Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems

Kevin Earl Dayhoff Art One-half Banana Stems - www.kevindayhoff.com Runner, writer, artist, fire and police chaplain Mindless ramblings of a runner, journalist & artist: Travel, art, artists, authors, books, newspapers, media, writers and writing, journalists and journalism, reporters and reporting, technology, music, culture, opera... National and International politics www.kevindayhoff.net For community see www.kevindayhoff.org For art, technology, writing, and travel see www.kevindayhoff.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

20071127 Kelsey Volkmann: Jail, money issues ruin chance at security access, students told


Jail, money issues ruin chance at security access, students told

BALTIMORE - Kelsey Volkmann, The Examiner 2007-11-27

Students have yet another reason to stay out of debt, avoid arrests and earn good grades.

They need clean financial, police and school records if they hope to earn the security clearances required for many of the military-related jobs coming to Maryland in the next few years as part of Base Realignment and Closure.

[…]

State education officials have met with leaders from school systems across the state to create a syllabus for a consumer literacy course called Personal Resource Management. The class, which would launch statewide next school year, would teach students about financial planning and how to maintain good credit.

Some school systems, including Carroll County, already require students to complete a financial literacy class to graduate high school.

The state also plans to launch a Web site next year that will give parents and students tips on how to attain security clearances.

[…]

Read the entire article here: Jail, money issues ruin chance at security access, students told

####

Saturday, November 17, 2007

20071115 Westminster Eagle columns Aug 1 through Nov 15 2007

Westminster Eagle columns Aug 1 through Nov 15 2007

November 15th, 2007

Kevin E. Dayhoff Wednesday, November 14 One more helping of grits, with a Dr. Pepper and a side of fruitcake

Most people who know me know that I like to eat.

And regular readers of this column know that one of my favorite foods is grits.

After the Aug. 1 column in The Eagle, "Song of the South: No grits, no glory," I heard from many folks who also like grits.

Mike Shaw of Shaw Farms wrote that he "j... [Read full story]

Jerry Barnes: county state's attorney and veteran

Westminster Eagle: November 7, 2007

As Veterans Day fast approaches -- it's this Sunday, Nov. 11 -- it's appropriate to remember that service to our country is a cherished tradition in Carroll County.

And so it was that in May 1968, Jerry F. Barnes joined the U.S. Army.

Today, we know Mr. Barnes as Carroll County State's Attorney.... [Read full story]


Billy Bob threw something off the Route 140 bridge

Westminster Eagle: October 31, 2007

It was 40 years ago, the late summer of 1967 that we first learned from "Mama" that the nice young preacher, Brother Taylor "said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge. And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge."

I first heard that song, "Ode t... [Read full story]


OK, so who was Herb Ruby?

Westminster Eagle: September 26, 2007

That's the question we posed last week when we talked about the placement of the Ruby Field sign at Westminster High's football field.

Let's begin this way -- when was the last time you attended a Friday night local high school football game?

We all know that local sports teams are one of the st...

[Read full story]


Resetting a local gem to mark Ruby Field

Westminster Eagle: September 19, 2007

I had the pleasure of attending the "rededication" of the Ruby Field sign under the scoreboard at the Westminster High School football field right before the Westminster v. Francis Scott Key football game on Friday evening, Sept. 7.

A gathering of friends and family of the late Coach Herb Ruby was... [Read full story]


Thursday, October 25 2007 Wm. Jennings Bryan stirred the pot in 1900 visit By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, October 17 2007 Celebrating a Westminster 'citizen soldier' By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, October 10 2007 We can honor county's firefighting history by preventing disaster By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, October 03 2007 Early television in Carroll got a great reception By Kevin E. Dayhoff,

Special to the Eagle Wednesday, September 12 2007 'An extraordinary guy who did extraordinary things'

Wednesday, September 05 2007 Day at State Fair fills us with Carroll County pride By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, August 29 2007 Coffee, doughnuts and ice cream in Boston By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, August 22 2007 County fair emerged with Carroll's agricultural awareness By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, August 15 2007 Bergman: Closing credit for a master of cinema By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, August 08 2007 Agriculture in Carroll has always been 'fair' game By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Wednesday, August 01 2007 Song of the South: No grits, no glory By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Links: http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpid=978&show=archivelist&searchsel=archives&om=1&requesttimeout=100

