Labor Day rituals signal unofficial end of summer

September 08, 1998|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

It's that time of year when clumps of Maryland's state flower, black-eyed Susans, have only their black eyes left -- signaling the turning toward autumn.

Labor Day felt like the last day of summer yesterday, even if officially there are two weeks of the season left on the calendar.

Outside the region, weather was fierce in Queen Anne's County, where a storm unleashed winds up to 60 mph that damaged homes on Kent Island. Roads were clogged with beach-goers returning home, but Maryland Transportation Authority Police said traffic patterns were normal for the holiday.

On a sultry day marked by billowing breezes in the quiet streets, people partook of simple pleasures such as ice cream cones, tennis doubles, swim races and the last day at the state fair in Timonium.

Vince Filardi, 32, spent part of the afternoon with his pet ferret, Kodo, running in the Otterbein park around the Federal Reserve. "He sleeps just about 22 hours a day," he said. "With his fur, he sweats a little, but he likes to get out here in the sun."

Some were more ready and braced than others to start the September routine. "Soccer season's coming up," said Chas Eby, 13, who was playing ping pong at Roland Park Swimming Pool.

On the other hand, Edith Nichols felt the pangs of time passing as she and a friend volleyed in their tennis whites at Friends Racquet Club.

"There's something sad about winter coming," said Nichols. "Labor Day is a sad time for me always."

At the Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor blocks away, a solitary biker treated herself to an espresso cone. "It's a Labor Day special," said Mary Fox, 32, who starts another year studying for DTC a doctoral degree at the Johns Hopkins University.

Crowds converged on the state fair, a place where "city folks meet the country folks," said spokesman George Wills. He estimated that 425,000 people attended the 10-day event.

Wills said that a raffle prize of a Guernsey calf was won by an Arlington, Va., man who had no experience with farm animals. Andrew Kent, 34, sold his prize to a Hydes farmer, Ron Chason, for $275.

At the Roland Park swim club, trophies, flowers and hugs were given to dozens of children and parents who participated in the final day's meet.

Wick Stanwick, a 16-year-old lifeguard, said she would miss seeing the same children -- the "pool rats" -- every day.

Pub Date: 9/08/98

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