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In response to requests by the St. Mary’s County commissioners for submissions of a poem for St. Mary’s County, I am sending an excerpt from a poem, author unknown, from an account of old St. Mary’s County by Maria Briscoe Croaker, in honor of her father. The book is titled “Tales and Traditions of Old St. Mary’s” and gives a wealth of information about the good old days and the people in the county who made her what she is today.

This is not a submission for the contest but a reflective voice on how many feel in St. Mary’s. Here is an excerpt from the poem “In Old St. Mary’s”:

“Old, fragrant memories cling to ancient things,

Quaint houses with their lovely furnishing

That speak of those that lived and passed away ...

When this mad world moved on with a gentler pace

Through days of romance and courtly grace

In dreams I see them, smiling as they go

Through rooms illuminated by soft candle glow”

As most of us know, life is a trade-off; sometimes we have to give up something we love in order get what we need. As much as St. Mary’s has come so far, especially these last 20 years, there is a certain amount of sadness and grieving that accompanies this radical change from the small agricultural community that once dominated the entire county to the rush hour and implantation of shopping centers, housing developments, new highways, etc.

In some ways, I feel old St. Mary’s is like the chief in “Dancing with Wolves,” when Kevin Costner tries to warn him of their impending doom by the cavalry that are fast approaching. It is the answer that Costner gives him, when the chief asks, “How many will be coming?”

And Costner replies, ”As many as the stars in the sky” and you can see the horror in the chief’s eyes, knowing that all their land, their culture will be swept away forever and the life that he has known will be but a memory, as dust in the wind. So in our move forward, let us not forget old St. Mary’s and the beauty and wonder of those simpler times.

Sharon W. Doughty, Hollywood