and a squint in his eye, follows the action from Thames Street, by the Rec Pier. He's excited. "A few minutes ago, that ship's bow was pointed right toward us," Newton says. "Then the tug pushed it around and now it's pushing it toward that big sugar joint."

I've seen him squint like that before. Obviously, Newton is taking a mind-print of the scene for a new painting. It's his kind of picture. Water. Tug. Ship. Big, cinematic sky. Come next Thanksgiving, this one will be hanging on a wall.

How can I be sure? Because Charlie Newton is as steady as tug traffic in the northwest harbor. Today he'll spend the day hanging more than 20 of his 1996 paintings in the Waterfront Hotel on Thames. And tonight, for the 35th straight Thanksgiving Eve, Newton will have his annual show. And I know what you'll find there -- interesting, atmospheric, blue-collar, realist street scenes from Fells Point, and lots of ships in the night.

"I like people to look at a painting and know what it is," Charlie says. "I like that guys my age [68] look at my paintings and say, 'Hey, I know that place, it's the corner of South Ann and Thames, outside that beer joint.' And I like it when young guys, biker guys, can look at a painting and say, 'Hey, I know that place. That's outside Miss Irene's.' "

In the new show, he has a painting of a warm rainy night outside Miss Irene's bar. "I had one of the guys from 'Homicide,' one of the carpenters or electricians who work on that [NBC] show, stand outside so I could get an idea how big a person would be standing in a certain place. So he's in the picture. Then, I thought, with all these kids comin' down to Fells Point now, I ought to add a girl." So the "Homicide" guy and the girl are making out. And they'll be hanging on the wall at the Waterfront tonight.

Next year look for the tug pushing the Giorgos toward the big sugar joint.

By the way: Next time you see a pool-shooting scene in an episode of "Homicide," check out the background. That's the Waterfront, of course, and the walls are covered with a Charlie Newton mural.

Annual Turkey Trot

"Do you know what Crohn's disease is?" Mort Hyatt asks, then answers. "It's a disease of the intestinal tract. You don't die from it. You suffer with it, forever." Hyatt has it, lives with it, suffers from it. But he tries to do something about it, too. Every year he raises money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. The money goes to research and patient education right here in Maryland. Last year, Hyatt and his wife, Harriet, sent $12,000 to the CCFA. They had a little help from their friends.

Their efforts began 13 years ago when eight of Mort Hyatt's pals showed up at his house on Ridge Road in Owings Mills for a Thanksgiving morning jog; each of them wrote a check for CCFA. That little buddy thing turned into the annual Turkey Trot, originating at the Hyatt home (12019 Ridge Road) and running five miles (only three if you're a walker) through Worthington Valley. More than 350 runners and walkers showed up last year.

If you want to go tomorrow, go! Just show up. Registration begins at 8: 30 a.m. There's no entrance fee, but trotters are asked to make a contribution. Call 435-3300 for more information.

Plenty to be thankful for

What I'm thankful for this year:

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