Rainy Day Ravens
There is none of the rowdy tailgating that often precedes games at M&T Bank Stadium today, as the Ravens get ready to take on the Carolina Panthers in their first exhibition game of the season.
Hours before kickoff, the heavens open up, shooing hopeful revelers from the parking lots. Many, lured by a sign promising two-for-one beers, take refuge inside Federal Hill's No Idea Tavern, where pre-game coverage blares from multiple flat-screens.
A half-hour before game time, the sun briefly peeks out, and determined fans make their way across the Ostend Street Bridge to the stadium. The rain has chased many of the zealous merchandise vendors from outside of the stadium, but inside is a madhouse.
After enduring another woeful Orioles season, Baltimore sports fans are ecstatic to root for a team that analysts rank among the best in the country.
"We will protect this house!" chant a rowdy crew of purple-and-black clad twentysomethings waiting in line for $7 beers. A peewee football team in full gear snakes by, clapping and chanting with similar—if less slurred—enthusiasm.
Finally, the players emerge from the tunnel. New Raven Donté Stallworth gets an optimistic round of applause, while Ray Lewis reaps loyal roars. Fireworks explode into the air as 70,000 fans watch the kickoff.
The first half is electric, full of highs, as when Joe Flacco first connects with highly anticipated receiver Anquan Boldin. But by mid-game, the rain kicks up again, and the ponchos and parkas come out, tamping down on the thrill of what will end up a 17-12 win. While many of the faithful stay to endure the soaking, others head for the exits, just happy to have a winner back in town.
Wedded Bliss, Revisited
A festive mood permeates the sanctuary of Druid Hill's glorious Union Baptist Church as Sadie and Llewellyn Woolford celebrate their 50th anniversary by reenacting the happy day in the same spot where they exchanged vows in 1960.
The noonday sun lights up the impressive array of LeFarge stained glass at the church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. As the proceedings begin, it quickly becomes clear that, unlike his wife, Llewellyn Woolford is a man of few words.
An ebullient Sadie tells the gathering of about 100 family and friends that when she first met Lew—at the law office where he clerked after graduating from Howard Law School—he was "asleep at his desk. And I've been waking him up ever since."
Lew smiles, and Sadie notes that they came to Union Baptist on their first date in 1955. "I asked him where he went to church," she recalled. "He said, 'I'll show you.' To this day, we've had an ongoing debate about whether I was looking for a church or looking for a date."
Again, Lew smiles, and Sadie recounts a courtship that culminated with the couple's wedding at Union Baptist five years later.
Various friends joyfully
extoll the virtues of their remarkable relationship. "There's a love that comes with knowing them" says one. Then, Ethel Ennis, the local jazz luminary and a longtime friend of the couple, sings "True Love," as she did during the service 50 years ago. Ennis receives a standing ovation, and a few "Amen"s are heard as the applause subsides.
Finally, the couple reaffirm their vows, and Lew speaks his only words—"I do"—the only ones that matter.