The first Thursday in December is one of my favourite days of the year. It is a day full of warm memories, good friends and the launch of the holiday season. It is the day that Baltimore has the Annual Monument Lighting.
Baltimore's Washington Monument is actually older than the one just 40 miles down the road in Washington, DC. It's in the center of downtown and at the intersection of four parks that look like they could be in a city in Europe.
My friend Jack, who was the manager at the Brass Elephant, one of Baltimore's best restaurants, and I used to serve hot chocolate to the crowds at the Lighting for several years. Now, all of the businesses around the Squares have parties that evening, so you can go from one to another for drinks.
Another year, I had just gotten back from NYC and had a great new pair of diamond earrings. I entertained friends Peter & Michael with a slightly boozy rendition of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend". They were shocked that I knew all of the words. As we walked back home, the snow began to fall and it was the perfect end to another fun evening and the beginning of a season of endless parties!
One very cold and snowy year I took a friend from Cape Town, who'd never seen as much snow as we had... Some years, it's been quite warm though! Tomorrow should be cold and we just had a couple of inches of snow today.
Everyone counts down and then all of the lights are lit. But then the fun comes: They shoot fireworks from the top of the monument and the huge iron urns around the bottom of it! It only lasts about 10 minutes, but it's the prefect launch of the season. The Monument Lighting is one of those events that reminds me that this is really a big small town.
This year's Lighting should be just as fun and memorable. I am meeting up with Kitchenography for a glass or two of wine, and then we're going to hang some pictures!