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I had occasion to ponder traffic the other day when I was ... stuck in traffic the other day.

Before I moved to the Land of Pleasant Living, I lived the life that most folks do in the great wad of sprawl and strip malls that is the Baltimore-Washington corridor, stuck in my car a good portion of the day, cursing my fate, my fellow commuters and whatever idiot had bollixed up the normal snarl into a parking-lot level tie-up on that particular day.

A nasty daily commute is one of my least favorite things, right up there with root canals and using “utilize” when plain old “use” will do, or “complimentary” instead of “free.”

The one I most hated was a daily trek from Laurel to Towson, a long-but-tolerable 45 minutes when there is no traffic (like, say, at 3 on Christmas morning) but a hellish hour-and-a-half to two-hour torture drive with just the regular rush-hour congestion to contend with.

I think what bothers me most about the day-in, day-out driving slog is the absolute predictability of the coming agony and the nearly unbelievable stupidity of some fellow travelers. I used to pray for cloudy days on the Laurel-to-Towson jaunt because there was a place on the Baltimore Beltway where the road turned east and into a slight hill, at the top of which, on sunny mornings, several drivers would invariably slow waaaaaay down when the sun hit their eyes at the top of the rise, forcing everyone else to slow down and creating an even bigger delay.

I remember gritting my teeth every time this happened and cursing, my blood pressure climbing at the thought that adults could not figure out that the sun rises every morning, and that perhaps they should invest in a pair of sunglasses or use the sun visor that car companies have been supplying for the last 50 or so years for just such a contingency.

Also, working as I have in the news business for lo, these many years, it has been pounded home to me many, many times how dangerous the mere act of driving is. I have been at the scene of too many fatal accidents, talked to too many grieving parents and friends of accident victims to take the danger lightly.

Thus I am amazed, appalled and outraged, in about equal measure, at the cavalier way in which so many of my fellow citizens treat that danger, doing exactly as they please as each suicidal whim propels them into my lane for yet another brush with the Grim Reaper.

The very morning on which I write this, at the company headquarters just a hop, skip and jump from one of the Washington region’s major interstates, a white van immediately ahead of me abruptly slowed and turned onto the left shoulder, and then, as I was just easing off the brake and unclenching my teeth, decided that, really, only the right shoulder would do and proceeded to whip across five lanes of traffic, apparently with only the most casual glance back, causing a rash of horn blowing and brake-stomping but thankfully no accident. You could practically see the swear words billowing out of the cars of the drivers who had to avoid this little exercise in spontaneity, a little bubble of hate and rage following the idiot to the side of the road.

One of my main pleasures when we first moved to our little farm was listening to the radio in the morning and hearing about all the traffic I was no longer stuck in, prompting a sophisticated commentary along the lines of “neener, neener, neener.”

So drive safely, and remember to avoid the incipient traffic problem mentioned in the item below.

Dubois Road at Denton Run Road to close Dec. 8, 9

Dubois Road in Charlotte Hall will be closed at Denton Run Road just past AG Supply Place in order to replace a large culvert pipe. The work will take place Dec. 8 through Dec. 9, weather permitting. The road will close at 7 a.m. on Dec. 8 and reopen at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9. No through traffic will be allowed.

For more information, contact the Charles County Roads Division at 301-932-3450.

Outreach volunteers needed

The Center for Abused Persons in Waldorf is seeking individuals willing to donate their time to assist victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

CAP provides 24-hour crisis intervention in addition to outreach and accompaniment for child and adult victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Ongoing follow-up counseling and therapy are offered to those who have experienced physical and sexual violence.

CAP also operates a hotline to provide crisis intervention.

Volunteers provide outreach and accompaniment for adults and children who have experienced sexual violence. Volunteers meet victims and their family members at Civista Medical Center to provide crisis intervention and information. Volunteers also may choose to provide accompaniment to court for victims of domestic violence. Volunteers may participate in one or both outreach programs based on their interests and schedule availability.

Flexible scheduling is available 24 hours a day. All training for medical and court accompaniment is provided.

To learn more, call Jennifer Beall at 301-645-8994.

Celebrate the season 1840s style

An antebellum Christmas Open House will be celebrated from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the 1840 manor house, Mount Aventine, at Chapman State Park at 3452 Ferry Place in Indian Head.

Hear the handbell choir of Waldorf’s Good Samaritan Presbyterian Church at 1:30. Enjoy the decorations and Civil War dolls by Faye Snyder under the Christmas tree. Tour the manor home and new visitor's center. Take the winter nature walk at 2:30 led by Mike Callahan. The event is free, but donations are suggested.

Call 301-753-6754 or go to

Mount Aventine and the visitors center also will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11 to view the decorations and enjoy the park.

College offers discounts on performances

Catch all five College of Southern Maryland fall student ensemble performances for $15 for all ages. All performances are at 8 p.m. in the fine arts building theater on the La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road.

On Nov. 30, CSM’s barbershop chorus Southern Mix, under the new directorship of Paul Douglass, presents “Winter in Barbershop Harmony,” an evening of traditional and winter barbershop favorites featuring members of local public school a cappella ensembles.

On Dec. 3, CSM’s Dance Ensemble presents “Memories of the Seasons” as members dance a medley of contemporary and classical dances with music spanning the fall and winter seasons and the holidays contained within. The choreography will focus on gifts, dolls and other toys. Audience members are encouraged to bring a toy donation for the Children’s Aid Society.

On Dec. 6, CSM’s Chorale, under the new directorship of Krystal McCoy, presents “Music of the Season” featuring lush arrangements of famous lullabies, jazzy arrangements of seasonal favorites and excerpts from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”.

On Dec. 7, CSM’s jazz ensemble Solid Brass presents “A Cool Christmas Concert: A Big Band Holiday Celebration,” which features performances of holiday jazz and classic big band numbers.

And on Dec. 8, CSM’s Latin Ensemble, Ritmo Caché, presents “Musica Caliente! An Evening of Latin Pop,” which features music by Selena, Eddie Palmieri, Rubén Blades and other Latin pop stars, and a new song by Southern Maryland composer Brian Scott. The concert will also feature the debut performances of the Ritmo Caché Combo and Conjunto.

Contact or 301-934-7828.

Dine with a purpose

Charles County commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly and the Waldorf Rotary Club are organizing a Dine with Purpose event from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at the New Hope Church of God at 4200 Old Washington Road in Waldorf.

A free meal will be provided to anyone in need of food or fellowship.

The purpose of this event is to bring awareness that poverty is a serious problem for many individuals and families in Charles County and encourage others to provide community dinners, according to a county news release. Donations will be accepted, and each dollar donated will buy up to eight pounds of food for a needy family.Cash, money order or check donations should be sent to the Southern Maryland Food Bank, P.O. Box 613, Hughesville, Md. 20637.

Wreath-making workshop offered

Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum staff and volunteers will hold wreath making workshops at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Dec.1.

Plant materials from the Point Farm gardens, located on the JPPM grounds, will be used to create the wreaths. Materials include magnolia, boxwood, holly, pines, pine cones and magnolia seed pods. Participants will complete their wreaths with bows and other ornaments included in the price of the workshops, $25 or $20 for members of the Friends of JPPM.

Call 410-586-8501, go to or email to make reservations.

Multimedia exhibit at Waldorf West Gallery

The Charles County Arts Alliance continues its presentation of local Charles County artists with a multimedia exhibit in its newly opened Waldorf West Gallery in the Waldorf West Library at 10405 O’Donnell Place.

The exhibit will be on display through January.

Go to