Sunday, October 7, 2007


Somehow they let me on the bus to Baltimore, even though my stench could easily be smelled from afar. The lady sitting next to me was superb-- she was going to Baltimore as well to visit her sister. We enjoyed a wonderful conversation, although later I wondered just what on earth she must have thought of me...

Luckily, I got some sleep on the along the way. I'd need it to stay up late with Doug to try and make up for the fact that I was going be at least six hours late. I texted him that I was on my way and anxiously awaited his reply.

I woke up in Baltimore with still no reply from Doug. I called him once I unloaded my things from the bus-- he never got my message and would be there in about an forty-five minutes... he wasn't a happy camper. Then again, neither would I have been.

Upon his arrival, I was all business. I apologized profusely for missing my bus and reassured him that I would make up for it. He had a wait-and-see attitude and could barely contain himself and my eau de alcohol cologne. He unloaded on me, rightfully so, when I asked him how he felt about the whole situation. I made sure I was on my best behavior and fully alert the whole time. We would have 2 1/2 days together, and I wasn't about to mess it up.

We went back to his apartment in Ellicott City so I could freshen up and then spent the next few hours catching up before we decided to go to a horse show that his girlfriend, Courtney, was working at.

The show was superb-- also my first horse jumping show. It was the first time I really got to hang out with Courtney and Doug together, too. They made such a wonderful couple... one that anyone would want to aspire to in a relationship.

After the show, Doug and I decided to go out to a bar near his place and enjoy some brew and good times. We closed the bar down. I was in full force, as promised.

The next day we went into Baltimore proper and visited Fort McHenry, one of the historic battlegrounds from the War of 1812 and also the penning place of the "Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key. It was at Fort McHenry that Key, a lawyer, writer, and amateur poet, was held captive on a British boat on the Chesapeake River and penned his epic poem, that was later signed into law as the United States' national anthem in 1931.

The Fort was in magnificent shape and Doug and I had fun scouring the place and imagining what it must have been like during those epic days. The weather played along nicely too and gave us the perfect day to go out exploring.

We visited Baltimore Harbor afterward and enjoyed the sites of the ships in dock and the gorgeous scenery. We hopped aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Clipper, an old sailing ship that every cadet must be trained on during his/her first days in service. I couldn't get over just how huge and how much work it required to sail such a large vessel. It made me want to go sailing!

We grabbed a bite to eat at the Harbor and then headed home. We both needed to be on our way to the airport shortly. He was off to Houston, and I Chicago. Courtney gave us a lift, and away we went.

I was grateful to have been able to see some many friends during my short 10-day stint to the East Coast. I felt awful about how things ended up with Doug, but thought that I had recovered a bit from my mistake. In the end, all was well... good friends let things go and move forward. He and I were still and always will be "Zimmergenossen."

Thanks Doug and Courtney for showing me such a wonderful time and for your outstanding hospiality. Doug, thank you for forgiving me for my error in judgment. I look forward to making it out to Maryland more often than every five years to see you both!

The pen that was used to sign the law that made the Star Spangled Banner the official national anthem of the United States of America.

The view of the Chesapeake River from Fort McHenry, which was where the Star Spangled Banner was penned by Francis Scott Key.

The structure was formed in a star shape so that it was more difficult for the enemies to enter the structure.

An artillery bunker.

The inside of the fort.

Doug and I at the Coast Guard Clipper, on which all cadets are trained.

No comments: