Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scene This Week In...

In the days before my daughter attended kindergarten, she spent the days with a daycare provider in Sewell’s Orchard off Oakland Mills Road. During the warmer months I would frequently take her to Pete’s snowball stand on Old Montgomery Road on the way home. She loved visiting “Mr. Pete” and his wife Angela.

Pete Barlas is a 78 year old Greek immigrant who came to this country in the 60’s. His snowball stand and fruit and vegetable stand are a neighborhood fixture. Much of the produce he sells is grown right there.

This past Saturday, as we were running errands, I asked my now 10 year old kid if she’d like to go see Mr. Pete and have a snowball. She thought this was a great idea.

No sooner than we had gotten out of the car Pete came to greet us. When we got to the stand I noticed that Pete had installed some rebar in front of the service window giving it the look of a jail.

“Things gotten a little rough around here?” I asked.

“You didn’t hear?” he replied.

Last September 9th, in the middle of the day, three Hispanic men accosted Pete in his stand. One of the men pistol whipped Pete. They tied him up as he lay on the floor. After stealing the cash out of the stand they accosted his wife and held her hostage while they ransacked his home behind the stand.

Despite this $1,000.00 reward offered by the Howard County Police, no one has ever been arrested in connection with the case.

Pete told me that this episode had changed him. “I think maybe I sell the place and go back to Greece now.”

He did say that the outpouring of concern from his neighbors and customers has been overwhelming and that is what keeps him going.

I hope Pete stays. I also hope that they catch whoever did this awful thing to such a great couple.
Pete and his snowball stand are this weeks Scene in Columbia.
The rock sculptures in the Patapsco River just outside downtown Ellicott City are this weeks Scene This Week in Ellicott City. Much has already been written about this summer “art happening” here and here. I even wrote a post last about it last week.

Still, I can’t get enough of this. I love the spontaneity and lack of permanence of the thing. Everyday you might find something different. I took these pictures late Saturday afternoon.

Kudos to Ellicott City resident Teddy Betts for getting this art thing started.