Old timers, new timers, and possibly misplaced credit

If you work at a place that has been around for a long time and in an industry is not known for quickly chewing up people and spitting them out, you may have a number of old timers about. You know, the guy down the hall who has been working there since the 70s and should have retired a decade ago, but hasn’t because this is all he knows. Those are the folks with seniority, with lots of institutional memory, but if they are an asset or burden really comes down to the individual.


I thought of this during a portion of the last BACA meeting I attended. There was the perennial “we should respect the old-timers” discussion that came up. Yes, some neighbors helped make the neighborhood what it is, but there are also scores of people who also made the neighborhood a better place who have since moved on, and a bunch of lumps who at best have been neutral assets and at their worst helping hold the neighborhood back, who never left.


It’s a great injustice to have the lumps receive the credit of those who did positive work.


Jim Berry, former ANC and former BACA president moved on to Bates in the 80s maybe and moved out in the 21st century, he deserves a lot of credit. That man worked hard. Very hard for the residents of the northern half of Truxton Circle and parts of Bloomingdale. So hard I doubted he had a personal life. I have not encountered anyone since who was as dedicated and caring as Mr. Berry.

On my own street we have a range of hard neighborhood workers and useless lumps. We’ve also had people in the 15 years I’ve been here who have come did well, pitched in, started something, be the right man/woman at the right place/time, and move on. Miss Becky, Emil, Kelly, Liz, and Paul are the names of a few of those who came to my street, actively did their part to make it better, and moved on.


There are also those who did a lot of activist work for the neighborhood when they were younger or working or whatever and have faded in the background. I haven’t seen Mary Ann Wilmer lately, I know she’s still around. Nor some of that crowd of older women (who I’d complain about) whose gift was constantly complaining and calling the police. Newbies can be a little bit too tame in calling the cops, so the older women’s persistence was how they helped. I feel obligated to mention a neighbor, she and Miss Becky got me involved with BACA, and an accident and it’s super long road to recovery has kept her at home. She is one of those neighbors who deserves a lot of credit but isn’t getting it because someone else is swiping it up.

Snowed in the City

I really like living in a walkable neighborhood and the worth of living here proved itself after this blizzard, snowzilla or the Blizzard of 2016 or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
Friday, I showed up to work for the Department of Fight Club with the idea that they’d kick me out of the building around noon. The spousal unit, also known as The Help, decided to join me for lunch in the Penn Qtr/Fake Chinatown area. We dined as he (my back was to the window) watched the first flakes fall and crowds for the pro-life march wander the streets.
Then after lunch we took a slow.
metro ride to Mt. Vernon Sq. to stop by the Giant for Halos, shallots, and whatever. It was crowded and completely out of yeast. But there was lots of wine. I bought a Riesling.
RStsnowedin4.jpg We walked home and the snow had not stuck enough to be a problem. The blowing wind, blowing snow in my face, that was a problem.
After we got home our neighborhood became a jewel. We decided to go to BKK at the corner of NJ and R St for dinner. The staff lives close by and they welcomed diners via their Twitter account so it made sense to us. I think Big Bear was open too. I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of people, people started showing up for dinner after happy hour.
Saturday was the height of the storm and we stayed put. Sunday we ventured out for mass at Immaculate @ 8th & N. About 90% of the attendees were Floridians trapped in DC for the march for life. The Floridians after mass played and voluntered to shovel. I’ve been in DC too long, as a Florida native, snow no longer is this foreign magical fluffy stuff. It’s annoying cold crap that falls from the sky. After mass, we wandered into the Giant. It was way less crowded than Friday. No spring onions, no shallots, but lots of potatoes, raspberries, and wine.
Our way to mass we walked along Q St where there were sections where people shoveled a path in the sidewalk and stomped down a path where it crossed an alley. On our way back we took Q then after 6th took R. R was okay in parts but it was just easier to walk in the streets.
During the last big blizzard, snowmageddon 2010, I was snowed in way up in Booneyville, MD with friends. I was able to drag myself to a mass and that was it. The nearest restaurant was 1/2 a mile away and not open. The nearest grocery store, about a mile away, also, not open. The Help and I were able to walk to a friend of his, who was also snowed in.
I’ll take my hood over the suburbs of Maryland (we don’t cross the river so Virginia is not an option). On Sunday after the blizzard I had shopping and dining options even though metro wasn’t running.
Also this snow storm people have been great. When it typically snows I hate my fellow resident, because many of them don’t bother shoveling. I was able to find routes to where I needed to go. Many people were out shoveling. People who never bothered shoveling in years past, had someone from their household do a little or a lot. Even the old guys who hang on the corner were out doing real work shoveling.