Old Man Winter this year reminds me of Peter Falk’s rumpled homicide detective “Columbo.” You remember him, right? He would casually pester a murder suspect, who views the seemingly absent-minded, clueless investigator with amusement or contempt. After a fumbling, disorganized interview, Columbo would start to take his leave—only to turn around on his way out the door and say something like, “Oh, there’s just one more thing I forgot to ask. . . .”
Then he’d drop an insightful and incriminating bombshell question.
Yeah, so Old Man Winter has pulled a few Columbos this season. Hand on the doorknob, one foot out the door, and then—”Just one more thing.”
The “thing” is always another dump of snow, ice, or other miscellaneous bad weather.
With that in mind, I hope your travels to the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo are safe and smooth! Old Man Winter lobbed one more snowball at us. My midafternoon flight from Atlanta was canceled, so instead of arriving in time for a late dinner Wednesday evening, I got to the Inner Harbor well after midnight.
(I’m not complaining; at least I was able to get a new flight.)
On my way up to the terminal to catch the evening’s final Southwest flight into Baltimore, I was happily surprised to see that Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport now features the art of Jack Davis. If you’re a fan of MAD Magazine, you’ll instantly recognize his unique style. One of the founding members of MAD’s famous “Usual Gang of Idiots,” Davis was born in Atlanta and had a lifelong connection to the city and the state of Georgia. UGA fans know his rollicking depictions of Uga, the Georgia Bulldog. (Go Dawgs!) I’m a Damn Yankee myself, so growing up I didn’t know the Georgia connection, but I idolized Jack Davis as one of my favorite artists in my favorite humor/satire magazine. To quote two longtime MAD editors, from the magazine’s blog: “There wasn’t anything Jack couldn’t do. Front covers, caricatures, sports scenes, monsters—his comedic range was just incredible. His ability to put energy and motion into his drawings, his use of cross-hatching and brushwork, and his bold use of color made him truly one of the greats” (editor John Ficarra); and “More than any one piece, it was Jack’s immediately recognizable style that revolutionized comic illustration. There is not a humorous illustrator in the past 50 years who hasn’t been influenced by him” (art director Sam Viviano). Davis passed away a couple years ago, in July 2016, but he’ll always be remembered for his wonderful, eye-catching artwork—including, now, public-service announcements scattered throughout his hometown airport.
My flight was uneventful, I got to my hotel safely, and now I look forward to a fun Baltimore Expo this week. We have a lot of surprises in store for visitors. There will be giveaways and deals at the Whitman Publishing booth. The exciting new 72nd-edition Red Book will make its debut. And all week we’ll be honoring longtime Red Book editor—and recently semi-retired editor emeritus—Kenneth Bressett.
If you see me on the bourse, stop and say hello. I’m glad you successfully dodged (or ignored) Old Man Winter’s last snowball.
And, oh yeah, before I go for now—one last thing. How will you feel if you miss this Baltimore Expo? Think of all the awesome coins, medals, tokens, and bank notes the other guys and gals will be scooping up . . . all the buying, selling, and trading you’ll miss out on . . . all the fun gatherings, lunches, dinners, catching up with friends, meeting some of your favorite Whitman authors, finding coins you’ve been searching for, building your collection, learning, sharing, laughing, and general merriment. You don’t want to miss all that, do you?