Out and About (Sort Of): Fireworks and Franklin By Howard Freedlander

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As I watched the Fourth of July fireworks in Oxford on Friday night, July 3, my mind wandered to thoughts of our founding fathers, particularly one whose pragmatism and intelligence always impressed me.

Before going any further, I must offer full disclosure: Dr. Ben Franklin founded the university I attended in West Philadelphia. His visage graces a slew of monuments and plaques. Yet, I knew very little as an undergraduate about this printer-turned-statesman, except for his kite and key lightning experiment.

Since my graduation 48 years ago, I’ve learned that this brilliant, dumpy guy was a businessman, civic activist, legislative leader, diplomat and master of the possible as a political compromiser. He was extraordinary at a time when revolutionary fever was high, and when the young nation took its first baby steps as an experiment in constitutional democracy.

Though I have no earthly idea what Ben Franklin was thinking about when the inaugural fireworks display, as envisioned in 1776 by John Adams, graced the skies in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, my guess is that Ben Franklin had more practical concerns. After all, the colonies were fighting for their survival against their British oppressors.

While history rewards Thomas Jefferson with most of the credit for composing the Declaration of Independence, Franklin contributed in a “small but resounding” way, according to Walter Isaacson’s “Benjamin Franklin, An American Life.” In place of “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable,” Franklin replaced five words with three notable ones: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

According to Isaacson, Jefferson appealed to a religious principle; “Franklin turned it instead into an assertion of rationality.”

When the Congress edited the draft Declaration by cutting the final five paragraphs, young Jefferson was distressed and turned to Dr. Franklin for solace. Ever the conciliator with uncanny people skills, Franklin related a little story to his Virginian friend. For the sake of time, I won’t retell the story, but its conclusion was obvious: the simpler, the better in crafting a message.

Despite my predisposition to like and admire Ben Franklin, I have found myself repeatedly affirmed by what I have learned about this gifted and talented man who was so instrumental and influential in creating a nation and then preserving it. The following statement by Isaacson aptly describes the former printer:

“Similarly, he helped to create, and came to symbolize, a new popular order in which rights and power were based not on the happenstance of heritage, but on merit and virtue and hard work. He rose up the social ladder, from runaway to apprentice to dining with kings, in a way that would become quintessentially American. But in doing so he resolutely resisted, as a matter of principle, sometimes to a fur-capped extreme, taking on elitist pretensions.

“He was egalitarian in what became the American sense: he approved individuals making their way to wealth through diligence and talent, but opposed giving special privileges to people based on their birth.”

Maybe, just maybe, Ben Franklin would have considered a grand fireworks display on July 4th in 1777 as well as 2015 a wonderfully open way for all Americans, regardless of their social or economic class, to celebrate the wonder of an imperfect country battling bias-based demons but determinedly offering opportunity to achieve happiness and economic success.

I despair of hero worship. It’s too easy to be disappointed when reality sets in. My reading tells me that Ben Franklin paid little attention to his family, spending more time than some thought was necessary in France nurturing an early ally. Yet, his accomplishments, notably practical and useful, were invaluable.

Amid the July 4th festivities, I felt grateful to the wise, savvy Dr. Franklin.

Profiles in Recovery: Wardell Harding

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Four or five years ago Wardell Harding couldn’t envision a life without drugs and alcohol. He certainly didn’t see himself as a counselor at Recovery in Motion at the A.F. Whitsitt Center in Chestertown.

He’d be the first to say that recovery opens the door for miraculous changes in one’s life.

Harding now sees his job as a peer support counselor at RIM as an integral part of his own recovery as he works to reach the “hard to serve” population of our county, may it be visits to the county jail to offer help to inmates about to be released, or leading group sessions at the Center.

It’s important to Harding that people know more about the A.F. Whitsitt Center’s services as a residential treatment facility for people 18 and over who suffer from chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders. He knows from his own experience that long-term recovery requires more than ending drug and alcohol use—it requires a new way of living and that Whitsitt and treatments centers like it offer a recovery environment from detox to sober living housing if needed.

