Around Hancock

January 26, 2006|by ANNE WEATHERHOLT

Images on towpath

As a writer I "catch images" in my mind the way a photographer catches them on film. I caught a few images this week while walking along the towpath below Main Street. The winter towpath stutters along like a gravel "H H H" against the short green grassy stripes in the middle and along the edge of the track worn by the tires of the Park Service vehicles.

Squishy with mid-winter mud, it is wise to walk in the center, a bit higher than the soft edges that slope toward silent shallow water to the north and cascade toward moving murky water to the south.

The wildlife seemed to clear the way, as several squirrels raced up toward their winter loft and a red cardinal looped away into the brush along the rocky Canal wall.


In wintertime, the dark tree trunks show off their festoon of vines, dangling, clinging, inviting an imaginary "Tarzan" ride, yelping before breaking off to perch on a high tree branch.

In the mid-winter thaw, freshets of water slice their way through the occasional culvert under both canal and path, dumping muddy contents into the gray-green river.

Unlike the warmer seasons when the area smells ripe with rot and redolent with blossom, there is little to scent other than cold damp and a hint of woody pulp. The short green blades of grass underfoot are amazingly green, the only hint of real color amidst the plethora of gray-brown-tan-black hues.

They take advantage of the lack of feet and tires to wear them down or bend them low, or the drying heat of sun to suck their dewy breath.

The towpath lies in mid-winter like the pendulum of a clock in mid-swing - neither coming nor going nor standing still, just suspended in the physics of seasonal motion.

Milestones for Bob

On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 21, Bob McCusker entered the large meeting room at Hancock's Town Hall and Community Center thinking he was dropping his wife, Aura, off to have lunch with her volunteer friends from the Loaves & Fishes Thrift Store.

Instead, a large crowd had gathered there to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Bob is one of the volunteers who work "behind the scenes" for the town of Hancock and has played a significant role in the local community for many years.

He worked at U.S. Silica and then at Fairchild Industries. Bob is a World War II veteran, having served in the Army from March 1944 until October 1946.

In 1959, he went to work for Dillon Orchards. The orchards changed hands several times, becoming Blue Goose Orchards in 1960 and Fairview Orchards in 1979. In 1987, it became H&H Storage.

Bob retired in May 2003, at the age of 77. Today, Bob is a member of the Rotary Club of Hancock and Commander of the Hancock VFW. He is an active member of Mt. Olivet Presbyterian Church.

He and his wife, Aura, will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary tomorrow, Jan. 26. They have four children, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Bob is a humble man of few words who is the true example of "actions speak louder than words." He was instrumental in the design, fundraising and building of the Hancock Veterans War Memorial. Every Monday evening, he and Aura run the bingo at the Hancock VFW Post which raises funds to support a perpetual maintenance fund for the memorial.

It is Bob who puts flags out lining both sides of Main Street on every single holiday of the year - including Christmas!

This show of patriotism and local pride helps make Hancock look inviting and alive to those who drive by - both locals and visitors.

We are glad to "salute" Bob on this special birthday and honor him for his example of outstanding citizenship and community support!

Friendship banquet

If you enjoy nostalgia, here's an event you might really like to attend.

The annual Friendship Banquet and Auction at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church this year will have a 1950's theme. There will be decorations and music from that era, and those attending may come in 1950s garb if they wish.

This year's gathering is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall of the church at Church and High streets. Tickets are just $12.50 per person, or $25 per couple.

The evening includes a delicious dinner followed by an auction of items donated for the event. This year's auctioneer will be local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ralph Salvagno, a parishioner at St. Thomas'.

Proceeds will benefit the new accessible ramp, entrance and handicapped restroom currently being completed at the historic church.

The evening is again being organized by parishioner Cathy Hoopengardner, who tells me members of the church's Youth Fellowship will assist her as servers for the meal. For tickets to this Valentine's weekend event, call the church at 301-678-6569.

Store relocating

A longtime, highly respected and successful Hancock business is relocating.

Unfortunately, the new location will NOT be in Hancock.

Wayne and Vicki Creek, owners and operators of Creek's Jewelry Store at 64 W. Main St., are advising their customers that they will move their popular establishment to a Hagerstown location, effective March 1.

The new address will be South Pointe Center on East Oak Ridge Drive. Creek's Jewelry will continue to operate in Hancock through Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. Afterwards, the business will close to make their move.

Creek's has operated as a family-owned business in our town since 1948, when it was established by Wayne's father, Millard Creek, now retired.

We wish Wayne and Vicki well in their new store. You can be sure lots of their Hancock area customers will follow them to their new location!

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