Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, October 05, 2018

Four Things, Twice

As I mentioned recently, the Van Horn Family will be moving to Florida soon. Today, I'll tick off four things I'll miss about Maryland and four things about the Old Line State I'm happy to put in the rear-view mirror.

Sad to Leave Behind

1. Our Adult Friends The twin circumstances of moving every couple of years had having very young children meant (a) no established network of old friends once we left Boston, and (b) great difficulty meeting other adults. This got much better in Maryland. With the kids being older, birthday parties, play dates, and the like became fun for the adults, too, and we got to know several couples here we liked. We will miss them.

The Charm City Gooners supporters' club even has its own room upstairs. I love the Arsenal cannon inside the Maryland crab.
2. Being Close to Three Big Cities It was nice to be able to take the kids to the likes of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC, catch an Arsenal game with fellow fans at the Abbey in Federal Hill, Baltimore, or spend the weekend at Sesame Place near Philadelphia, among many other things.

3. Seeing Wildlife Outside at Home All the Time We once counted fourteen deer from inside our house, which is in a wooded area. I spotted foxes now and then. I've seen hawks on our lawn furniture and, once, a beaver in the street.

4. Our Kids' Friends I have enjoyed seeing my kids make friends, and if there is anything I dislike about the move, it is going to be them missing their friends.

Honorable Mention: The slick-looking state flag.

Happy to Leave Behind

1. Snow, Every Winter My first winter here featured a three foot blizzard. That was the worst experience with winter weather until last winter, when I went a couple of months having my schedule ruined every week because it would snow just enough to cancel school -- but never enough to be worth playing in for the kids. I hate snow, and all the time it has caused me to waste over the years. The last snow where I'm heading was in 2010, and that was flurries. Good riddance!

My wife has relatives up North. We can visit them over holidays for an occasional snow fix. Maybe I'll even start enjoying it again.

2. Being Between Two Big Cities The traffic in DC/Baltimore is hellish. I eventually found partial workarounds in the form of Waze and Parking Panda. But that was not before I got the following initiation: There was a networking event I wanted to attend in DC, which is only thirty miles away. I hired a baby sitter to start two hours before the event until two hours after the event, even though my wife would be home well before that.

Thanks to an accident on the beltway and another on I-395 heading into DC, I got close to the location of the event with so little time left that just parking would have left me with fifteen minutes. I just turned around and went home, logging four and a half hours of non-stop driving and paying a baby sitter for that time and more. (I told this to a native once and he just laughed and said, "Everybody has a story like that.")

3. Living in the Trash Tree Forest I once missed getting gravely injured or killed by mere seconds on my way home during a storm, watching a branch the size of a young tree fall into my driveway as I approached. (Its diameter was about the length of my foot.) Once, seconds after I decided not to take a walk on the trail next to our house, I heard the now-familiar sound of a tree falling. It landed across the trail I would have walked. A few days later, another fell in almost the same spot.

And those are just the highlights.

4. Blue Laws When I grew up in Mississippi, I remembered constantly hearing about how much more sophisticated the North was. I also remember when we did away with our blue laws, at least in Jackson. (There are still dry counties.) I was shocked, as a young man in Connecticut for naval training, to discover the beer section in the grocery store marked as off-limits on Sunday. Either Boston didn't have blue laws or the grocery I lived near was somehow exempt from them, and Missouri may have the least ridiculous restrictions on alcohol in the country. And then we moved to Maryland, where I have to go to a liquor store just to buy a beer. Ridiculous.

Honorable Mention: The small, but very real prospect of encountering a freaking black bear in my own yard.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you write: "Missouri may have the least ridiculous restrictions on alcohol in the country." The article states, "Anheuser-Busch is the principal advocate of keeping Missouri's alcohol laws as lax as they are."

Whoda thunk it? They're actually good for something, because it sure ain't beer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gus!

Depending on where you are in Florida, you might encounter a reticulated python, an alligator, or crocodile. Though if you see the croc, you're in rare company; apparently only 2000 of them are thought to be in Florida.

But, at least in Florida, you can carry a sufficiently large handgun to punch their ticket. Unlike Maryland.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Good observation: They are good for something...


I thought about saying something about such trade-offs. Speaking of which, the link to is funny, as it talks about bear populations rising due to "improved environmental conditions" over the past few decades while also admonishing us that we can't shoot them just because they're a nuisance.

I think they mean that the legal environment for bears has been improving. Great.


Anonymous said...


You mentioned the blue laws. I’m now in Mormon country where there are state stores that allow you to purchase a wide variety of alcohol. The grocery stores in Utah sell items with the lowest alcohol content. I find this hypocritical because the church, and the state take sales tax from booze being sold. Yet, I can’t purchase alcohol when and where I want? Those state stores are closed on Sundays and any Mormon holiday. So much for separation of church and state.

Bookish Babe

Gus Van Horn said...


Good point. All of these laws should have been ruled unconstitutional eons ago.