If any of the links have expired for a piece of which you would like to read, e-mail me at kevindayhoff AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

20071112 Frederick County seeks Carroll participation in trash incinerator

Frederick County seeks Carroll participation in trash incinerator

Hat Tip: Mrs. Owl

See also the Carroll County Times editorial from November 14, 2007:

“Talk some trash with the county” [And please report dead links…]

Related: Environmentalism Solid Waste Management or Environmentalism Solid Waste Management Recycling or Environmentalism Solid Waste Management Waste to Energy

And:

20070721 Frederick News-Post Letter to the Editor: “Trash talk no longer funny” by Gregor Becker

19880900 To Burn or Not to Burn an interview with Neil Seldman

19960900 The Five Most Dangerous Myths About Recycling

20070912 Carroll County EAC votes to promote recycling by Carrie Ann Knauer

Nov 12, 2007 AP

WESTMINSTER, Md. (Map, News) - The Frederick County commissioners are awaiting a response from Carroll County about the latter's possible participation in a waste-to-energy incinerator to serve both counties.

The incinerator could be discussed at a Nov. 19 workshop on Carroll County solid waste alternatives, said Cindy Parr, Carroll County's director of administrative services.

Carroll County public works director Mike Evans said the workshop will explore options for handling trash, including recycling, composting, burning and landfills.

The Frederick County Commissioners are considering a 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator.

---

http://www.examiner.com/a-1043996~Frederick_County_seeks_Carroll_participation_in_trash_incinerator.html

Information from: Carroll County (Md.) Times, http://www.carrollcounty.com/

Saturday, November 10, 2007

20071109 Westminster Road Runners Schedule for January - May 2008

Westminster (Md) Road Runner Schedule

January-May, 2008

November 9th, 2007

Tuesday, January 1, 12:00 noon, Winfield Mile, South Carroll

High School, Winfield, Md. Alan Pobletts, 410-549-1873

or franpob@carr.org RACE DAY ENTRY ONLY.

Sunday, January 13, 12:00 noon, Mighty Medford Freeway 5K,

Avondale and Stone Chapel Roads, Westminster, Md. Tom

Yinger, 410-857-2930 or yinger32@yahoo.com RACE DAY

ENTRY ONLY.

Sunday, February 3, 12:00 noon, Bear Run Four Miler,

Pleasant Valley Fire Hall, Pleasant Valley, Md. Sam

Alspach, 410-875-2621 or galspach@mcdaniel.edu RACE

DAY ENTRY ONLY.

Saturday, March 1, 9:00 am, Flying Feet 5K, Bear Branch

Nature Center, Westminster, Md. David Griffin, 410-857-

4974 or Dpgflyingfeet@aol.com RACE DAY ENTRY ONLY.

Sunday, March 16, 9:00 am, Four Mile Predicted Time Run,

F&M Manufacturing Company, Tech Court, Westminster, Md.

David Herlocker, 410-848-8332 or dherlock@mcdaniel.edu

RACE DAY ENTRY ONLY.

Saturday, March 29, 9:00 am, McDaniel College 5K Track Run,

Bair Stadium, McDaniel College, Westminster, Md. Skip

Fennell, 410-848-8991 or ffennell@mcdaniel.edu

RACE DAY ENTRY ONLY.

Saturday, April 5, 9:00 am, Race for the Stars 5K Run/Walk,

Century High School, Eldersburg, Md. Mark Sobota,

410-833-0346 or msobota@verizon.net

Wednesday, April 16, 7:00 pm, Main Street Mile, Westminster, Md.

Beth Weisenborn, wrrc.web@gmail.com or 717-677-6883

Entries are available on-line at http://www.carr.org/~wrrc

MAILIN ENTRIES CLOSE APRIL 1.

ONLINE ENTRIES CLOSE WHEN THE 700-RUNNER LIMIT IS REACHED.

