Counterman conquers as lunch and love collide

This Just In ...

April 28, 1999|By DAN RODRICKS

THEY MET across the deli counter -- he, in the white shirt and apron, making sandwiches of high-quality imported meats and marinated vegetables, and she, on lunch break from her job in the billing department at Picorp Inc., a cargo container depot on Lombard Street. Will Bauer liked what he saw -- Angela Lambrow, attractive, 22 years old, with long brown hair and a beautiful smile. When she went into DiPasquale's Italian Marketplace in Highlandtown that day, she knew what she wanted -- the Caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil on panino).

Will was smitten. Love at first lunch. But there was a problem.

"I didn't know if it was a good idea to hit on customers," he says. "So I asked her sister if it was OK."

Stacey Lambrow, a DiPasquale's regular who works with Angela at Picorp (and who had recommended the Caprese), said it was OK.

That happened a year ago. Will and Angela have been dating since.

"Angela knew it was true love the day she came in for lunch and I sent her a cheesecake with two strawberries for dessert," Will says. "Usually the cheesecake comes with one strawberry. I put an extra one on for her, and she just knew."

So this is getting serious, right?

Spring arrived and Will, who turned 25 this year, was thinking about asking Angela the big question. Among other things, this young man sells a hearty Italian cold-cut sandwich called the Old World. His instincts about asking a woman to marry him are Old World, too, because, 10 days ago, he went to her father, Gus Lambrow, for permission to propose.

I don't think that's done much anymore.

"I got his blessing," Will says.

So this is getting even more serious, right?

The other day, Will arranged to have Angela come into DiPasquale's for lunch again. "She came in with her sister," he says. "I had the engagement ring in a strawberry on a plate with the sandwich. She wasn't going to get the Caprese, but at the last minute she ordered one."

Will made the sandwich, garnished with the ring-spiked strawberry, then stepped around the counter.

In front of 25 or 30 people, in the glow of the salami-packed, salad-heavy deli case where they first met, Will dropped to one knee and he held up the sandwich, his hand shaking, and he said, "Angela, I love you with all my heart. Will you please marry me?"

Applause. Cheers. Mushy feelings all around. Midst all the happy clamor, Angela said yes. Will was so nervous, his legs wobbled and Angela had to help him to his feet. He pointed the ring out to her. She pulled it from the strawberry. He wiped it on his apron and put it on her finger. There now, isn't that a beautiful story?

Refugees in need

Since last month's plea for donations to help ethnic Albanians fleeing Kosovo, Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services has received nearly $4 million from contributors, including actor Paul Newman, who gave $250,000 in profits from his Newman's Own food products line April 7. Yesterday, 95-year-old comedian Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, matched Newman's donation.

It would be nice to see more Americans with means reach into their pockets for the Kosovo refugees, who number in the hundreds of thousands. Maybe a professional athlete making gobs of money will step to the plate -- baseball metaphor -- and write a check. Albert Belle, for instance. He's making $13 million this year and next year and next year and next year and next year. It would be grand to see the itinerant slugger or one of his 20 millionaire teammates throw in a quarter-mill to help the effort to relieve the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. The Orioles are in the midst of a homestand, Albert, and CRS is just a few blocks from Camden Yards.

Then there are those gloating lawyers who just won that big settlement from Ernst & Young in the Merry-Go-Round litigation fest -- Stephen Snyder, Arnold Weiner, Billy Murphy and Larry Gibson, among others. They're due to split about $70 million. They could pledge substantial cash for the Kosovo refugee relief effort, too. Here's the number, fellas -- 1-800-736-3467.

Hurry back, Hon Man

I guess hundreds of thousands of people have seen the work of Hon Man by now. Starting about six years ago, he'd staple a simple addendum to the wooden welcome-to-Baltimore sign on the median strip of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. As often as he stapled the white-and-black "Hon" placard to the welcome sign, someone would come along and tear it off. So, it's not always there.

When it is, people smile. One person, in particular, gets a boost from Hon Man's handiwork. Kathy Dowell of Bowie has been coming into Baltimore regularly since the fall of 1997 for treatments for various illnesses, including pancreatic cancer. She and her husband, John, are frequent visitors. They always take the parkway.

"Every day we get into the car, we play a little game: What's the temperature going to be on the Steel and Wire Products Co. building, and will Hon Man say hello on the sign? We didn't know anything about Hon Man. I thought at first it might be a man who was welcoming his girlfriend. Even when the [sign] is down, it's fun to see the staples left behind and know someone was taking the time to go out there again and again. Some days I don't feel well and any little thing can make my day. The sign's been gone for a while. I thought, 'Awww, Hon Man moved. I guess he's moved on.'"

Don't worry, he'll be back.

Pub Date: 04/28/99

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