December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
When the conversation started about writing a bi-monthly article to fill the pages of the revamped Ridgely Delights new Reader, I believe my cohorts and I were talking about naked Roman- Greco wrestling and buying the wrong pay-per-view at a hotel. The conclusion of this adventure would not be suitable for print but there was a definite winner in the wrestling match. Somehow the conversation turned to writing a commentary or observation column and an agreed upon working title for this said writing piece would be “Letters to Kanye”. While this idea was floated around for a brief time it really didn’t give the broad appeal we were looking for… Interestingly enough the fact that I’m a middle age white male with little to no exposure to the styling’s of Mr. West didn’t seem to be a deterrent to the first draft title.
So there I was drafted to the position of writing 900 words worth of anecdotes about and for my neighborhood in the hopes that I can exercise my mind and the few fingers I type with to bring forward the thoughts and observations that come up in the world that I wish to share with you my erstwhile readers. In other words, I’ve got questions on my mind and I’m going to ask them. I’ve got things I’d like to say and I’m just dumb enough to say them in a public forum that could land me in a lot of hot water with my neighbors.
So with brain trust decision making of the tome out of the way, allow me to introduce some of my Ridgely Delight credentials. For the past twenty plus years my family and I have tried to maintain a modicum of proud Ridgely Delight-fullness and reserved anonymity that generally helps the human condition. Shine, but not too brightly; the latter is something my son says comes quite easily for me.
We’ve seen many changes over the years in our little conclave, made lasting friendships and had to say goodbye to those in the neighborhood that have passed through as school, employment or family circumstance has changed. There has been a momentum of growth and stability with a continued enthusiasm for Ridgely’s Delight. This area really is a secret to many who live or visit Baltimore.
If you tell people where we live like I do, you start with “I live in Ridgely’s Delight” They say, “Where?” We respond, “Ridgely’s Delight, right across the street from Camden Yards”. “Otterbein?” “No, Ridgely’s Delight, it’s an historic neighborhood near Pickles Pub” “Oh, yea. That’s right downtown. You really live that close to the stadium? Do you go to many games?”
Boom. There it is. Recognition that you may, possibly be cool. But then there is the kicker, “isn’t that Pigtown?” If you’re like me you straighten that thought right out of your misinformed inquisitor before they can somehow make this mistake again. “No. It’s Ridgely’s Delight”. There you go, you’ve ended confusion that property owners know can cost you a few bucks. i.e., it’s not Gaithersburg, it is North Potomac. Just go to Zillow and look at the property estimates.
Of course the questions about our neighborhood continue ranging from parking problems, crime, and noise from the stadium. I try to address these queries with head-on, straight forward answers. Our parking, while challenging, is better then Federal Hill, Fells Point, and most of Canton. The crime is far less prevalent than in years past as long as you don’t leave things in your cars, where temptation seems to play havoc with moral decision making. As far as I am aware, we generally all have windows in our homes and haven’t seen an Oriole or Ravens game go so deeply into the middle of the night that it concerns us. I would be more concerned about the large number of bars in the before mentioned neighborhoods where drink can cause greater traffic, loosened cognitive reasoning, and people not using their indoor voices or indoor plumbing.
Now we do have our own watering holes and this occasionally has led me to answer the burning question of why he doesn’t “call you anymore” or smiling in agreement, as I lie in bed, to the phrase, “Yankees Suck”. All in all I would say the vast majority of our revelers are burning off a little steam at a decent hour with little death and dismemberment.
While I am on the topic, I am certainly aware that I have in my years here contributed to the delinquency of some our fair citizenry. We have thrown a party or two at our house and we always try to invite those we thought could somehow be offended by all the shenanigans. That is just part of the families plan to make what could be an awkward situation turn into that of complicity. A win-win if you will. With our Christmas and other parties coming up, I would like to say in advance that I am sorry for anything I may do in the future that could be construed as a slight. A kind of promise to say my Hail Mary’s for my confession. I hope the nuns would approve.
I think you can see by our longevity here that we are very happy with our decision to take a look at this neighborhood years back. But it really wasn’t a blind shot. My wife and I were then living in sin in the Washington, D.C. suburbs but really wanted to live downtown. The reality of spending the kind of money it would take was just a little hard to swallow. Buying a house in D.C., come on. The missus had gone to law school at Maryland and had lived on Portland Street in the eighties. We came to Baltimore with some regularity to go to John Stevens Ltd. or the occasional O’s game on 33rd Street.
My job was at Union Station in Washington and the woman, who hasn’t given me the green light to use our names in this piece, worked for the federal government. Familiarity with the Baltimore experience check, MARC Train schedule check, reasonable prices for a rental home check. Paca Street here we come and into a house renovated by the Marx Bros. and plumbing provided by The Three Stooges. All wrapped together by a famous TV personality ambulance chasing lawyer as a landlord (that’s another article). Even with our year in the funhouse we had found the place we believed to be home.
Over the years here, there have been challenges. We have had things stolen, tires slashed, car windows smashed and a newly painted home “tagged” by someone who believes their name should be known to the masses but will most likely fade with what I hope will be respect for others and higher level of maturity. There have been nights of circling to find a parking spot and rats so big you could put a saddle on them. But I love my home. I love this neighborhood. I most certainly hope you do to.
So there we are. I live here. I have been asked to write whatever this thing is on a bi-monthly and timely basis. I figure I’ll give it a shot until they tell me to stop or if it just doesn’t seem to be fun anymore. Besides, the thought of putting together a column every two weeks is both questionable and somewhat egomaniacal. Again, traits my son and my wife would not have much hesitation in using to describe me. It seems to me with the right amount of opinion, a fine catholic school education, and an Irish gift of malarkey, there may be some amusing observations that can be shared.
There will be no prescribed attempts to right any ships in the endeavor or ill will to anyone who should take the time to glance at this space but I will try to entertain, amuse, and god forbid, occasionally make people think about what is on my mind and I feel I should write to be read. I’ll even try to be funny, but as my son constantly tells me, “you’re not that funny”.