“Someone on the street, they need to know that have a place to turn to. They can walk right up to the front door any day between Monday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 pm. All they have to do is have  the willingness and desire to end the suffering of their addiction, and start on the road to recovery,” he said.

In this video, Wardell Harding talks about his recovery and his work as a Peer Support Counseling Specialist at the A.F. Whitsitt Center in Chestertown,

Recovery in Motion is located at the Whitsitt Center, 300 Scheeler Road in Chestertown.Phone Number: 410-778-6404, Admissions: 410-778-6404, or 3223.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length

Out and About (Sort Of): Medical Journey By Howard Freedlander

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I began an unplanned medical journey two months ago. Consequently, I joined a men’s club, to which I had no intention of applying.

On April 30, I received a diagnosis of prostate cancer. By June 16, I underwent robotic-assisted surgery to remove my prostate. As I write this column, I am recovering well and quickly.

On June 24, I learned from my Hopkins Hospital doctor that the surgery successfully extracted all the cancer. I am cancer-free.

I thought long and hard about whether to share this information on a public stage like The Talbot Spy. I’m doing so because fortunately I suffered a form of cancer more common than I ever knew among men—and considered mostly curable.

My description so far betrays none of the fear and anxiety I felt—and obsessed about on a daily basis—beginning with the brief phone conversation with an Annapolis urologist, who told me the awful truth. The difficulty continued as I told family members and close friends. Even as I sat two weeks ago in the hectic pre-operation area, I worried about life after major surgery.

Cancer no longer was someone else’s problem.

As if studying for final exams in college, I read exhaustively about prostate cancer. I spoke with survivors, not only in Talbot County but throughout the country. I realized the membership of this club was larger than I ever imagined. While comforted to some extent by the survival rate, at least measured anecdotally, I could think of nothing else.

I learned that fighting cancer—or any other life-threatening disease—generates a level of self-absorption and self-centeredness that I typically abhor. I talked of little else. I felt distracted, prone to mistakes.

And I found out, as do others, I’m sure, the grace and comfort willingly offered by family and friends.

Despite the option of radiation, I chose surgery because it suited me personally; I simply wanted to rid myself of cancer as quickly and effectively as I could. Through a referral from an Easton doctor,

I found a physician at the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, well-experienced and well-respected in conducting robotic-assisted surgery. He not only was highly skilled, but just as importantly, a person with a nice human touch and incredible responsiveness to my questions and concerns.

 

I alluded to the inestimable value of support, both professional and friend/family-based. You expect the medical professionals to respond with expertise and compassion, and that generally happened. You lean on your family, and again I was the beneficiary of tremendous care and concern. My wife Liz was a great nurse and wonderful friend.

Everyone deals differently with personal calamity. I like to do personal research. And so I spoke with people to whom friends referred me, people whom I did not know, such as an attorney in Chicago and a real estate developer in Washington, DC; they unselfishly spent time explaining their experience with prostate cancer. Also, I constantly sought counsel and comfort from an Easton friend who had undergone prostate surgery in 1999 at Hopkins.

So, what do I do now that my two-month medical odyssey is over?

I will find another subject of conversation that excludes personal medical problems. I will continue retirement activities that have no connection to the medical system. Life as a patient is grueling.

And, finally, I will be ever thankful for a dose of good luck, renewal of good health and the ability to continue praying for those who endure life-threatening medical situations far more complex than early-detected prostate cancer.

Life looks brighter now. It’s time to move on. It’s time to laugh again.

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Of Skipjacks, Flyboys and Sailors with Author Dick Cooper

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While the Eastern Shore’s history has received special attention from a host of gifted writers over last few centuries, it is still pretty unique to have a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist spending three intense years tracking down both the well-known and the not so well-known stories of the Shore.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 1.32.24 PMThat is exactly what Dick Cooper, a former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has been doing, with the results recently published as a collection of 23 essays entitled, “East of the Chesapeake: Skipjacks, Flyboys and Sailors True Tales of the Eastern Shore.” Cooper introduces readers to the special places of the Eastern Shore and the people who call them home, the boats they sail and the traditions that make them and the region uniquely American.

