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Shaking off winter’s chill in April

For the first time in my life, I bundled up for a baseball game. That’s how cold the evenings still were by the middle of April. But all of it worked to everyone’s advantage here on the Eastern Shore, because when the weather finally broke, everyone was dying to get out to the beach or to the parks or just in their front yards to get a little sun on their faces and dream about the summer ahead.

April is really the weirdest months here on the shore, because we don’t plan for it as well as we do for the others. It’s dicey, and we treat it as such. Sure, people come down for Easter, but I’d reckon it is the most weather sensitive month because there isn’t much of a plan “B” when it comes to the first official month of spring. Going through the archives (both my own personal collections and the news provided here) it is clearly a slow news month as well.

April 2015 will always be epic for me, though, because it was the first time I covered (or attended for that matter) a public auction. If you miss the people- and culture-watching opportunities the net time you know of a public auction, don’t blame me. I actually wrote two stories on the event, a preview (the story is gone, but there’s a photo) and blow-by-blow coverage. They were epic.

This wasn’t a regular auction, it was an dispersal of military surplus that had been given to the town and then was resold because the town couldn’t use it. Delmar (the town in question) kept the hummers and the back-hoes and the rest of the very useful equipment, but was happy to sell the rest to very excitable patrons.

I interviewed a guy who purchased 14 foxhole shovels. If you follow the link you’ll see a guy who, you’re pretty certain, has very explicit scenarios for when he will be the king of foxhole shovels. He told me he bought them so he could keep them in his truck for when he went off-road on Assateague Island. I guess he bought the entire gross because, being American, if one is good, more are better.

A LOT of people wanted all the government surplus they could afford.
A LOT of people wanted all the government surplus they could afford.

I think it was important to the event organizers that the weather had finally broken, and they were happy with the turnout. The story I did on the auctioneer was fun, but weird, and one of the things he said to me is worth repeating. He was a former policeman and had said that police and reporters don’t get along, as if we were natural enemies.

It struck me as odd, because I don’t know where the police get this. I think they watch too much reality television. True, the “reporters” who work for television might be the natural enemies of the police, but they’re also the natural enemies of democracy, reason and human decency. As a print reporter, I’ve always gotten along well enough with the police. I always found there was an inherent distrust, though, which bothered me, but the conversation happened (seemingly) a long time before the police/press thing got ugly.

Eventually, though, the weather broke and people stormed the streets of Salisbury for the 3rd Friday event. I tried to make a big deal of 3rd Friday because it is the one thing that might help the Salisbury Downtown limp through until the redevelopment makes the city center more viable.

Let’s face it: Salisbury is depressing to drive through. It is ugly and strip-malled and poorly kept. The monthly 3rd Friday festival is a way of actively hoping that Salisbury can recover from its embarrassing, poorly-conceived development past. Farm animals at the government building are a good start.

Cute kids and cute goats are an excellent start.
Cute kids and cute goats are an excellent start.

By the time May bothered to show up, we all were ready to get summer underway.


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