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I had a pretty busy Saturday before the Fourth of July holiday. I drove my car to the North Linthicum light rail station where I saw this cool looking art truck. Then I took the light rail to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium where I saw this excellent toy show that was literally a trip down memory lane for me.

As I went back to retrieve my car at the North Linthicum stop I decided to make a short drive to my hometown of Glen Burnie since I was in the area anyway. I went to Ann’s Dari-Creme because the weather has finally gotten hot enough that I felt a craving for a milk shake from that place. It’s a fun place to visit, which you can see in the photos I took for this blog post back in 2015.

The Accuweather app on my smartphone went off notifying me of a major thunderstorm that was passing through the region. The thunderstorm started after I ordered my milkshake and I was drinking it in the car. I decided to just stay in the car consuming my milkshake until the worst of the storm passed.

Afterwards I decided to heat towards Crabtowne USA. I initially thought about eating dinner there then playing its vintage pinball and video arcade games until I saw that the restaurant part was crowded. (I wasn’t surprised since it was the weekend before the Fourth of July.) I decided to just stick with playing the games and I had a great time. So did the kids who were riding the one of the mechanical horses in the next photo.

The crab statue outside the place was all ready for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday with its own little American flag.

The next photo shows what the sky looked like outside of Crabtowne USA, which still showed the effects from that short yet intense thunderstorm which passed through the area.

And then there is the next photo, which reminds me that, yes, I am in Glen Burnie and it provided me with yet another reason why I’m not exactly rushing to move back to that town.

“I Don’t Brake for Protesters”?!? What the ever loving fuck?!? Has this guy ever had an American Government class in high school? Had he even read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, especially the sections about people having the right to peaceably assemble and allowing the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances?!?

I don’t see this kind of shit in Montgomery County or Prince George’s County. I don’t see this in Baltimore City or Howard County or Annapolis or Crofton. But I go to Glen Burnie and I see this shit and it makes my blood boil. This comes on the heels of seeing Donald Trump Make America Great Again signs on a few front lawns and that barber shop with a Confederate flag and that former Baltimore City police officer’s ill-fated attempt to do a benefit concert in Glen Burnie as Al Jolson in blackface. I wouldn’t be surprised if that asshole “I Don’t Brake for Protesters” pickup truck driver was among those people who were protesting NPR tweeting texts from the Declaration of Independence on July 4.

That truck provided yet another reason why I am pretty grateful that I no longer have to live in Glen Burnie if I don’t want to.

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This month I’ve been dealing with tighter than usual finances because of the fallout from having to pay over $400 in car repairs. I needed an oil change, which isn’t bad. But then one of my tires shredded and it turned out that the shredded tire couldn’t be fixed because it had grown bald. Worse, the mechanic noticed one of the other tires had gone bald and was on the verge of completely blowing out as well. So I ended up with two new tires. Yesterday I had to call the electric company in order to avoid being disconnected.

Then I learned this week that my mother had gone back to the hospital with a urinary tract infection and sepsis. Really bad stuff. She’s currently at the hospital in Glen Burnie that used to be known as North Arundel Hospital (and it’s still called “North Arundel” by many locals) but it’s now known as the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. I visited her yesterday and the day before. The first day she was out of it but by yesterday she seemed better. I met the case worker who was assigned to her and she told the two of us that the hospital would make arrangements to release her either this weekend or sometime early next week. She also told us that if my mother disagreed with the hospital’s decision to release her, there are certain avenues she can use to appeal the decision and stay in the hospital longer. I doubt that she’ll want to stay in the hospital any longer than necessary.

As for visiting my mother in Glen Burnie, I tried to make the best of a bad situation. In fact, I purchased another Ty Peek-A-Boos for my mom’s smartphone. This one is a dog named Zelda.

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My mother liked Zelda but she asked me to take it home with me because she feared that Zelda would get stolen by a hospital employee. I’ll give it to her once she returns to her home.

My mother is currently on the sixth floor of the hospital. Here is a photo of a window view that I took from one of the waiting areas on that floor.

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After visiting my mom on the first day I decided to get a milkshake from Ann’s Dari-Creme. Here are a few photos of the place that I took on a previous visit last year.

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On the second day of visiting my mom in the hospital, I decided to eat lunch at Crabtowne USA before the visit. That place has a value meal menu that’s only available on Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. where you pick one main meal, one side, and one can of soda for $8. I got the crab cake sandwich with onion rings and a Diet Coke. After lunch I played some of the vintage video games and pinball machines for a while then headed over to the hospital. Here are some photos of Crabtowne USA and its vintage arcade room that I took on previous visits to that place.

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After that second visit yesterday I felt like I was in the mood for some ice cream. Last summer I took a driving tour through Southern Maryland where I discovered Bruster’s Ice Cream. There’s a location in Glen Burnie so I decided to go there.