In his interview with the Spy, the author talks about his exhaustive documentation of the building and restoration of the famed skipjack Rosie Parks at the Chesapeake Bay Martine Museum, the first plans for the C&D Canal, the curious tale of Two Johns, Maryland, and an overview of some other stories in his recent collection.

This video is approximately ten minutes in length.  Currently, the book is only available as an e-book via Amazon. Readers can purchase it here

What Didn’t Happen July 4, 1776 by George Merrill

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If you have a scattered mind as I do, always managing several ideas at once, you know there’s a price to pay. Being clear about things can be difficult: certain times get confused, particulars of some incidents get transposed onto others and important details are frequently omitted. In short it’s easy for people like me to become befuddled.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 7.27.50 AMI thought it appropriate to write something about our signature national holiday. Although embarrassing to admit, I wasn’t sure just exactly what did happen on July 4th 1776 other than we became independent of Britain. Knowing myself as I do, I thought I’d better check on details so I wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot. I googled “What happened on the 4th of July?”

When I went onto the site, I felt vindicated, as if I wasn’t so flakey after all. Maybe I didn’t know exactly what happened but I discovered that many Americans didn’t either. According to The Washington Post most Americans think we declared our independence when the continental congress met on that Fourth of July in Philadelphia. Not so. Nor did the members of the Continental Congress sign the declaration that day. Actually the Continental Congress declared our independence on July 2nd and Jefferson thought this date would be “solemnized with pomp and parade . . . games, sports, guns [and] bells . . . from this time forward forever more.” It was comforting to know that even Jefferson didn’t get it right.

According to The Washington Post what actually happened on July 4th, 1776 – if Jefferson couldn’t get it straight I wonder why the Post thinks it can- our Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence that Jefferson had written with this caveat; subject to edits by a five-man team. Jefferson wrote the final draft, completing it in the third week of that June.

To further confuse our ingrained ideas of the fourth, Americans didn’t celebrate the first Independence Day until July 8th with a big party in Philadelphia, including a parade and shooting off lots of guns. Even George Washington who was in New York didn’t get the word until the ninth, ironically the last one to be told, save the British who finally heard about it on August 30th. They found the declaration seditious, didn’t consider it an occasion to celebrate at all, and kept on shooting at us anyway.

If we had cell phones, or even walkie-talkies, General Washington, could have been kept abreast of events and enjoyed a timely celebration with everyone else. Heaven knows he deserved it.

the finalizing in declaring our nation’s birthday went from July 2nd to July 8th. This is six days. Are we dishonoring our founding father’s efforts by just having a one day celebration or if the date falls right, only a long weekend? Might we not celebrate our nation’s birth by octaves, eight-day observances as some religions do? On second thought that may be a scatterbrained idea. As exuberant as most Yankees are about having parties, an eight-day cookout with a daily diet of beans, potato chips, franks, hot dogs, beer and hamburgers, nightly fireworks with all your kin constantly under your nose day and night may be over the top. A long weekend is probably best.
Happy Birthday, America.

Unicorn Books Turns Forty: A Conversation with Owner Jim Dawson

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For those living to Talbot County over the past few decades, particularly those who love books, one very good memory for many was getting lost in the stacks of the Unicorn Bookshop on Dover Street, and later Washington Street in downtown Easton. And while the store eventually moved to Trappe on Route 50 in 1993, it has remained the Mid-Shore’s flagship used bookstore for thousands of the region’s book collectors and bibliophiles, even as the physical book itself has become an endangered species.

Started by friends Jim Dawson and Ken Callahan in 1975, Unicorn grew out of a passion for antiquarian books and the region’s abundance of local writers. While Jim, who now owns the bookstore on his own, humorously suggests that the creation of the bookstore was part of his longtime objective not to have a “real” job, Unicorn today plays a critical role in protecting Eastern Shore’s culture and history in addition to being world-class collection of first editions and other rare books on all subjects.

