One of the practices of local journalism that can be both fun and frustrating is the time-honored tradition of trying to find a local angle for a more national (or even international) story. Sometimes the results are downright hilarious.
I hope you’ll indulge me today in an attempt to do something of the same.*
Columbia residents dish up differing opinions on upcoming POTUS visit
On the last day of early voting in Howard County, Columbia residents were discussing the big local race: hand-scooped or soft-serve?
President Biden’s upcoming visit to Columbia, Maryland has local ice cream aficionados in a tizzy. POTUS’ known devotion to the frozen dairy confection has kicked off speculation that a visit to one of the area’s ice cream parlors is a sure thing.
“All that traveling around and giving all those speeches would make anyone crave ice cream,” said Columbia resident Alice Michaels. She predicts that Biden will pick up a cone from one of Columbia’s newer ice cream spots, the Charmery. Michaels reasoned that its location makes it convenient to most Downtown venues and it’s not a national chain,which would add to its Columbia credibility.
Bill Dobbs, born and raised in what he calls “The New American City”, is rooting for soft-serve. “You always see the President with soft-serve,” he noted. “But there’s hardly any decent Mom and Pop frozen custard stands anymore. When I was growing up you could find great soft-serve in Columbia’s village centers. Now it’s all this frozen yogurt with mix-ins.”
His wife Sarah concurred, although she reminded him that the Meadows in Hickory Ridge was pretty good “for a chain.” Dobbs allowed as how that was so, but countered, “They’re not open on Mondays,” the day of Biden’s upcoming visit.
Mother and daughter Anna and Elizabeth Kim had a different take. From Mrs. Kim, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t tell you. We’re both lactose intolerant. But we love the Italian Ice at Rita’s. The one in Harper’s Choice is open all year.” Daughter Elizabeth, aged seven, nodded her head enthusiastically. “He should try it,” she said. “Trying new foods is a brave thing.”
Friends and first-time voters Bess Green and Howard Compton made a case for frozen yogurt. “I don’t think he (POTUS) would be afraid to try something new or different,” suggested Ms. Green, who works at a local FroYo emporium. “He just seems like that kind of guy: open-minded, you know?” Compton agreed. “I mean - - it’s a real Columbia thing, getting froyo with your friends. He could treat the whole Secret Service team. It would be epic!”
Not everyone at the polls wanted to talk about the ice cream issue. Some found the question to be disrespectful of the importance of the President’s visit. John Russo, President of his neighborhood HOA, dismissed the topic as “irrelevant and silly.” One woman suggested that this reporter’s presence at the local polling site was “probably in violation of electioneering laws.”
President Biden will visit Columbia on the eve of Tuesday’s midterm elections. If he does enjoy some of his favorite treat while he’s in town, it’s sure to give that establishment some Executive bragging rights for some time to come.
What do you think? If Mr. Biden treats himself to a sweet and cold reward on Monday, where in Columbia will he get it, and why? Are you Team Hand-Scooped, Team Soft-Serve, or Team Froyo? Make sure to include the local angle in your answer.
*This is a work of fiction. Names, situations, and quotes are products of the author’s imagination.
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