Annapolis is known for its funky chicken sculptures, but they're so Main Street.
Go off-road and you'll find, for one thing, one smiling, waving statue of Ronald Reagan. While not the most statesmanlike locale, Ronnie overlooks a crunched parking lot off Cathedral Street. Here he stands, the Great Communicator, his right hand extended, that smile, that John Wayne vibe.
I thought he was taller.
Still, here he stands, under an awning, protected from the sun, outside the nondescript backdoor of Maryland's nondescript GOP headquarters. In Maryland, it's hard standing out as a Republican statue. The office had been on West Street, then moved across Cathedral Street, and now it's at Cathedral and Franklin streets.
"Every time we move, he moves with us," says Marcia Jicka, office manager at the GOP headquarters. "He's just part of the family."
She calls him Ronnie. They've been together for about four years. He used to scare the life out of her when he was stationed in the front window when they were on West Street. It's just a statue, she'd tell herself when coming to work.
The life-sized statue -- with decorative pedestal -- was a gift from former Maryland GOP chairman and state senator Alex Mooney, who just won a congressional primary in West Virginia. Probably would have been a hard thing to pack.
Ronnie belongs to Annapolis, where he has become a bit of a tourist attraction.
Folks stop by to have their pictures taken with him. But like other works of public art, Ronnie has been the target of hijinks. They had to chain him by his foot to the back porch so people -- "probably kids," Jicka guesses -- don't tip him like a cow (apparently, there was a Ronnie-tipping incident). Someone put a cigarette in his mouth. On a more festive and healthy note, Ronnie has been sporting beads from the St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Ronnie is also a beacon for people trying to find the place.
"We tell folks to look for Ronnie in the parking lot," Jicka says.
This global bust and statuary collection in Ronald Reagan's honor is extensive. As we speak, Amazon is offering a six-inch bust of Ronnie for about $24 -- "The Perfect Father's Day Gift." The full-body likeness of our 40th president (tied for eighth-tallest president at a smidge over 6'1) can be seen from Warsaw to London to the United States Capitol Rotunda to, of all places, Louisiana. At a roadside attraction there in Covington, visitors can gaze up at a 10-foot bronze statue of Reagan -- "The World's Largest Ronald Reagan Statue!"
I'm not sure where life ultimately takes us, but I'm guessing life won't lead me to Covington, Louisiana.
But we have our own Ronnie statue right here. He might not be the world's largest, but he's ours.
Now if only he can stay put.