In his Spy interview, Jim talks about the role of a used bookstore, his great interest and opinions of Eastern Shore writers, and the business of books in the 21st century.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length

Out and About (Sort Of): Enough Already by Howard Freedlander

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It appears that the tortuous saga of the proposed Four Seasons community in Chester on Kent Island soon will come to an end.

A decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals to refer the proposed development to the Board of Public Works, which first acted on the project in 2007, may finally bring to conclusion more than a decade of litigation and contention.

When I served as a deputy treasurer and liaison to the Board of Public Works (BPW) during Act I in Annapolis, the issue, on the surface, was an easy one, overlaid however with complexity prompted by organized opposition to a proposed development catering to senior citizens. While the BPW, one of the most powerful public groups in the state, was being asked to vote on wetlands issues related to storm drainage, opponents understood that its only resort to killing the project was by persuading the BPW to disapprove the wetlands licenses.

The meeting, which resembled a zoning hearing, lasted for hours as Governor Martin O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot heard exhausting testimony from opponents and proponents alike. When the board finally voted, the governor and comptroller voted in opposition, while the treasurer voted in favor.

The developer, K. Hovnanian, appealed the BPW decision to Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court, which ruled that the decision rendered by the board, was based, if I recall correctly, on what the court viewed as faulty reasoning used by O’Malley and Franchot. This decision came shortly before I retired in May 2011.

I do not pretend to know all the machinations that have occurred during the past four years, a process that now brings to the fore the question of whether a valuable, environmentally sensitive waterfront property should become a quality housing development. For opponents and proponents, the question really comes down to this: should this property be developed?

Hovnanian has spent an ungodly amount of money designing plans, redesigning plans and litigating on the county and state levels. The company signed a legally defensible development agreement with Queen Anne’s County. It fulfilled every requirement imposed by the Maryland Department of Environment. One wonders why this firm, enduring endless twists and turns, simply didn’t throw in the towel and save a large amount of money spent on attorneys’ fees.

Opponents justifiably want to preserve a pristine piece of property so close to the Chesapeake Bay. Kent Island already has enough traffic congestion it needs no more, according to the opponents. The fear of additional pollution is a real one.

I am torn.

On the one hand, the developer has jumped through every hoop imaginable in gaining approval for a project scaled down considerably from its original plan submitted many years ago. Rejection of this project would virtually signal to real estate developers and business people that doing business in Maryland is an undertaking fraught with unpredictability. Maybe that perception exists regardless of the outcome of this imbroglio.

Unless changes have occurred allowing the Maryland Department of Environment not only to exact obedience to a checklist but to determine whether a project is environmentally sensible, I wonder if the Board of Public Works can deny wetlands permits based on broader concerns.

As an administrative body, can it decide the wetlands licenses and hence the viability of the project? Can each member, individually elected, vote, however each wishes, on the broader issue: should the project be built and potentially cause environmental damage as well as more traffic congestion/

In St. Michaels, opposition raged several years ago about the proposed development of Miles Point, another lovely waterfront property that caused residents heartburn about an upscale development that would dump more traffic on the often congested St. Michaels Road. The project didn’t happen— because a wealthy person bought the property from the developer and determined it would remain undeveloped.

My guess is that a solution of this type was investigated by opponents of Four Seasons, with no angel in sight to remove the property from development.

As someone who has ranted about uncontrolled development in Middletown and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I find myself—devoid of current information during the past four years—sympathetic to Hovnanian for persistence and the opponents for fighting to preserve a property untouched by construction amid the heavily populated Kent Island.

This battle, fought too many times in court, needs to end.

Enough is enough.

Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland.  Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard.  In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis, and Philadelphia.

Second Look by George Merrill

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I was never a good student. Indeed, in high school and graduate studies I barely scraped by. My mind was unruly. It would wander but then arbitrarily seize upon some select fragment of my studies and it would become indelibly fixed in my mind.

My first year in college English we were assigned T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets to read. Most of the poetry went over my head except for this particular selection from Little Gidding. It’s stayed with me to this day:

And the end of all are exploring
Will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time.

