Joe's Place - Where Time Stands Still
Another of our great finds in the Leonardtown area is the Fenwick Street Used Books & Music Emporium and proprietor Joe Orlando, who just might be Tony Orlando's brother but he isn't. You see the funky, eclectic, jam packed store with books, records, movies and who knows what else might be under the stacks piled all over the place, is a mere reflection of the eccentric owner.
To get there you find your way to the old Leonardtown town square, turn left at the Cafe des Artistes, a wonderful French Cafe, and turn right where the carts of books are out front blocking the sidewalk with the super specials of the day. At this point you have no idea if you have entered the bohemian Left Bank of Paris or just followed the white rabbit down the hole to Alice's Wonderland.
Joe the Used Book Proprietor
Searching through the stacks of books and things is a great way to spend the day in Leonardtown because there isn't a whole lot else to do most days. Somewhere in there you can find all the classics, even first editions, if you are patient or ask Joe for help. He knows where everything is in that most unusual store. If he doesn't have it this computer savvy bohemian can find it on the Internet as he scours the private libraries and collections from around the world.
Joe the Reverend
Then again he should be able to help you because he is also an ordained or certified Reverend who can even design custom weddings for you. Now that is a class act. You can get a great deal on some old book and get married while you are there although most of his weddings are performed in much more intriguing locations like in boats, on islands, in the water or whatever you want.
Joe the Choreographer
Still that is not all in terms of service diversity that Joe has to offer for he is also a world class dance choreographer who has staged shows throughout the nation and taught at the most prestigious dance schools in the country. So now you can buy an old book, get married and have a dance choreographed for your bridesmaids and grooms men, maybe even the entire wedding party and family.
Joe the Jazz Guitarist
You think that is all? This throwback to Shakespearean days does it all for he can also provide the music with his jazz guitar playing and he can bring along the gang he jams with whenever he isn't selling books, choreographing the wedding and doing the marrying.
Joe the Community Organizer
Now if Obama knew what he was doing he would have been using Joe as an example of someone who unselfishly devotes many hours to helping his community of Leonardtown get out of the dark ages with promotional events nearly every week that bring live entertainment to stores and the town square. I get so many notices of events I am convinced his restless mind has designed an event for every conceivable possibility from the 4th of July to his mother-in-law's birthday and she isn't even from Maryland.
Joe the Husband
If you think he is cool you should meet his wife Joanna, the Spanish teacher in our local college. Put them together and you have an exhibit for the Smithsonian of the more sophisticated bohemian couple of the "70's, hippy couple from the '60's, or beatnik of the "50's, but computer literate, educated, artistic, savvy and deboner. Not what you might expect to find in the shadows of our nation's capitol where time stopped long ago and most residents are probably in the witness protection program. Down in Southern Maryland, St. Mary's County we measure history in four centuries.
Joe and Joanna got here the long way making the circuit from the Big Apple to the rain forest of South America, from dancing in the likes of Carnegie Hall to the wide open prairies of Texas. I could go on and on but I think you have enough talking points to strike up a conversation with Joe next time you are in Leonardtown.
Fenwick Used Books is the top St. Mary's County archeological site and you can really dig it so bring a shovel and time to converse because behind the stacks is Joe who can quote Plato, dance like Fred Astaire, preach like Billy Graham and still have time to help his community. A Proprietor, Preacher, Philosopher, Poet, Picker, and Prophet, Joe's book store is a must see stop on your journey back through time.