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Fraser Smith's Essay: November 1, 2012
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November 1, 2012
Like every threatening weather event in Baltimore neighborhoods, Sandy brought us together in grand style – even grander maybe in Fells Point. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
The sandbags in Inner Harbor East had a certain boutique sensibility. Outside the Black and White Market, half the bags were glossy white, half black.
The air of elegance could be found also a few blocks away at One Eyed Mike’s, home of Proprietor Mike Marazitti’s Grand Marnier Club. He was breathing easier when the storm’s eye peered at Maryland before further north.
“We definitely dodged a bullet. We had no damage whatever. We were very, very lucky. It took a little turn on us. Not as fortunate unfortunate as the New Jersey folks, New York folks.”
Members of the Grand Marnier Club keep numbered and names bottles in Mike’s basement. They come in for a sip – when moved by the spirit or by snow storms and hurricanes.
“You know it’s adults not having to go to school.”
Marzitti and his staff hauled 350 Gand Marnier bottles up to the first floor just in case. He and his friend, Arthur Freshetez, had more damaging hurricanes in mind. This time there was more street festival than fear.
“Neighbors helped neighbors if they had to do sandbagging or what have you. People were on the street, chatting a little, having a good time.”
Freshetz checked periodically on his 37-foot Carver-Mariner. So, it was all about boutique sandbags, Grand Marnier, big boats. Seemed to have it all over toilet paper, bread and lawn chairs.
“You’re exactly right it is almost elegant and civilized.”
In the wake of Sandy, as always, the lights went on purpose out at closing time. Kurt Rehrman, or one of the other bartenders, offered a toast in the glow of a Grand Marnier advertising sign. Everyone has “a shot in the dark.”
Often, Rehrman said, the toast is a prayer of thanksgiving.
“… The Grand Marnier bottles, 350 of them were brought up out of the basement to be kept safe and a genuine thank you and I definitely would have done my shot in one big swig because yesterday was a very long day.”
Long but safe and dry.
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