Small-Town Baltimore

25 Mar

Baltimore is the largest small town in the world. Strike up a conversation and within minutes you will find several links to a total stranger.  The man’s brother used to live next door to you, his mother was in your biology class, and his second cousin knows your dad.

I went to a funeral yesterday for the husband of one of the members of the Daughters of the British Empire and while waiting in the reception line, I started chatting to the woman behind me.  It turned out she was a cousin of the fellow who was the rector at St. John’s, Kingsville in the 60s, and her husband is related to a long-time co-worker of the Squire.

We attended a function at another church several months ago and found we had several links to folks there, through work or family. Some one bustled over and asked if we had met, and the gentleman admitted we had not met before, “but we’ve discovered we’re practically related.” Love that line!

I used to be a church secretary, and the rector had lived all over the country as a child, mostly in NYC, and then served in several widely scattered parishes, so she never understood the interconnectedness of Baltimore.  She and I were discussing a former rector and although I called him Fr. So-and-so, I referred to his brother as Bob. “You know, he’s old enough that you ought to call him Mister.” I blinked at her. “He went to school with my brother-in-law. Why would  call him by his last name?”

I used to volunteer with the local food closet, so got to know a good number of folks when I was delivering groceries.  This parish was supplying a Thanksgiving basket to someone and there was a question about the address. “Is that the guy who lives on Browne Street? I’ll drop it off on the way home.”  The rector, bless her, was somewhat surprised that I knew exactly who this “total stranger” might be.

The Squire and I have an Open House every year on the third Sunday in Advent. I invited several people from the parish, and one fellow asked if he could bring a friend. No problem. He said later he had told her in the car that “Dani knows everybody in the county.” Imagine his surprise with he and his date walked into the house and the Squire said, “Well, hello Lena, it’s so good to see you!”  She was a co-worker in Small-town Baltimore.

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