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In and Around Morningside-Skyline 
By Mary McHale 301-735-3451

Mr. Phil’s Hair Force turns 50—with great reviews!

Phil Casamento established Mr. Phil’s Hair Force in September 1972, 50 years ago this month.  He had several salons, but the only one I know is at 6109 Old Alexandria Ferry Road in Clinton, right there at Andrews’ west gate.

After Phil died in 2005, his wife Jeanne took over and the shop became just Hair Force.  Their daughter Tara is now in charge.

Currently there are 12 operators.  Theresa and Sheri have been there longest—more than 20 years.  Early on, I had Diane (a Morningsider who used to give me Morningside news) but she moved and only returns from her home in Virginia one day a week.  Tina, who’s been there 17 years, became my operator.  Last week, she not only gave me the usual great haircut, but she encouraged me to write this story about Hair Force’s 50 years.

Online I found dozens of enthusiastic reviews.  For example, Niki P. wrote, “This is a hidden gem... A diamond in the rough! I have been searching for years for a great stylist and good salon, after moving numerous times due to being a military family... I am excited that I finally found an amazing place and an amazing stylist!”

Kendra A. wrote, “This the perfect place for anyone who wants expertise with a welcoming atmosphere....  I've referred multiple male/female friends from base to go there and they all have positive experiences regardless of who they go to. The great thing about Hair Force is you get a comfortable and welcoming family feel without an expensive price.” Reviewers also praised Sarah and Suki, and other operators.

The shop offers men’s haircuts, beards and mustaches, kids’ haircuts, bridal services, waxing, coloring, manicures, and more.  For information or an appointment, call 301-868-2622.

Happy 50th birthday, Hair Force!


Covid-19 cancels Booth Escape Route Tours for this Fall

The home of the ill-fated Mary Surratt has long been a tourist attraction, especially among those who study the assassination of President Lincoln.  For many years the Surratt Society has run a 12-hour (or so) bus tour that follows the path John Wilkes Booth took when he escaped through Southern Maryland into Virginia.

Louise Oertly, Surratt Society President, writes, “Out of an abundance of caution, the Surratt Society has decided not to schedule Booth Escape Tours for this Fall.  It is our hope... to be able to resume our popular tours in the Spring.”

Meanwhile, the House is closed Sundays through Wednesday.  Visiting hours are:  Thursday & Friday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for pre-arranged tours; Saturday, 11 a.m.–3p.m. for walk-ins.  There’s also a charming gift/book shop.  The House is closed Sunday through Wednesday.  Adults, $5; seniors, $4; students (5–18), $2; age 4 & under, free.

The Surratt House is at 9118 Brandywine Road, in Clinton.  Contact: or 301-868-1121.


Bob Cook dies, lived in an historic tavern

Robert William “Bob” Cook, who lived in the Bryantown Tavern, died July 26.  Here is the story:

On April 15, 1865, the morning after President Lincoln’s assassination, Lt. David D. Dana made the Tavern his headquarters while pursuing John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, with a detachment of the 13th New York Cavalry.   Col. Henry H. Wells, in overall command of the pursuing forces, soon occupied the tavern, and it later served briefly as the headquarters of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, who arrived on April 27.

Bob has always welcomed curious visitors to his home.  I remember visiting him there with my parents, Dr. Richard and Rose Mudd.

As for Bob, a native of New York City, he had a 40-year career as Intelligence Officer for the CIA, and before that was an actor at the American Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Conn.  He had a great love of literature, history, anthropology, philosophy, American filmmaking, and popular culture, and generously volunteered with historical and cultural societies.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Suzanne, son Matthew, grand- and great-grandchildren.  He asked that well-wishers make donations to the Surratt Society.


Places to go and Things to do

Have you ever wanted to enter Darnall’s Chance House Museum’s annual Gingerbread House Contest & Show, but weren’t sure how to make a gingerbread house?  Well, the Museum is sponsoring a workshop to help you learn basic gingerbread recipes and techniques.  Get helpful hints from gingerbread veteran Anita Guit, past multi-year winner.  For ages 8 & up.  Reservations and payment required.  Saturday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m.  $5 per person.  Contact: 301-952-8010 or  Capacity is limited, so call now!

The 3rd Annual Purple Bicycle Ride for domestic violence awareness & prevention is coming up Saturday, Oct. 1, 8 a.m.–12 p.m. at Fairwood Park, 12390 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie.  There are 3 tours (5, 10, 25 miles), food & fun; register at  

This year marks the Centennial Anniversary of the Robert Crain Highway Monument, erected in Upper Marlboro in September 1922.  You are invited to attend the celebration and re-creation of an original photograph on Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. at the monument, Main Street at Old Crain Highway, in Upper Marlboro.  Dignitaries from Baltimore City and the five original counties will participate.  For more information, visit or call the town offices, 301-627-6905.


