Charles E. Smith and Laurie Hailey at Lovettsville’s Bonnie’s Country Kitchen
Bonnie’s Country Kitchen is a bustling gathering of friends and neighbors on a Saturday morning, catching up on the week’s gossip, family news, and chowing down on some fresh eggs and bacon, or pancakes, and as much coffee as it takes to get going.
This past Saturday, Bonnie’s was hopping, on this unseasonably warm and comfortable January Day, the tables full, persons leaning into the food on their plates and so they could hear their table mates, sitting back every once in awhile to say hello to a friend or neighbor coming through the front door, heads craning to catch a glimpse who that was.
There was a lot of animal hunting camouflage, an array of woods’ designer clothes, some winter beards to ward off the frigid air, ordinarily the rule this time of the year, and some hungry and tired families from warming themselves against the colder air hours earlier when they were out in the fields hunting. There was not a lot of talk about what they snared.
“I cleaned off the camouflage I put on my face earlier,” Charles “Charlie” Smith said, matter of factly, “as he took another gulp of Bonnie’s finest java.
“See ya Billy,” half rising to great a friend, Charlie explained, “I was supposed to go turkey hunting with my grandson, Jackson Rippeon, he’s 17, but he was behind in his school assignments, so we’re going quail hunting together on Sunday instead.”
“Get any turkey?,” Charlie was asked. “Not today,” said Charlie.
Charlie himself was born in Brunswick, went to Brunswick public schools, Frederick Community College, and the University of Baltimore, graduating with a BS in 1973.
“My Dad, his name was Joseph, was told by his stepfather that the men in ‘this family’ don’t graduate from High School,” Charlie said, “but my Dad wanted both his children to graduate college. My older Sister, Jo Anne, she was an A student. I was more athletic. I was good at baseball and soccer. But we both did graduate. That was one of the things he wanted for his children.”
“See ya buddy,” Charlie said to another passerby, like a seasoned politician, which he is, or Charlie might say, he was.
“In politics, you have two masters,” Charlie said, “there’s the elected position, and perhaps you shouldn’t be paid much to serve, and there’s your job or business, and the balance is not an easy one to hold.” Continue reading