Up in the airIT'S NOT only kids who play pretend with...

Sometimes Scene in the County

November 16, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel The force is with you

Up in the air

IT'S NOT only kids who play pretend with model helicopters who are awed by the MedEvac chopper, the airborne ambulance.

The backup Monday night on westbound U.S. 50 extended from Davidsonville as far back as you could see, as police and rescue workers dealt with a serious accident.

Before the standstill hit a half-hour, many drivers turned off their engines.

People sat on their cars, strolled on the highway and chatted with strangers: "Yes, must be a terrible crash. What can you see?"

Others turned up their car radios to jet-plane volume, trapping some drivers between incompatible music.

But when the helicopter circled and touched down in the darkness, people in my part of the backup stopped what they were doing and saying.

Some lowered the decibels so they could hear the whirr of the helicopter. They were riveted when it landed. With car doors open, they stood on the side or the seat trying for a better view. They gasped, collectively, when the helicopter lifted off.

"Cool," commented one driver. THE WHITE Toyota had been sitting in the parking lot next to the Oxbow Inn on Ritchie Highway in Arnold for more than an hour Monday when the tow truck finally arrived.

The driver jumped out, grabbed all his tire-fixing tools and went to the rescue. "No need for the wrench," the car owner told him. "The lugs are off. It's just the tire won't budge."

He had wiggled and jiggled, tugged and pushed, and all he had to show for his trouble were two dirty hands cut by the wire that formed the interior "belt" of the worn tire, he said.

The tow truck driver tried the tire, then went back to his truck and returned with a 2-by-4 the length of a small landscaping tie, apparently to block a wheel and keep the car from rolling. But no. The tow truck driver slid under the front end of the car, pulled back and took a mighty cut at the tire with the 2-by-4. BAM!

The tire popped off, clanged to the ground and rolled a foot before falling flat.

"Oh, I get it," said the car owner. "If it won't go, force it."

Joel McCord

No waiting

FOR THE first time ever, the line of cars going into the Glen Burnie post office doesn't extend into a lane of Ritchie Highway. And more amazing Tuesday morning, parking spaces were open, even several right in front of the door. There's a chance of getting out in less than a half-hour with the package of zucchini bread Mom sent.

Or not.

The sign taped to the door explains everything. Oh, yeah. Veterans Day.

Rosemary Armao

In the can

WHILE THE coffee machine was grinding a pound of the Christmas blend beans Wednesday, the talkative saleswoman at the Glen Burnie Starbucks mentioned that she had been in Wal-Mart the previous night and heard Christmas music.

As she shook the last bit of grounds into a bag and closed it, she confessed that working in a store with canned music can have its drawbacks.

"I can't believe they start it this early," she said, as mellow New Age-style music played in the background.

"I think I would go out of my mind if we started to play it this early, and I sure wouldn't want to hear any more of it at Christmas."

Brian Sullam

Service with no service

LAKE SHORE Exxon in Pasadena reopened for business Wednesday as a "Tiger Mart," several months after the old station was demolished. The service bays are gone -- in their place are a convenience store, a mini-Jerry's Sub Shop and a cappuccino dispenser.

A costumed tiger waved to motorists snaking by along Mountain Road during the evening rush hour, beckoning customers to fuel pumps where prices started at $1.16.9.

Inside, offerings included any size cup of "Bengal Trader" cappuccino, coffee or hot chocolate at a special price of 29 cents (plus 2 cents tax).

The biggest impact might have been at Wilson's Citgo station a few blocks to the west, where the price of regular dropped a nickel that day to match the new competition.

"I had to do it," said longtime proprietor Norman Huffman, adding that he had observed falling prices at stations on the far side of Lake Shore Plaza as well.

Huffman said he feared that people passing him by for lower prices elsewhere would not return. Still, it's hard to fix a flat tire with cappuccino -- and Wilson's, at least, remains a "service" station with repair bays, air pumps and a mechanic on hand.

David Michael Ettlin

Bad connection

ON THURSDAY, I made a phone call, trying to reach a heroic man who had tried to help a retired teacher going into diabetic shock behind the wheel on a Pasadena street. A young boy answered the phone and said the hero was not at home.

"Do you know when he'll be back?"

"Around the corner and make a right and then you're there."

"Do you know when he'll be back?"

"4: 15 and 8."

"Is your mommy home?"

"No."

"Is your daddy home?"

"No."

"Is your older sister home?"

"No."

"Is your older brother home?"

"No."

"Well, who's home with you?

"Grandma."

"Let me speak to Grandma."

"Wait!" the kid said in a whisper. "We can do anything."

"Let me speak to Grandma."

"No! Wait!"

"No. I have to speak to Grandma."

"Why?"

"It's important."

"It is?"

"Yes."

"OK. Grandma!!" Grandma picked up the phone and all was clear at last.

You have the wrong number, she said.

TaNoah Morgan Pub Date: 11/16/97

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