By Wendy Geist
Over Memorial Day weekend, my daughter Madelyn and I were in need of the final touches for a "Survivor Birthday Party" present for friends in the park. We headed to Ken's Old Fashioned Candy Shop on Frederick Road for a feedbag of the usual suspects; gummy butterflies, bears, goldfish and worms.
When we arrived at the shop - it was closed. However, Mary, the owner, was sitting on the shop's porch – chatting with a local while enjoying a break from her Sunday shop cleaning.
We expressed our disappointment at the closed sign. Mary was quick to ask what we were looking for. We explained our quest for gooey, ooey gummy insects for our themed gift. Without hesitation, Mary insisted on opening the shop just for us so we could pick out whatever we needed to finish our gift.
Imagine being Madelyn at age 8 with a quiet candy shop all to her self… the wood floors gleaming – the sun shining in on the old cases filled with chocolates, m&m’s mixed in Ravens and Oriole colors, hand dipped chocolate shaped crabs, glistening rock candies, chocolate licorice, kick-it-old-school chalky candied cigarettes, candy necklaces and licorice pipes …
There was a sense of feeling so special that day…no rushing or lines, our own private tour guide and the care of the owner as deep handfuls of gummy insects certain to please were prepared and boxed. The candies were wrapped in perfectly suited butterfly paper and ready for perfect presentation.
We thanked Mary for her hospitality and opening up her store on a Sunday to a gal in need. We offered a tip so she could head to Atwater's and grab a sweet on us for her time and kindness.
This experience made me pause as both a resident and patron of our town center. We live in a magical place, a slice of Americana. Nestled between a major airport where you rarely hear the planes (despite a 10 minute commute to your departing flight) and a fantastic city. We have some of the best mountain biking trails and access to one of the most beautiful parks on the east coast, as well as excellent schools and hospital care available to our families that is unparalleled in the country. Our location is indeed gold.
But, above the all the perks, location, beautiful homes, and sense of living in a community most folks only read about … it is the people who make Catonsville the best place to live and raise a family. A place where we watch over each other’s children, lend a hand to our neighbors, bring a meal when someone is sick, share homemade dishes over summer weekend BBQ’s…and, when needed are handed the keys to the local candy shop!