Give volunteer driver a break with new car

This Just In...

April 30, 2003|By DAN RODRICKS

SOME DAYS I have a very simple job. Today it's to tell you about Lannie Fisher, and maybe shake loose an old car that still runs pretty well. The last old car - a 1989 Toyota Tercel his mother gave him - died a few months ago, leaving Lannie Fisher, who used it regularly for volunteer chauffeuring, without wheels. We should do something about this.

Lannie lives in an apartment in the Concord House and does not work because of a disability. But every day, he does little deeds for the senior citizens who live in the Concord or the nearby Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center. Passover, Rosh Hashana or most any Jewish holiday, Lannie can be seen pushing wheelchairs to get seniors to services at Levindale. Until his car died, he drove his elderly neighbors to doctor appointments, to supermarkets and to hair salons, wherever they needed to go.

But he doesn't do that anymore. "The valves went up" in the old Tercel, and he didn't have the cash to fix it.

So he's hoping maybe someone can come up with a car for him. Staff at Levindale and Concord said the volunteer driving was good for Lannie's self-esteem. The people he chauffeured - one at a time in the Tercel - would give him a few bucks for gas but, of course, that's not why he did it.

"Helping old people makes me feel good," says Lannie, who is 50. "It's like my family. They substitute for what I don't have."

So that's it. There it is. Lannie Fisher needs a car. Let's keep this real simple.

Return to sender

Attention, Mrs. Phyllis Chavis of Somewhere in Florida: Mrs. Rose Kovens of Baltimore wants you to know she wrote a thank-you note for that gift you gave her granddaughter at her bat mitzvah in 1992. Please, Mrs. Chavis, do not think Rose Kovens is ungrateful. Rose Kovens has proof of her gratitude - and it just bounced back in the mail.

Indeed, the U.S. Postal Service recently returned to Mrs. Kovens the thank-you note she wrote to Mrs. Chavis at the time of Stacie Koven's bat mitzvah. That was 11 years ago. Stacie now is in graduate school in College Park. And Mrs. Kovens is still in Baltimore. But Mrs. Chavis is long gone to Florida, and what must she think?

She never got the thank-you note, for some mysterious, never-delivered-by-the-USPS reason, and it bounced back to the Kovens household just last week.

"It's in excellent condition, too, with a 29-cent stamp," says Mrs. Kovens. "But I feel terrible she never got it."

If you're out there, Mrs. Chavis, please acknowledge this message and relieve Mrs. Kovens of her guilt.

Christmas in April

I love - it's not too strong a word - the giant pink flamingo on the fire escape above the Cafe Hon in Hampden. But I'm sorry - it's a Christmas decoration and must come down. If the flamingo's keeper intends to keep it there all year, then at least the big bird should wear something seasonal. Allow me to explain.

I was up in Darlington, Harford County, the other day and noticed on the main street of that charming hamlet a series of holiday wreaths sticking out from utility poles like big, bristly doughnuts. Obviously, the Darlingtonian in charge of hanging the wreaths did not want to go to the trouble of taking them down for the balance of the year. So what did he do? He hung plastic Easter eggs from them, that's what. And that's ingenious. I'd like to see a little more of that kind of thinking in Hampden. Cinco de Mayo approaches. How about a heavily studded sombrero for the bird?

Through the grapevine

As Robert DeNiro has said, in more than one movie: "I heard things." And I heard the other day that Domenico Parravano, of the Parravano brothers who took first prize in the recent Highlandtown Wine Festival, has been sleeping with the medal he won for his classic "Highlandtown Red," a Barbera of Claremont Street vintage. Parravano also has been seen brandishing the medal at various construction sites around town - hey, a man who savors wine can savor victory, no? - and he's really setting himself up for a challenge at next year's contest.

Sign language

Traveling through Fells Point on the way to Canton, Cereal Mom noticed the same thing we did the other day: The sign in front of the Royal Farm, at Boston and Fleet, says, "Help Wanted American Subs 2For5." Just like that. Cereal Mom wondered: "Does `American' refer to the type of help they want, or to the type of sub you can get at that price?"

As I've been saying all along: What this nation needs is better punctuation.

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