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Martha, move here

it's a good thing

March 11, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Editor's Note: The following is a column first published May 10, 2000




Frustrated with unfriendliness, commercialism and traffic, Martha Stewart says she's about to give up on her home in Westport, Conn., and move someplace else.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Dear Martha,

First off, just let me say that I'm a big fan. And that tip for drying lavender was right on, in my opinion. And warming the olive oil before infusing it with rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves - who would have known?

But let me get to the point. You need a new neighborhood, I need a new neighbor. There's a great little spot across the street that I'm sure you could do wonders with. In fact, you are probably the only one who could do wonders with it, but forget that.

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Now I recall reading someplace that some of your neighbors had become testy due to your propensity to pop over with a fresh tin of muffins or some "constructive criticism" about the state of their yard.

Martha, in respect to me, let me say right up front: Not an issue. You bake it, I'll eat it. I will warn you that Hagerstown has some splendid bakers of its own, as evidenced by an amazing plate of cookies I received last Christmas - not that I mean this as a challenge to you or anything.

Indeed, you will wear out your oven before you wear out your welcome.

And as for my housekeeping, if you feel the need to offer a few pointers, you go right ahead. You think newspapers make poor place mats? Criticism accepted.

Maybe we could even sit around some evening swapping household tips. I don't like to brag, but when you live on your own for 20 years, you progress to the point where you no longer open coffee cans with your teeth, if you know what I'm saying.

For example, Martha, do you keep your socks in the vegetable crisper? Didn't think so. But on a hot afternoon there's nothing that beats a glass of iced tea and a cold pair of socks.

Frankly, though, it's not just my place that needs spiffing up; the whole city could use your touch. And the City Council will listen to you, Martha. I feel it. I know it. You tell them to embroider pot warmers for the fire plugs and they'll say "how many stitches per linear inch?"

If you want ochre lines in the highway instead of yellow, we'll do it. If you want to dress up our parking meters as Q-tips, we'll do it.

Where we see abandoned buildings, you will see opportunity. Where we see dirty street bums, you will scatter a few seeds and transform them into mobile, life-size Chia Pets.

This could be your greatest challenge, Martha. But any woman who can make bird houses out of Christmas wreaths (or was it Christmas wreaths out of bird houses?), is certainly up for it.

Now you're probably asking right now, "All right, suppose I come to Hagerstown and spruce the place up. What's in it for me?"

Well, let's look at the issues that are driving you out of Westport. Unfriendliness. OK, Martha, you do have that fashionable look that may cause people here to be put off and step back a couple of feet. But just remember to repeat these 15 words - "They can have my gun when they pry my cold dead fingers from the stock" - and they will all come back, shake your hand and be bestest buds.

Commercialism. Not to worry, you will not find a less trendy place this side of Ulan Bator. Yellow cars and sleeveless chartreuse tanks are just coming into style here. Nuff said.

Traffic. All right, Martha, I'll be honest with you. We have this wee, teensey-weensy problem with traffic here and there, but the highway department assures us it will all be cleared up by the year 2042. Of course, by then you'll be quilting your Social Security checks into a nine-patch throw, but in the meantime you can slow down and soak in all the Hagerstown ambiance. That ought to be worth a tin of muffins.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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