Friday, November 09, 2007

20071109 Veterans Day and Remembering Vietnam: “The Wall at 25” by the Smithsonian Channel


Veterans Day and Remembering Vietnam: “The Wall at 25” by the Smithsonian Channel

November 9th, 2007

Paull Young, Smithsonian Channel Community Administrator, has been in touch in reference to my post on “Soundtrack” on November 3rd, 2007: 20071101 Smithsonian Channel: Tribute to Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets:

Hi Kevin,

I saw your post on the Smithsonian Channel and wanted to share this promo for ‘The Men Who Brought Dawn’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iQ2pyEZefs

The Smithsonian Channel is airing a special block of programming ‘America’s War Stories’ (on Direct TV) featuring both ‘The Men Who Brought Dawn’ and a new documentary ‘Remembering Vietnam – The Wall at 25’ that Jan Scrugg (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president) calls “the best documentary about the wall I’ve ever seen”. After reading your post I thought you might like to check it out.

You can view a promo of the show here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJrCN83mb8o

Remembering Vietnam will be streamed live on the Smithsonian Channel website (www.smithsonianchannel.com) concurrent with its High Definition premiere on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST. You can get all the information about it here.”

A big thank you to Paull Young, the Smithsonian Channel Community Administrator, for being in touch.

For more information on the program, Remembering Vietnam: “The Wall at 25” by the Smithsonian Channel, please read my colleague at The Westminster Eagle’s article in the Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 edition of the paper, “Documentary recalls a life on 'The Wall' By Heidi Schroeder.”

Please note that unfortunately this link is not a permalink. A permalink will be assigned to the article after the piece is placed in archives. So if you are reading this post several weeks after it is published, please go to The Westminster Eagle, and look for the article in archives.

For more information on Lance Cpl. Muriel Stanley Groomes, a Carroll Countian who was killed in Vietnam on Nov. 2, 1968, please read my column in The Sunday Carroll Eagle, this Sunday, November 11, 2007.

And my Westminster Eagle column for Wednesday November 7th, 2007 is Jerry Barnes: county state's attorney and veteran : “As Veterans Day fast approaches -- it's this Sunday, Nov. 11 -- it's appropriate to remember that service to our country is a cherished tradition in Carroll County. And so it was that in May 1968, Jerry F. Barnes joined the U.S. Army. Today, we know Mr. Barnes as Carroll County State's Attorney....” [Read full story] [Again - - Please note that unfortunately this link is not a permalink. A permalink will be assigned to the article after the piece is placed in archives. So if you are reading this post several weeks after it is published, please go to The Westminster Eagle, and look for the article in archives.]

Finally, my column in this Sunday’s The Tentacle will also be on Carroll County State’s Attorney Jerry Barnes and the Remembering Vietnam: “The Wall at 25” by the Smithsonian Channel:

“Remembering Vietnam - The Wall at 25,” is the subject of a stunning original Smithsonian Channel Documentary. The program will be simultaneously web-streamed on the Smithsonian Channel Website - www.smithsonianchannel.com with its on-air broadcast to DirecTV subscribers on Channel 267 this evening at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

My colleague at The Westminster Eagle, Heidi Schroeder and I were provided an advance copy of the documentary. We had been contacted for research information by Lynn Kessler-Hiltajczuk last summer.

Ms. Kessler-Hiltajczuk is a writer-producer for Alexandria-based LK Productions and served as an independent producer for the program. She was looking for additional information on Lance Cpl. Muriel Stanley Groomes, a Carroll Countian who was killed in Vietnam on Nov. 2, 1968.

Ms. Schroeder writes that in “addition to a history of The Wall's construction and interviews with veterans, the documentary provides a sneak peek into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, which features over 100,000 items that have been left at The Wall.”

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president Jan Scruggs calls the program "the best documentary film about the wall I've ever seen." After reviewing it several times, I could not agree more.

[…]

_____

REMEMBERING VIETNAM: THE WALL AT 25

A stirring, surprising and emotional history of a national shrine devoted to remembrance and reflection. The famous “Wall” celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25 goes back in time to tell the story of the memorial through the eyes of those who conceived it, those who were instrumental in pushing it through bureaucratic and political resistance, those intimately involved with its 25-year history, and those it honors. Above all, the documentary tells the story of a place that is more than a memorial – it is a place where old wounds are healed.