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After I took the above photo with my smartphone I got a notice from Google Maps indicating that it was interested in using that photo as a location photo. So I clicked the “OK” button and it’s now on that site. I took one other photo of the place as well.

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I ordered the small double chocolate cone, which I found very delicious.

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Across the street from Bruster’s Ice Cream is a building that used to be known as the Harundale Cinema. My parents used to take me there to see movies on a regular basis as a child. I remember that theater had one screen and it used to be colored blue because of the blue lights that were projected on it when no movie or preview trailers were being projected on it. At first it was the only movie theater in town but then the multiplexes started to open and the Harundale Cinema started to lose business because it could show only one movie at a time. The owners eventually decided to split that theater in half so they could show two movies at a time. It bought the Harundale Cinema some time but its two screens just couldn’t compete with other theaters that had four or more screens and it ultimately went out of business. The building was eventually remodeled and today it is occupied by the Arundel Christian Church.

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The one thing I miss most about the old Harundale Cinema is that before the showing of each preview trailer or feature film it would show this short intro reel that had a very techno jazzy soundtrack and the logo for the General Cinema Corporation (which Harundale Cinema was a part of).

Today I won’t be able to visit my mother because I’m going to a funeral for a woman who had long been a fixture in the neighborhood and she was especially active in the local arts scene (which was how I knew her). She was a very active senior citizen and I even saw her just a few weeks before her death at the Greek Festival back in May. She seemed fine and healthy then. I heard it was one of those things where she was pretty lively and healthy until she suddenly suffered a heart attack or stroke and it killed her. I still remember when my mother-in-law died in a sudden similar fashion six years ago. At least the funeral is closer to my home so I won’t have as long of a commute.

I know I don’t always write fondly about how I grew up in Glen Burnie, Maryland. For years I only went back to that town to visit my parents. But then my father died and my mother’s MS overwhelmed her so much physically that she couldn’t live in my old childhood home so she moved in with other family members in Odenton so my visits there basically stopped. Last summer I discovered that Crabtowne USA had a collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines from the late 1970’s-circa 1995. Stepping in that particular room was literally like a step back to my teen years when I used to spend plenty of quarters at the arcade. (At that time, nearly every mall and most of the larger shopping centers had a video arcade.)

Lately I’ve been feeling a desire to make a return to Crabtowne USA for the first time in 2015. (I would’ve gone earlier in the year except there were frequently snowstorms and ice storms and generally nasty cold weather.) The day before Memorial Day fell on a Sunday and I was going to go to worship service at my Unitarian Universalist congregation then help teach the local immigrants how to speak English through my congregation’s social action program to help the local immigrant community. That day was the last day of the spring class so I wanted to be there for that occasion. (That class was originally supposed to end earlier than Memorial Day Weekend but we had to cancel two classes in January because there were ice storms that happened two Sundays in a row.)

Usually I bring a bag lunch with me to eat between the end of the Coffee Hour (the socialization time that immediately follows the end of the worship service) and the beginning of the English class because it’s cheaper than eating at one of the nearby restaurants and fast food places. (These days even many of the fast food places charge at least $10 for a full meal.) Normally I would try to find available space in one of the buildings where Sunday school is held to eat lunch (which is easier said than done some weeks because there is always people using the classrooms for things like a book discussion group or a spirituality circle and there are times when I have to go back to the main building where Sunday service was held so I could sit down and eat my lunch). That last Sunday of class the weather was really lovely. It was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. I decided to go down into the glen to eat my lunch for a change. There were a couple of other people who were also hanging out there so I managed to talk to them. Here’s a photo I took of the glen.

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About half the students showed up (because it was a holiday weekend) but the session went pretty well. When class finally ended at 3:30 p.m., I was ready to go on a trip to Glen Burnie. Not only did I decide to check out Crabtowne USA but there were a few other things I wanted to check out mainly because they were mentioned on Roadside America.

First I want to mention a few things about Glen Burnie. That town is the kind of town that other people tend to sneer mainly because it’s historically a working class town. The two parallel main roads through that town (Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway) are loaded with car dealerships, shopping malls, and shopping centers. If a developer decides to plop yet another shopping center in a previous open wooded area, you won’t get any protests from the locals or any petition drives calling for slow growth because the people there tend to be a bit apathetic compared to—let’s say—Takoma Park.

There is one area in the town’s northeastern part that’s upscale compared to the rest of Glen Burnie. This area is located along Marley Creek and there are all kinds of nice looking bungalows that look quite cozy. If you have enough money, you could even buy a house whose backyard faces Marley Creek so each day you’ll get picturesque views like this next photograph.

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Unfortunately for me I was among the majority of Glen Burnians who lived in a neighborhood that wasn’t located anywhere near a major body of water. (Most of Glen Burnie is like that, with the exception of that one neighborhood.)

