Sunday, May 12, 2013

goodbye, wordbones (1955-2012)

Dennis Lane's last post on Tales of Two Cities, a blog about Howard County.

Until Friday, I didn't know who Dennis Lane was. For at least 6 years, I knew him only as Wordbones, the author of Tales of Two Cities, a blog he wrote about Ellicott City and Columbia.

I knew Wordbones grew up in Columbia and became a fixture not just among Howard County's robust blogging community, but offline as well. I knew he co-hosted a regular podcast in the middle of Columbia Mall, had a long career in commercial real estate, and lately was grumbling about his new office. I knew he was a fan of Busboys and Poets and growlers.

I got the feeling that, were Wordbones and I ever to meet, we'd have a lot to talk about. I knew he truly loved Howard County and was excited about the potential of his community, even as some people fought to keep things the same. In his latest, and sadly last column for the Business Monthly, Lane wrote about how he grew up admiring Columbia founder Jim Rouse, but acknowledged that Rouse's creation wasn't perfect and needed to grow and change. He had strong opinions, but was always polite and respectful to those he disagreed with.

The danger of blogging is that it can create a false sense of intimacy with someone you've never met and may not really know. Nonetheless, I'm still shocked from hearing that Dennis Lane was murdered this weekend for reasons still unknown. It's a tragic loss for his family and for the community he loved and served for so long.

Tales of Two Cities wasn't simply a great resource about what's happening in Howard County, especially for someone like me who didn't live there. Dennis Lane was a model for anyone, behind the keyboard or in front of it, who ever wanted to make their corner of the world a better place. And as the HowChow blog puts it, he was a wonderful guy. Just look at all of the comments on his last post.

I'm just sorry I never had the pleasure of finding out myself. You will be missed, Dennis - not just in Howard County, but down here in MoCo as well.

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