Press Release Source: Smithsonian Networks

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/071031/nyw096.html?.v=101

'Remembering Vietnam - The Wall at 25,' Original Smithsonian Channel(TM) Documentary, to be Streamed on Smithsonian Channel Website on Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 11)

Wednesday October 31, 11:00 am ET

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- "Remembering Vietnam - The Wall at 25" - - an original documentary about the history of the famous monument in Washington, D.C. -- will be streamed on www.smithsonianchannel.com, the Smithsonian Channel website, concurrent with its premiere on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 8 pm and 11 pm ET/PT.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president Jan Scruggs calls it "the best documentary film about the wall I've ever seen."

"We felt this documentary was so powerful that we wanted to make it possible for this moving and important program to be seen by all Americans as we honor the soldiers who have fought for our country this Veterans Day," said Tom Hayden, General Manager, Smithsonian Networks.

The one-hour documentary is produced by filmmaker Lynn Kessler, and is part of a package of original programs to be shown in honor of Veterans Day beginning Friday, November 9 and continuing through Sunday, November 11.

Smithsonian Channel is currently available on DIRECTV's Channel 267.

ABOUT SMITHSONIAN NETWORKS:

Smithsonian Networks (SN) is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. It was formed to create new channels that will showcase scientific, cultural and historical programming largely inspired by the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. The networks will feature original documentaries, short- subject explorations and innovative and groundbreaking programs highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Visit them on the internet at www.smithsonianchannel.com


Source: Smithsonian Networks

20071106 Westminster Road Runners Club: Brown, Baker Bash Competition at Union Mills 8K

Westminster Road Runners Club: Brown, Baker Bash Competition at Union Mills 8K

By Dr. David Herlocker, November 6th, 2007

Karsten Brown repeated his 2006 win and Ashley Baker won by over five minutes as they dominated the field at the Union Mills 8K, held on November 4.

Karsten pushed his way through the one mile mark in 6:01, fifteen seconds ahead of Westminster High runner Ryan Taylor and thirty seconds ahead of Tom Yinger. All other males by this time were in a different area code.

Not content with such a slow first mile, Karsten ran the rest of the race at a sub 6:00 per mile pace. Reaching the four mile mark in 23:40, he was almost two and a half minutes ahead of Taylor, who led Yinger by twenty seconds.

At the finish line Karsten's margin was over three minutes, and his winning time was twenty-three seconds better than last year's. Taylor finished twenty-three seconds ahead of Yinger (those numbers are correct), with Spencer Hamblen outsprinting first masters runner Bob Leatherman to the finish to finish fourth.

Baker, whose 7:19 time at the one mile mark placed her fourth overall and with a thirty-five second lead over Linda Morris, slowed slightly during the remainder of the race. She was, however, never threatened, finishing seventh overall with a 7:30 per mile pace and a five minute and twenty-one second margin.

Morris finished second as the first masters runner by a very narrow margin over last year's winner Chrissy Pennington. While Pennington's time for this year's race was four minutes and fifteen seconds slower than last year's, the fact that only two months ago she was still carrying young Sadie Pennington is probably a valid reason for the difference. Chrissy vows to do better at the next race, which will be a four mile run at 9:00 am on November 18 at Runnymede Elementary School.