As a middle- aged man, although I’d been making photographs since I was fourteen, I took photography courses at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore to hone my skills. The class consisted mostly of young people so I was the old man of the class. They tolerated my presence with curiosity and good humor, as they might regard some toothless dinosaur mingling in their midst.

The class held periodic critiques of one another’s work. The picture I chose to show on my first critique I thought was marvelous. I took it at Baltimore Harbor. The picture showed a seagull on a dock piling perched stone still but appearing regal. I was struck with how the bird stood and I snapped a picture. The picture was clear, had full range of tones and I was sure that my class would be dazzled.

As the critique began I eagerly waited comments. When it was my turn, the heat suddenly went up. One young person said, ” Wow man, this is such a cliché, I mean what are you trying to say.” One young girl, following his comments blithely reported that she hated seagulls and did I know that they were not only carnivores, “like cannibals, man” but that the guano they left all over Baltimore was really gross and “totally icky.” And on it went. I felt as though carnivorous seagulls had surrounded me and I was being pecked apart.

I was particularly devastated because I loved photographing marine scenes and I thought that that this represented the pinnacle of my nature photographs. I was being told in no uncertain terms that my work was banal and uninteresting.

The next day I went to my instructor, Paul, and told him how hurt I was, particularly with the implication that the things I liked to photograph were superficial, “Hallmark like” as another classmate had commented.

Paul smiled and said, “Oh, that’s not the point. You must always stay with the things that you love most. Your task is to return to them and see them in new ways.” The invitation to see in what’s familiar something new, and find in what’s new something familiar was a signature moment in my artistic endeavors but also in developing my spiritual life. The suggestion I took from it was not unlike William Blake’s classic words: “To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower.” It takes a second look.

I believe there’s an essence to things. There’s an essence in people – their spirit, if you will. Their spirit always totals more than the sum of their parts. I understand that means treating first my impressions tentatively while continuing my explorations. Things may seem radically different after the second, third or fourth look.

With my camera I returned to many of the same marine sites I had photographed. I saw many more possibilities for making engaging images. The critique, although hard to hear, had opened my eyes.
At about that time, my wife, Jo, and I were planning a move to the Shore and went house hunting.
Over a few months we explored possibilities in Dorchester, Queen Anne’s and several here in Talbot County and nothing seemed to feel right. Late in our search our realtor, vexed, asked just what was it that we were looking for. We weren’t sure.

Early in our explorations we saw a house. The interior was filled with furniture, interesting, but cluttered for our tastes. The exterior looked like a bunkhouse. We dismissed it and continued exploring for several weeks and on a whim returned to the “bunkhouse.”

On the first look we hadn’t noticed how, among all the houses we’d seen, this one let the beauty of the outside in. The dark wood interior, rather than seeming oppressive as it did at first, we now experienced as warm and welcoming, the way subdued lighting can create an intimate atmosphere. We knew this was where we wanted to live. In short, we had, in this particular exploration, arrived where we’d started, and knew the place for the first time.

Perhaps I remembered those words from Eliot’s Little Gidding that I first heard in college because I knew at some subliminal level I would, in many of my life explorations, be returning to where I started to find what I was looking for.

In the way people assign names to their homes here on the Shore, we’ve called ours, “Second Look.”

Conowingo Dam Dialogue: UM Horn Point’s Michael Roman

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While technically Dr. Michael Roman’s area of expertise is oceanography. it may be more accurate to say “bayography,” if that was an actual word, since a considerable amount of his time as director of the Horn Point Laboratory has been focused on the Chesapeake Bay since he arrived in 1983.

Working with a team of talented researchers and graduate students, the Horn Point Lab, located just a few miles outside of Cambridge, has, under his direction,  has played a critical role in monitoring the Bay’s ecosystem functions, water quality, and overall environmental health.

That role just got quite a bit larger after it was announced in February that Horn Point would take the lead in a two-year study to determine the amount of sediment and associated nutrients present in major entry points to the Lower Susquehanna River Reservoir System and the upper Chesapeake Bay. This represents an important next step of research as a follow-up of a recent study led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that analyzed the movement of sediment and associated nutrients in the Chesapeake.