This house I wanted to check out wasn’t among the ones that were directly on the banks of Marley Creek (although the creek is located just a few feet away) but it stands out in other ways that led to it being mentioned on Roadside America. When you first arrive at the house, it looks like a normal cozy neighborhood home until you get a look at the front yard.

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Everywhere you look there are mirrored sculptures. When you look on the ground, you see circle reflections similar to what you’d see in a dark nightclub with a disco ball dangling in the middle of the dance floor. (I tried to photograph the effect but, sadly, it didn’t show up on my camera.)

Since all this mirror looking glass sculptural goodness was on someone’s private property, I initially started taking a few photos with the telephoto function “on.” A next door neighbor saw what I was doing and he told me that it’s okay if I enter the person’s yard and take pictures because the owner doesn’t mind. I saw that the front gate was open so I took the neighbor’s advice and let myself in. The homeowner didn’t emerge. (In fact, I don’t even know if the person was even home at the time.) I quickly saw what the neighbor meant when he encouraged me to let myself in the front yard. The yard is an eclectic mix of mirrors, embedded colored lights in the bushes, and some gorgeous landscaping. Everywhere I went was a total burst of reflection and color.

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It’s definitely worth the trip if you’re ever in Glen Burnie. The neighbor was right about his advice—you need to actually be in the yard in order to get a full sense of what this yard is like. My only advice would be to enter the yard only if the front gate is open because it is still private property. (For the address and directions, visit the Roadside America site.)

After that first visit, I continued on to another place that’s also mentioned on the Roadside America site. It’s known as the Tiny Church for Geese and, like the mirror yard, this one is also located on private property. It’s literally one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of attractions.

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It’s mostly hidden behind a hedge. Since this one is on private property and there were no indications that it’s opened to the general public, I basically used the telephoto feature on my smartphone.

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It looks like the church is in the middle of this island with a moat surrounding it. There is a covered bridge leading to and from the island although if you were a goose or some other bird, you would probably just use your wings instead.

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While I wasn’t able to get a closer look at the structures, the church looked like it would come up to my waist while the covered bridge is a bit shorter.

The only warning I would give about this place is that it’s located on a street that has a very narrow shoulder that barely fits a regular sized four-door passenger car. Also, Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard tends to be traffic-heavy at times so be careful when exiting out the driver’s side of the car. For the address and directions, visit the Roadside America site.

I went on to Crabtowne USA.

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I noticed that the outside of the building has been painted in a different color since my last visit last year. (It used to have a white exterior but it’s now light gray.)

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And there are also a few new promotional posters in the windows.

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There was also a crab statue at the front of the building that I hadn’t seen before.

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I sat at the front counter while taking a close look at the interiors.

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At one point I had to use the bathroom that was near the counter. I was impressed with the bathroom’s decor.

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I especially liked the fact that someone took an old wooden door and reused it as a countertop. Great example of recycling in action.

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I ordered a soft shell crab sandwich and a side order of french fries for dinner. It was very delicious!

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After dinner I made my way over to the arcade. It was still the same as before.

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After I played for a while, I was running low on quarters so I decided to treat myself to dessert. I headed over to Ann’s Dari-Creme, which has been a Glen Burnie institution for decades. The family-owned restaurant specializes in just two things: foot-long hot dogs and ice cream.

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The interior of the place is very small. While there are a few stools where customers can eat, they can frequently get crowded by people waiting for their orders behind them. This is why I have never eaten inside and I only consider eating there if the weather is nice.

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I ordered a chocolate milk shake and it is just as good as my previous trips there.

I finished my trip to Glen Burnie with one final visit to a place that’s also mentioned on Roadside America. This place is located near the neighborhood where I grew up in but this building wasn’t built until long after I left Glen Burnie for good. It’s a dental office with a twist.

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There’s a giant sculpture on the rooftop.

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Roadside America calls it the Giant Rotted Molar Sculpture but, to me, it looks more like a volcano with flowing lava. I can remember when this building first opened it also included an ice cream parlor called Dino-Bites (or something like it) so I assumed that it was a volcano since many dinosaurs were buried under lava thousands of years ago. Even back then there was a dentist office, which I thought was an odd pairing. (Mainly getting some ice cream followed by getting your teeth cleaned and examined.) I’ve driven past this building numerous times over the years and I finally got around to taking a picture of it.

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That’s it for my trip to Glen Burnie! I have to say that even though I enjoyed driving around and checking out the sights, I have zero inclination to move back there. But I will probably continue to visit from time to time as long as Crabtowne USA still has those vintage video arcade games and pinball machines. (LOL!)

http://www.nablopomo.com

UPDATE (December 23, 2015): Here’s some potentially devastating news regarding the church and bridge that were built big enough for geese.

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