1. Karsten Brown 33 M 29:10

2. Ryan Taylor 15 M 32:30

3. Tom Yinger 37 M 32:53

4. Spencer Hamblen 30 M 36:47

5. Bob Leatherman 55 M 36:49 first 50-59 male

6. Joe Loveland 58 M 37:02 second 50-59 male

7. Ashley Baker 22 F 37:30 first female

8. Klaus Lemke 47 M 38:51 first 40-49 male

9. Scott Kohr 45 M 40:07 second 40-49 male

10. Jim Bullock 64 M 42:30 first 60 and over male

11. Linda Morris 47 F 42:51 second female, first 40-49 female

12. Chrissy Pennington 32 F 42:51 third female

13. Tim Nappal 49 M 44:14 third 40-49 male

14. Gary Baker 54 M 44:38 third 50-59 male

15. Michelle Simpson 49 F 45:41 second 40-49 female

16. Jack Klein 62 M 46:18 second 60 and over male

17. Vicki Borders 50 F 46:58 first 50-59 female

18. Sharon Larrimore 49 F 47:27 third 40-49 female

19. Nancy Myers 38 F 48:34

20. Glenn Smink 58 M 51:28

Monday, November 05, 2007

20071104 The Sunday Carroll Eagle column of October 28 2007


The Sunday Carroll Eagle column of October 28 2007

November 4th, 2007

The 2nd publication of “The Sunday Carroll Eagle ” came out today. Please see: 20071021 Baltimore Sun: “To our readers”

On October 28th, 2007 the publication for which I write, The Westminster Eagle and The Eldersburg Eagle, (which is published by Patuxent Newspapers and owned by Baltimore Sun); took over the Carroll County section of the Baltimore Sun.

“The Sunday Carroll Eagle ” is inserted into the newspaper for distribution in Carroll County. For more information, please contact:

Mr. Jim Joyner, Editor, The Westminster Eagle

121 East Main Street

Westminster, MD 21157

(410) 386-0334 ext. 5004

Jjoyner AT Patuxent DOT com

The feedback so far has been very rewarding. Of course, we have to take one thing at a time and so far, The Sunday Carroll Sun does not have a presence on the web.

Below please find my October 28th, 2007 column and it was submitted.

Sunday Eagle

Ghost Stories in Carroll County

October 28th, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff

Of the horror stories of Carroll’s yesteryear, none was greater than the very real fear of being buried alive. In today’s world, society’s collective faith in the modern advances of the medical arts has gone a long way in alleviating the fear of being buried alive; a fear which was rampant in the 1800s.

A few years ago, local historian Jay Graybeal retold an account by Ruth Gist Pickens about the fear of being buried alive held by one of Carroll County’s most prominent citizens in the 1700s, Colonel Joshua Gist.

It seems that Colonel Gist maintained a coffin in a portion of his bedroom for the last years of his life; “into which he would have his personal servant lay him out and then call the family to comment on his appearance. Each time he would ask them to promise not to bury him until the third day after his death.”

Ms. Pickens recounted that Colonel Gist “feared being buried alive because his brother, General Mordecai Gist was thought to be dead in the 1780s” and would have been buried alive were it not for the fact that the family waited three days for his dearest friend, General Nathanael Greene to arrive.

After General Greene arrived, he spent, what he thought would be, some final moments with his old friend; during which “he noticed that General Gist moved one eyelid. General Gist was revived and lived years longer, married the third time, and had another son.”

The May 16, 1891 edition of the Democratic Advocate recounted a similar scare in Sykesville. “The people of Sykesville … were thrown into a state of excitement on Sunday afternoon by the report that Mrs. Lavinia Brown… was not dead.”

There was a concern that her supposed death was really “suspended animation.” After several examinations Mrs. Brown’s husband, Benjamin F. Brown, and family remained unconvinced.

Several more examinations ensued by the undertaker, James R. Weer, Rev. J. D. Thomas, Prof. Trusten Polk, and Drs. D. B. Sprecher and H. C. Shipley before the burial finally took place

Such was the concern over premature burial; the now defunct Democratic Advocate carried a story on December 21, 1901 that a “practical demonstration was given recently in New York of a method of saving the lives of those prematurely buried. The system is the invention of Count Michael de Karnice Karnickio of Russia,” according to Mr. Graybeal.

Count Karnickio's “apparatus consists of a tube …, a box, and a few appliances for signaling. The tube is placed over an aperture in the coffin and the other end of it appears above the surface of the ground where it is surmounted by the box.”

No, I’m not making this up.

“Through the tube passes a rod on the end of which inside the coffin is a ball. The slightest movement of the body in the coffin is communicated to the rod which in turn releases springs. The door of the hermetically sealed box flies open, the bell rings and the signal ball rises above the grave to a height of six feet.”

For those folks who may be a bit jittery about being buried alive, yet would rather utilize today’s technological advances, you may consider being buried with your cell phone.

Just imagine, one day if you happen to awaken in a cramped space and the air is a bit musty, you may very well have been buried alive. However, if you have your cell phone with you – you have options.

