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The Tentacle


May 17, 2005

A Sunday Homage

Roy Meachum

The northern part of Frederick County is different. There seems less intensity. While officials up there take their jobs seriously, they appear warmer and more willing to give credit where it's due. And Sunday evening they were giving credit to Commissioner Mike Cady.

The front end of the occasion enabled Cozy Restaurant owner Jerry Freeze to dedicate his new Camp David museum. Laid out in the room are news accounts and memorabilia from presidents who have come and gone since Mr. Freeze's father and mother started the business. That was the first year Herbert Hoover lived in the White House.

The farm boy from West Branch, Iowa, never lost his love of fishing. Nothing could have been more natural than to haul his rod and reel to Frederick County, especially since his secretary had a cabin near Thurmont.

Franklin Roosevelt built the original complex, which he dubbed "Shangri La." The first years, during World War II, nobody was supposed to know where the presidential retreat was. Everybody in Frederick County knew where it was, of course, especially the Freeze family. As everybody now knows, Dwight Eisenhower renamed the camp for his grandson, David.

The first reported celebrity to come down the hill and partake of the Cozy's hospitality was Britain's Winston Churchill, who liked his grape, as the saying goes. Sir Winston headed a parade that included numerous foreign leaders.

Israel's Menachem Begin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat made the greatest moment in the history of the retreat when they agreed to the Camp David accords, which handed the Sinai back to Cairo. Of course, the Cozy was swamped, all its rooms taken and no space at the bar, as the international press swarmed all of the restaurant and inn.

In talking about notable guests, Mr. Freeze expressed his gratitude for being allowed to host Olympic officials and some participants in the Olympic World Weightlifting Championships for university and college-age women and men last summer.

Because he arranged the affair, Mike Cady came under merciless attack and finally an absurd motion by the county's Ethics Committee. While he could never make a dime from the project, the committee chastised him for offering to pay the expenses if nobody else volunteered. In fact, costs were paid by a combination of the Olympic committee and local sponsors, recruited by Marvin Ausherman.

The championships staged at Mount St. Mary's are part of the reason north Frederick County officials praise Mr. Cady. Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns went out his way to compliment the commissioner for not only getting things done but for the way he has come to town meetings. The mayor gave the impression the visits happen fairly frequent.

Also on hand for the evening were Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, State Sen. David Brinkley, General Assembly delegation chair Del. Paul Stull, GOP county chairman Chuck Jenkins and Emmitsburg Mayor Jerry Hoover.

While they probably would have made the Cozy Sunday for the Camp David museum dedication, they also support Mike Cady's performance in Winchester Hall. Several expressed their gratitude for his efforts in calling the world 's attention to their neck of the county.

The back half of the evening turned into a banquet-fundraiser for the commissioner's reelection campaign, which was officially started that night. I was there because, as readers know, I admire the man, both professionally and personally. I know of his extensive good work with troubled youngsters; that's how we first met.

The ex-Marine rarely hesitates when tough calls must be made. The celebrated "cap" incident was the result of the young man's failure to respect the Board of County Commissioners. At any rate, the county supervisor was there to introduce the new employees and should have prepared the young man, including the admonition to take his cap off.

Among commissioners, Mike Cady is noted for the extensive research he digs into for every issue. He's more dogged than dogmatic. He has the need to leave nothing to chance, when he can. That fidelity to his job doesn't make me like him any less.

For a few hours of my Sunday time I was permitted to delve into the new Camp David Museum and eat wonderful Cozy crab cakes with a dedicated public servant and his friends. Sorry you couldn't make it.



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