In his interview with the Spy, Dr. Roman talks about the importance of this research project, the tools used to conduct it, and the transparency and access of the data collected throughout the study.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length

 

Out and About (Sort Of): Relationships by Howard Freedlander

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Recently I was asked to update and expand an article I wrote last summer for the Talbot Spy about the Easton Yankees, a Class D baseball team that played its last games in 1949, after playing off and on since the 1920s. This new article will appear in a program for a little league tournament to be held in late July in Easton.

After talking with an Easton resident who was the bat boy during the 1948 season, with this man’s best friend who shagged foul balls only to return them to Federal Park and thus gain free admission to the games and a man whose father had served as the volunteer business manager of the Little Yankees, I suddenly realized that what I was hearing was really about relationships.

Baseball was the glue.

When pro athletes were approachable, unprotected by agents and hangers-on, people in a community could get to know the players as people, particularly on a minor-league level.

Baseball, where people sat only feet away from the action, generated that kind of closeness. You could see, feel and hear the action. You might have known the people tasting success and failure in a sport where job and agony followed closely after each other.

While spectators still sit relatively close to the action in baseball, they understand that relationships are far harder, if not impossible to establish today. The players seem more distant in their demeanor.

In some cases in the past, spectators might have known the players off the field when the salaries were far lower, and players needed second jobs during the off-season. The players seemed more human, less aloof.

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The Easton Yankees

When I listened to Bill Parker, once upon the time the 12-year-old bat boy in 1948, tell how Bernie DeFazio, the shortstop on the Easton Yankees, used to visit Bill when he came to Easton see his–in-laws, having married a local woman and moved to Massachusetts, I understood that Class D baseball not only provided entertainment before the introduction of television, but also enabled fans to know the players, to feel a special connection to the men playing for money, though likely not very much at that time, and possibly a road to the major leagues.

As we watch professional sports today, listen to pro athletes interviewed on television (and schooled to do so), we have to make quick decisions whether we like or dislike a highly paid golfer, skier or football or baseball or basketball player. In all likelihood, the man or woman participating in elaborate, expensive sports venues cares little about fan’s likes or dislikes. It’s also unlikely our paths will cross.

When I heard that Easton Yankees manager, Jack Farmer, named his two children, Jack and Joe, the same names as the twin sons of J. Howard Anthony, a volunteer business manager for the teams for a brief time, I again thought about relationships spawned by professional baseball played at a far different, simpler time in history in the small town of Easton.

At the risk of sounding old and judgmental, I often feel compelled to refer to the late 1940s in Easton as the “good old days,” too easy an expression but maybe apt in this instance. Relationships were easier; distractions were fewer.

Federal Field was a focal point, I suppose, for young and old to watch and appreciate baseball, even at the Class D level. Competition was fierce between numerous towns on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia and lower Delaware. Other sports-watching opportunities were fewer.

Now, at the risk of abruptly diverging from my theme of long-ago baseball in Easton and the relationships it spawned, I think also about relationships—authentic, soul-deep—while observing the heartfelt reaction to the death of Beau Biden, the 46-old son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Before you wonder why I lurched so suddenly from baseball to politics, I think that Joe Biden, who seems to feed as a person and politician on relationships, has sparked a wellspring of empathetic emotion because he exudes warmth, the authentic and sincere kind.

Still wondering where I’m going with this column? Loss of a child is catastrophic. It’s unfathomably difficult to understand and accept. What sustains you, besides your family, are your friends. Often derided for his unscripted comments, Joe Biden has developed relationships based on his personal quality and sincerity. He has done so in the often divisive world of politics.

Young Bill Parker and Bernie DeFazio established a relationship based on their mutual love of baseball, as played and practiced in a small, cohesive community.

On a field of combat, called national politics, Joe Biden has developed relationships that override rancor and naked ambition. His son’s tragic death, grieved by his family, has unleashed an outpouring of sympathy driven by friendship for our nation’s vice president.

Our relationships give us enjoyment and support. Their value is immeasurable, in good times and bad.

Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in political science and journalism and a master of science degree in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College.