Bitten by the bad news and soothed by the good

May 27, 2006|by Dee Mayberry

There is an old newspaper saying: If a dog bites a man, that's usually not news, but if it's the man who bites the dog, that's a big story. Trouble is, we've had almost too many stories lately that bite into our spirits. Some are heartily sick of bad stuff in print and on TV.

We hear about a prosecutor in Montgomery County, Md., trying in a Maryland court the sniper already under a death sentence in Virginia. Our state will pay out a lot of money and require families of Maryland victims to revisit the pain John Allan Muhammad and his friend inflicted.

As in the Duke University rape case, involved prosecutors are running for political office. In Maryland, long-time Democrat Attorney General Joe Curran is stepping down,

That announcement makes nice timing for a fellow Democrat, prosecuting the high-profile Montgomery County sniper case while running for the Curran seat.


So much for populous areas.

For those in Western Maryland, at least, there is a wealth of good news in this May/June period. In Washington County, weddings, graduations and a Mother's Day concert are reported. A litany of horror stories is diluted by the good news of ordinary people doing good things.

It was great to read that the newspaper itself got bragging rights for 23 awards for excellence.

Hopefully, Millie Lowman, director of the county Parent-Child Center will be recognized for her efforts and those of the sponsoring Exchange Clubs with a generous response to the its June 10 telethon.

While we worry about rising teen pregnancy rates, local girls are stepping up as role models for their peers. These deserve special mention as bearers of springtime good news. There are many teenagers among us demonstrating that pacesetting is alive and well in Western Maryland.

The nonpartisan Maryland Commission for Women, a statewide organization not to be confused with local counties' women's commissions, recruited a panel of judges to select Women of Tomorrow. Young ladies from this area nearly walked away with the show.

On May 18 in Annapolis, six teenage Women of Tomorrow were honored for scholarship, leadership and community service. Among these was Karly Marie Logsdon of Hagerstown, who was chosen in 2005 as Miss Teen Hagerstown and more recently Miss Washington County Outstanding Teen.

Karly's creativity includes organizing a school-wide campaign to send some 350 letters of encouragement to troops overseas. She is a ninth grader with high grades and 75 student service hours for a variety of good works.

Other jewels in the Western Maryland crown are Heather Stone and Yelena DeWald of Allegany County. Each, independently of the other, has been involved with the United Nations, raised money for cancer patients and Katrina victims. Heather has a 3.97 grade point average. Yelena is an academic standout as well.

Among those not yet honored is a high school girl who will not be named in this column. Her mother is a drug addict; the daughter is bright and beautiful. She is quiet and tends to speak in two-word sentences. Possibly this reflects a struggle to get through the angst of the teen years, combined with a pain-filled, embarrassing home life.

When asked if she had gotten help from school counselors, she answered briefly "not much."

When asked how she manages good grades and a positive outlook without a supportive circle of friends, without a mother or siblings, she said "my dad," adding, "I know how much he loves me."

So there we have it. Mixed in with all the ugliness and heartache about us, we find an anonymous great dad. Out there as well are boys who will grow up to be great dads, joining girls who achieve at an early age.

To each of those and all the others who go unmentioned, this member of the Maryland Commission says "you go, girl." For that dad and boys destined to be like him, she offers the warmest of happy wishes. In spite of stories of school shootings, gang crimes, predators, brutality and mayhem, we are soothed by the sweet breeze of good things - good news.

When families produce children like those mentioned here, when the trees turn green in Washington County, when a country church prays for a beautiful animal sorely injured in a Maryland race, when nights are cool and days are sunny we realize that life is good and that there is hope to be had.

With all this to think about we sometimes can slow down enough to ponder the idea that God is in His Heaven and all is, or can be, right with the world.

Dee Mayberry is a Boonsboro-area resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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