Now all the details of the Untimely Burial Cell Phone Alert Safety System or UBCPASS (U-PASS) have not been worked out and that is where you come into the picture.

How would you suggest the system work? Should it be a Carroll County government sponsored service or a private initiative? E-mail your suggestions to kdayhoff AT carr.org and we’ll look forward to airing your suggestions in a future column.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff AT carr.org

####

My Sunday Carroll Eagle column for November 4th, 2007 column is on grits. I’ve already received some fun feedback. I’ll post it on Soundtrack, when I find a spare moment.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

www.kevindayhoff.net

His columns and articles appear in The Tentacle - www.thetentacle.com; Westminster Eagle Opinion; www.thewestminstereagle.com and Winchester Report.

20071104 Columns and essays on Grits – The story so far.




Columns and essays on Grits – The story so far.

November 4th, 2007

My Sunday Carroll Eagle column for November 4th, 2007 column is on grits. I’ve already received some fun feedback. I’ll post it on Soundtrack, when I find a spare moment.

Meanwhile, please enjoy the story so far…

August 1, 2007 Westminster Eagle column: Song of the South: No grits, no glory

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=archivedetails&pnpid=978&om=1&ArchiveID=1295063&requesttimeout=100

Westminster Eagle column:

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?NPV2Datasource=mywebpal&pnpid=978&show=newscast&CategoryID=18317

Winchester Report: Song of the South: No grits, no glory: http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpID=978&NewsID=837916&CategoryID=18298&show=localnews&om=1

The Winchester Report: http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpid=978&show=newscast&CategoryID=18298&om=1

Food Grits – on Soundtrack:

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/search/label/Food%20Grits

20070905 Song of the South: No grits, no glory:

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2007/09/20070905-song-of-south-no-grits-no.html

20071003 Living and loving in the age of asparagus

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2007/10/20071003-living-and-loving-in-age-of.html

20070802 Welcome to the Outer Banks Grits Grill

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2007/08/20070802-welcome-to-outer-banks-grits.html

Friday, November 02, 2007

20071101 Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge


Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

November 1, 2007

My October 31, 2007 – Wednesday Westminster Eagle column is up on the Westminster Eagle web site and it pertains to one of my favorite forms of literature, Southern Gothic storytelling and one of my favorite songs from my teenage years, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry.

I lost most the following paragraphs to my word limit…

Ms. Gentry was born Roberta Streeter in nearby Chickasaw County, Mississippi, on July 27, 1944, where she grew up in severe poverty on her grandparents’ farm. Her grandmother facilitated her exploration of writing and music when she traded a family cow for a piano. At the age of seven, Ms. Streeter – Gentry wrote her first song, “My Dog Sergeant Is a Good Dog.”

When Ms. Gentry first released the song, it was the “B” side of a debut “forty-five” which featured a song, “Mississippi Delta.” Disk jockeys became more intrigued with “Ode to Billy Joe” and started giving it considerable airtime – and it crossed over from country music stations to “Top 40.” It topped the charts for four weeks in August 1967, sold three million copies, and won her three Grammy awards.

The narrator of the story is not identified in Ms. Gentry’s haunting and mysterious tale of a young man who commits suicide. The song comes to mind as Halloween is upon us and thoughts wonder to trick or treating or the community Halloween Parade - and ghost stories. Carroll County is awash in ghost stories for your enjoyment. That is of course, if you believe in ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts?

The column started out as an “evergreen,” an obligatory column for a particular seasonal event in the year.

Many of my colleagues who write for newspapers abhor “evergreens,” however I have always seen them as a challenge to come up with a different angle on a perennial topic, in this case, a piece on Halloween.

The piece started out very differently as when I neared deadline I jettisoned the customary tome on ghost stories in Carroll County with the standard fare on the origins of Halloween.

I got off on a tangent with a variation on the old “Crybaby Bridge” standard and quickly left quite a bit of work on the cutting room floor. To wit, most of the following, along with an additional 400 words were killed off:

As with many of our customs, observances and holidays, Halloween evolved over many centuries as a combination of several non-Christian ancient harvest celebrations and rituals combined with religious celebrations. The roots of Halloween go back as far as the 5th century BC in Celtic Ireland, when October 31 was celebrated as “Samhain,” the Celtic New Year.

