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As Long as We Remember...

August 26, 2016

Commodore to the Mountains

Guest Columnist

Galahad Sweetbottom


I have been learning about life in Frederick, Maryland, for several years through the eyes of The Tentacles, plural for all of the various and numerous writers I read carefully.


From my little cottage in Kent, England, a short distance from Chartwell, I’m writing. Americans may know this tiny place as the country home of Sir Winston Churchill. It's now a national trust. A reminder to me of sections of Maryland.


I'm sort of excited about coming to Frederick County and to be near Camp David at Catoctin. I know it's beautiful. Sir Winston rode along with FDR through your fair city some 70 years past and repeated every word of the ballad of Barbara Frietchie. Winston outdid FDR, who could only recite the first few words. Winston recited demonstratively John Greenleaf Whittier’s classic poem. They were en route to Shangri-La for some country air and fishing. They probably talked about some wartime issues during this WWII timeout, maybe some trade of islands for ships.


A little more historical reference. Americans can recall that one of Mr. Churchill's favorite general's was Ike Eisenhower. He renamed Shangri-La Camp David after his grandson. When the general finished two terms as president, he moved to Gettysburg, a few miles up the road from the presidential retreat. I have no word as to his fishing again at Camp David.


We hear rumours (Oxford spelling) that your outgoing president wants to rename Camp David after his wife, Camp Michelle. Could he do that through an executive order? We will have to wait and see. Our Royals here can't alter names of legendary homes like Windsor or Balmoral. Just never been done.


My home county of Kent is largely a maritime county. I still enjoy yachting in this extreme southeast corner of the Isles, 80 miles from the English Channel. Hope to visit your Chesapeake Bay and the world famous Port of Baltimore. They refer to me as Commodore, but that's only to be nice.


It will be restful and fun to enjoy life around Thurmont and other pleasant views. I like this area also because the vistas remind me of my home area.


I am looking forward to some British dining, too. Through the wizardry of the Internet, I found a certified first class restaurant serving bonafide English food, Cafe Anglais in downtown Frederick. Tea time and Cornish pasties! No porkie here, translated a fib for you Americans.


If I may have a few more words, my intent is to assimilate in your state. There is a lot of history between the UK and Maryland areas, Lords Baltimore and Calvert to name a couple.


I know my American history not from the British side. You may not be as old as us Brits but interesting. Your College of William and Mary are named after our regal ones. You don't have to remind me of Yorktown. Naval history shows Lord Cornwallis lost his way and that fellow General B. Arnold escaped to London where he died. I might add, he was not loved.


Today it is great to be friends. Now back to my sailing vessel for an afternoon nap and dream aboard Cunard Lines’ Queen Elizabeth II.


[Editor’s Note: Mr. Sweetbottom writes from Westerham, Kent, England. He plans to reside in Thurmont for at least six months annually. He's been learning about life in Maryland and likes it. He is an honorary Commodore and sails in the English Channel.]


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