Hey, 2016 had some fond memories, too! - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Hey, 2016 had some fond memories, too!

It’s easy to write off 2016.

It gave us one of the hardest punches to the gut ever. It’s an event now known to history as, “The Presidential Election from Hell!”

An over one-year-long political cat fight led to Donald “The Donald” Trump beating the crap out of his 17 Republican opponents in the heated primaries. Nevertheless, there were some bright moments along that bloody election path that need emphasis.

I particularly enjoyed Trump slapping down smarty pants Jeb Bush (brother of Dubya of “Mission Impossible” infamy); and also, that mouthy War Hawk Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham.

Then, Trump did the unthinkable! The so-called experts couldn’t believe it and the polls were dead wrong, too. He edged out his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the general election.

Even though this coming January 20, 2017, will see one of the largest anti-government protests in Washington, D.C. in recent times, Trump will be our president for the next four years. Plus, the Republicans will control the U.S. Congress. Prayers are in order.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride. The “Deplorables,” long ignored by the elitists in the Democratic Party and the Establishment Media, and also insulted by loser Hillary, have spoken loudly.

The greedy “One Percent Gang” will now, officially, take over our White House. If they do anything to benefit the vast majority of Americans, it will be by (triple gasp) accident.

After the embarrassing election debacle, it was clear there was no joy in Mudville (our America). The mighty Hillary, like in “Casey at the Bat,” (by the poet, Ernest Thayer), had struck out. Her team had lost. She had let them down – hard. The game was finally over.

The whining, cursing and blaming process, however, will continue unabated. Tons of books will follow this national tragedy. “Bubba Bill” Clinton, for sure, will have more to say about it in the coming months.

Even the likable VP, Joe Biden, has put his two cents into the depressing brouhaha. He suggested that maybe Hillary hadn’t really figured out a good reason why “she wanted to run.” Who knows?

In any event, 2016 had some fond memories for me to recall.

I was please to report in February, on local social justice activists standing in solidarity with the victims of the Flint, Michigan’s toxic lead water scandal. They put on a spirited demonstration despite the freezing weather, on St. Paul Street, in Charles Village.

Sharon Black at Rally in Solidarity with Flint, MI

Sharon Black at Rally in Solidarity with Flint, MI

In March, I went down to historic St. Mary’s City. It was the 382nd anniversary of the founding of Maryland. A celebration was held. The “Pride of Baltimore II” was docked at the pier and Scott Watkins was dressed as the First Lord Baltimore – Leonard Calvert. Mike Miller, Speaker of the Senate, was on hand, along with my friend of many years, “Meb” Turner, former President of the U. of Baltimore. Indeed, it was a fun event and steeped in history, too.

St. Patrick’s Day had something special to offer this year. It was the Under Armour 5K Shamrock race. It was hosted by the “Charm City Run.” Over five thousand runners participated. Charles Street was a “sea of green,” which I just loved taking photographs of. Making it even more special for me was the fact that my alumni’s band, Calvert Hall High School, was a part of the day’s festivities.

Sea of Green

Sea of Green

Just in case anyone thought Baltimore hadn’t suffered enough lately, the gay-bashing Westboro Baptist Church showed up in April. They staged a protest action at Loyola College. They called the Jesuits and Pope Francis all kinds of foul names, (which I can’t repeat here since this is a family-oriented newspapers.) Mercifully, the students quickly staged a counter-protest. It eventually drove the bigoted ones into the anonymity they so rightly deserve.

Westboro Raging

Westboro Raging

The race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Barbara Mikulski created some fireworks in early spring. I reported on candidates in the primary, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards taking potshots at each other. Surprisingly, a non-candidate, Heather Mizeur, blasted Edwards for her poor record on “constituents service.” Bottom line: Van Hollen won the primary and also the general election.

Baltimore’s celebrations are alway big with me. This year I enjoyed reporting on and taking photographs of the “Light City Festival,” “Honfest,” the annual rising of the tulips in Sherwood Gardens, National Maritime Day, the Flower Mart, the Dragon Boat Club Challenge, the Charles Village Festival, Artscape, “Hampdenfest,” the Mayor’s Christmas Parade, and, welcoming home the “Pride of Baltimore II.”

Of course, there was much more that I fondly recall, including many literary readings around town, moderated often by popular author Jen Michalski. Then, in September, I was fortunate to catch on video one of my fave poets, Liz Hazen, reading at JHU’s Barnes & Noble Bookshop, from one of her works.

Before I leave, I want to mention two sports-related happenings that were very special for me this year. In late September, I took a bus tour around town spotlighting the iconic career of baseball immortal, George Herman “Babe” Ruth. It was facilitated by sports aficionado, Charlie Vascellaro. Trust me, Charlie is the best at his game. It was sponsored by “Baltimore Heritage” and it’s highly recommended.

Oriole Greats of Yesteryear

Oriole Greats of Yesteryear

Finally, in July, some of the remaining Baltimore Orioles players from the World Series Championship year of 1966 were honored at Camden Yards. I couldn’t believe that it has been fifty years. Some of those heroes from yesteryear, like Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer and Davey Johnson are still with us. What fond memories they hold for me.

So, in spite of some things we might rather write off, 2016 was also a year abundant in special memories. Here’s hoping 2017 will be rich with spirit and tradition, too.


About the author

Bill Hughes

Bill Hughes is a native of Baltimore. He’s an attorney, author, professional actor and hobbyist photographer. His latest book is “Baltimore Iconoclast” and it can be found at: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000076922/Baltimore-Iconoclast.aspx. Contact the author.
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