For the economic historian, it is widely accepted that Halloween came to America along with the significant Irish wave of immigrants as a result of the economic hardships brought on by the Irish potato famine from 1845 to 1851.

Halloween is upon and thoughts wonder to trick or treating or the community Halloween Parade.

And ghost stories. Carroll County is awash in ghost stories for your enjoyment. That is of course, if you believe in ghosts.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Among some of the old favorites in Carroll County are the Ghost of Furnace Hills; the Civil War soldier that roams around in Cockey’s Tavern; the ghost of the old Rebecca at the old jail, which now houses Junction, a drug abuse treatment center; and the headless apparition of Marshall Buell at the old Odd Fellows Hall in Westminster.

[…]

_____

Let’s go watch Billy Bob throw a public official off the Rt. 140 Bridge

October 31, 2007 by Kevin Dayhoff (706 words)

It was forty years ago in the late summer of 1967 that we first learned from “Mama” that the nice young preacher, Brother Taylor “said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge. And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

I first heard the song, “Ode to Billy Joe,” by Bobbie Gentry that summer on WCAO on the AM dial of the car radio. It was also in this time period that I became firmly hooked on the existential - “Southern Gothic” genre of storytelling.

To refresh your memory, the song can be found on the web at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZt5Q-u4crc.

Other examples of authors of the Southern gothic genre of writing include William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, and Harper Lee. Tennessee Williams once described the genre as stories that reflect “an intuition of an underlying dreadfulness in modern experience.”

Who can forget: It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day… And mama hollered at the back door "y'all remember to wipe your feet." And then she said she got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge. Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”

Of course another intriguing feature of the story is that it takes place in Carroll County: “And brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billy Joe put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show.

Ms. Gentry has to this day remained circumspect about the haunting and mysterious tale of Mr. MacAllister, but one thing we do know is that the “Carroll County” she is referring to in the song is “Carroll County Mississippi.” Come to find out, there are approximately 13 places in the United States called “Carroll County.”

The song comes to mind as Halloween is upon us and thoughts wonder to ghost stories. Carroll County is awash in ghost stories for your enjoyment.

Halloween ghost stories are fascinating as often they involve aspects of unexplained historical events, enigmatic dialogue, and inexplicable characters. However, over the years, I have become much more enamored with Southern gothic storytelling, which is frequently more creative – and often more disturbing in the manner it which it peels away the layers of a community or society; yet does not tell a reader ‘what to think,’ but nevertheless causes the reader ‘to think.’

Just like Halloween stories, the song’s plot makes known several themes. The first of which is obvious in that just like many popular Carroll County Halloween stories, it reveals a snapshot of life in a particular period in history.

But it is the other prominent theme that is particularly disturbing as it peels away the layers of indifference that contemporary society shows towards our fellow human beings – or in the case of “Ode to Billy Joe,” the loss of life.

In present day Carroll County, every other public hearing is “Halloween” as this theme often manifests itself in the cavalier manner in which folks will often engage in character assassination in the pursuit of a particular agenda.

In the song the family of the narrator nonchalantly mentions the gentleman’s death: “Billy Joe never had a lick of sense/ pass the biscuits, please. Of course the narrator of the story cares: “Mama said to me "Child, what's happened to your appetite? I've been cookin' all morning and you haven't touched a single bite. Other than that, they may as well been having a dinner conversation about the weather.

Happy Halloween. By all means, please enjoy some of the old favorites in Carroll County like the Ghost of Furnace Hills; the Civil War soldier that roams around in Cockey’s Tavern; the ghost of the old Rebecca at the old jail, and the headless apparition of Marshall Buell at the old Odd Fellows Hall in Westminster.

Better yet, the next chance you get, go to the Carroll County Public Library and re-read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” or Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”

Or, of course, you can attend a good ole’ Carroll County public hearing and really see a modern day horror story unfold in real time - “and watch she and Billy Bob throwing public officials off the Rt. 140 Bridge.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff AT carr AT org

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