Inauspicious beginning, tragic ending for Britain's Princess Diana

This Just In...

September 01, 1997|By DAN RODRICKS

A MEMORY of Diana Spencer: July 1981, in a reception tent during a polo match at Windsor Great Park, Sunday afternoon, three days before her marriage to the Prince of Wales. She was elegantly dressed in pink and white, the most recognizable person in the crowd, and she seemed well aware that every eye in the place, including this columnist's, was fixed on her. She did not much smile. She seemed thinner than her photographs (and, in fact, had lost 14 pounds in the weeks before the royal wedding). For the most part, she kept her back to the crowd in the tent, stood by an opening, out of view of photographers and spectators, and tried to concentrate on the polo match - her famous fiance's English team against a South American club. How shy and overwhelmed and ornamental she seemed. How tragic all that turned out to be.

Sounds so good

Just before midnight Wednesday, the first notes of the 1970s hit, "Feels So Good," floated up Main Street in Annapolis. Chuck Mangione, who wrote the song, had pulled his fluegelhorn out of its case to serenade some friends and others on the sidewalk a few doors down from the Maryland Inn. And he drew a crowd in a hurry.

Suddenly, people were fast-stepping down the street, following the unmistakable sound. Some of them didn't know who they were looking for. "Oh, wow, Chuck Mangione! What was that song he sang?" exclaimed a woman in her early 20s who obviously didn't know that the acclaimed 56-year-old musician lets his horn do all his singing.

Earlier, Mangione was in Baltimore to perform the national anthem at Camden Yards. In Annapolis, longtime fans spotted him in the King of France Tavern listening to the Crabtowne Big Band. His horn was in a case across his lap, but he declined offers to play.

Outside, however, someone in his group talked him into it. The sound was unmistakable - the same rich timbre, the flawless intonation. He stopped after a few measures to applause from those on the street. A Crabtowne member shouted a request for an encore: "Hey! I want to hear that lick from the record, you know ..." Then he sang the passage as Mangione looked on, astonished, then smiled.

"You gotta pay for that one," Mangione said. He got in a waiting car and drove off.

Pet etiquette

Just in case any residents get ideas about conducting experiments in animal husbandry, community association leaders at the Bristol Green Condominium complex in Columbia want to lay down the law on pets.

If the association approves an amendment to its bylaws during a "special meeting" Sept. 9, the following restrictions will be official at the 3-year-old apartment-style complex in Long Reach: No keeping, boarding or raising of animals, livestock, poultry or reptiles of any kind. No dogs weighing more than 50 pounds. No more than one cat and three caged birds within a condo unit. No breeding (of pets). All pets must "be accompanied by an adult" when taking a stroll on common areas of the property. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in fines. Do we make ourselves clear?

Elvis, Sonny and Ric

Speaking of animals, I saw a mop-topped alpaca at the state fair Friday that looked just like Ric Ocasek, formerly of the Cars. ... Ron Fangman, a plumber from Lansdowne, says he has a black-and-white photograph of Elvis Presley in his underwear. "Looks like it was taken when he was in the Army," Fangman says. "He's wearing boxers and a T-shirt. We picked it up, oh, at least 20 years ago at a yard sale." Interested? Fangman says he'll take best offer. ... Spotted (by TJI reader Colleen deJesus) in an Ocean City arcade: California congressman, former mayor of Palm Springs, former '60s pop singer, former husband of Cher, Sonny Bono, with one of the kids from his fourth marriage. ... Who says the Women's National Basketball Association won't cut it? Check out this letter from a 20-something friend, otherwise ambivalent about sports: "Dan, have you been watching the WNBA on TV? There's this guard for the L.A. Sparks, Jamila Wideman. I've got a huge crush goin'! Help me, man!"

Neighborhood posters

Just released: Tom Chalkley's new, full-color posters of Fells Point and Hampden, both of them filled with a wide assortment of The Chalk Man's distinctive caricatures of historic and contemporary people and places. Chalkley's posters are busy, interesting and fun, like "Where's Waldo?" meets the Baltimore Bicentennial. The Point poster features, among many others, statesman Frederick Douglass, "Homicide" star Yaphet Kotto, marine antiquarian Steve Bunker, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and street corner astronomer Herman M. Heyn. The Hampden piece is filled with dozens of commercial establishments and landmarks from TV Hill down to Remington. Nice work. Find them for sale in the neighborhoods they celebrate.

A steal of a deal

We love a bonus and a bargain. After filling up on delicious corned beef Saturday afternoon at Attman's Deli, we stepped across Lombard Street to the Helping Up Mission thrift store. A couple of workers in the back were singing along with the radio, "Victory in Jesus," while we checked out the second-hand clothing. Poking through the polyester sport coats and uniform overstocks, we came up with a mauve, two-button, weathered-cotton river driver shirt (a Wallace Beery shirt, some might say), practically brand new, from Banana Republic. Off the rack at BR, that shirt probably retails for $35. At Helping Up, it was a dollar. I felt so good I wanted to go back to Attman's and buy a round of knishes for everybody.

Pub Date: 9/01/97

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