Revelers ignore weather, enjoy holiday weekend

Many savor break in rain to take in traditional activities

May 30, 2000|By Diana K. Sugg | Diana K. Sugg,SUN STAFF

Nothing could stop the DeSimones' barbecue yesterday.

Umbrellas covered the tables. The basement was cleared and ready for a hasty retreat. And a stack of beach towels sat by the basement door.

"We're still game," said Mary Anne DeSimone, 47, who played host to about 50 people at her Carney home for her daughter's high school graduation.

Even on the last day of a chilly, rainy Memorial Day weekend, the family was determined to have its party, just as people at the beach and around Baltimore savored their holiday.

According to the National Weather Service, local temperatures were about 10 to 12 degrees below normal this weekend, and the Baltimore area got about 0.80 inches of rain.

With a break in the rain yesterday, after a weekend of renting movies and jamming indoor attractions such as the Maryland Science Center -- which reported attendance about double that of the previous weekend -- families broke out.

Rodney Wilson and his friend Tyler Denison played tennis on the newly painted courts at Patterson Park. Rita Holmes and her family got together for a family tradition of visiting her grandmother's grave. Tavon Curry, 9, and his friends cast their fishing rods in hopes of snagging a catfish.

"You have to find a way to work around it, because you can't control the weather," said Sara White, a Baltimore woman pitching a ball yesterday to her 5-year-old granddaughter, Ashley.

Linda Henn and her husband lounged on a bench at the park, listening to the wind blowing through the tall trees. The Baltimore woman, 47, climbed onto a swing for the first time in years and let herself sail through the air.

"It made me feel like a kid again," she said, smiling.

At the DeSimones' house, guests called to find out whether the party was still on, and their children changed clothes three times as the weather did, from slacks in the morning, to shorts at noon, to khakis in the late afternoon.

"It's not a big deal," said DeSimone, who had 100 burgers, two or three dozen Italian sausages and plenty of baked lasagna on hand. "My husband has many a time grilled in the rain."

In Ocean City, authorities and business people reported brisk business, with few cancellations of hotel rooms. Saturday and Sunday the weather was overcast and chilly, with no rain. People played volleyball and other games on the beach.

"The boardwalk was just packed. It was amazing," said Nancy Howard, an Ocean City council member. "Everyone was sorry that the sun wasn't shining, but all in all, we had a big weekend."

Yesterday, the beach got the rain that had drenched Baltimore Sunday. That spurred an early departure by many. By 3: 30 p.m., according to the Maryland Transportation Authority, there was a 13-mile backup on Route 404.

Many others took pride in not going anywhere for the holiday. For them, the weekend was like any other, a time to take the dog on a long walk, or hang pictures in the living room.

Vernon "Duke" Phillips, 69, feeds squirrels, ducks and pigeons six days a week at Patterson Park, and yesterday, he was on duty, in his blue flip-flops and tweed cap.

He works hard to cover the park's south side, spending $120 a month for food for the animals, including peanuts he purchases in Little Italy for the squirrels.

"I don't like to travel," Phillips said, "and I love this."

Sun staff writer Brenda Buote contributed to this article.

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