Changing landscape

Gov. Larry Hogan has proclaimed September the annual International Underground Railroad Month in Maryland.   The State of Maryland has already named 2022 the Year of Harriet Tubman, to celebrate the 200th year of her birth.

St. Philip’s School, Camp Springs, held its First Responders’ Appreciation Day on September 12 with police cars and motorcycles, fire trucks and ambulances.  The students were excited to participate.

The Girl Scouts have introduced a new cookie, the Raspberry Rally.  Did you know the Girl Scouts have two bakeries, Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers?  The review in The Washington Post says the Raspberry Rally from Little Brownie Bakers is far superior.   Anyway, nothing will take the place of Samoas.

NY Chicken & Grill has opened at 9021 Woodyard Road.

C-Crab, Cajun Seafood is coming soon to Andrews Manor Sopping Center.

Tropix Laundromat is also coming to Andrews Manor.

A home at 6001 Goodfellow Dr., in Skyline, just sold for $210,000.


Happy birthday to Alice Lucke and former Skyline agitator Judy Hansel Waby, Sept. 27; Marshall Carson and Tim Ward, Sept. 28; my brother Tom Mudd and former Morningside Town Clerk Janice Diggs, Sept. 29; Peggy Nanney and Jessica (Williams) Proctor, Sept. 30.

Happy 59th anniversary to André and Cynthia Jordan on September 28.

Email birthdays and anniversaries to

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By Audrey Johnson 301-922-5384


Laity Moment: We have been through a lot within the last couple of years. We have contended with the pandemic. We have endured our own personal battles and issues. Through it all we have trusted God and kept the faith, and He has brought us through. As part of the Visitation Ministry, I have had the opportunity to visit and serve our seniors as well as those that are sick and shut in during this period. It has been such a rewarding experience just to talk with and listen to them as they share personal stories. We must remember the scripture Matthew 25:36, “I was naked, and You clothed me, I was sick, and You visited me. I was in prison, and You came to me.” In 2015, while working on a project for my CLM training, I was tasked with creating a new ministry. After praying to God for clarity and wisdom, I prepared and created the Nursing Home Ministry.

I approached Pastor Coni for approval before submitting my concept. Not only did she approve it, she advised that the Ministry would begin immediately. The first opportunity began on the 3rd Sunday in December at Restore Health Rehabilitation Facility. The men from both churches joyfully accompanied me, and we still provide a Worship Service with the patients and staff every 3rd Saturday. The men gladly share that they get more out of this opportunity to serve than the patients. The patients frequently inquire about the next service. As I continued my journey God laid it on my heart to become a volunteer at Restore Health Rehabilitation Facility. I talked with the Activities Director about my desire to volunteer and she set up a meeting with the Director of the Facility, Pastor Coni, and me.

They provided an overview of the facility and their expectations. I filled out paperwork, which included a request for a background check. That was just the beginning. I had to take a Tuberculosis (TB) test to move forward. Next, a meeting was scheduled with the Director of the Facility and the Activities Director. I was made aware of the rules and responsibilities involved in caring for patients, as well as my duties as a volunteer.

Once I completed these requirements and signed the necessary paperwork, I officially became a volunteer at the Restore Health Rehabilitation Facility. As a volunteer I am onsite two days per week. I visit the patients, share scripture and prayer if requested. If they want to talk, I sit and talk with them, and if their family is there, I pray for and with them as well. It is a wonderful experience and I cherish each interaction. I am now retired and will be there as much as possible. I will reflect on Matthew 25:36 as I continue my journey as a volunteer. Information received from Nottingham Myers and Christ Churches Cooperative Parish Newsletter. Minister Cary Montgomery.


Come Home to Christ 2022! Tell your family, relatives, friends, and those in your neighborhood that they are invited to the 49th Annual Homecoming of Christ United Methodist Church in Aquasco, Maryland. Let them know that they are welcomed to come and celebrate the blessings God has given them over the past year as the faithful continue to praise, worship, serve and lift up the Lord’s name. This year, the family and friends of Christ will gather under the prophetic theme of “Lord, Expand Our Territory” as taken from 1 Chronicles 4:9–10, known as The Prayer of Jabez. This great day will kick-off at 11 a.m. with a Testimonial Service of soul-stirring singing and sharing. The Celebration of Praise and Worship will begin at noon with Evangelist Tasha Stephens Miller, the First Lady of Memorial Church of God in Christ in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Evangelist Stephens Miller is a much sought-after preacher, teacher and facilitator who is an anointed Woman of God who flows in the Spirit. Following worship, there will be a delicious luncheon and then at 3 p.m., everyone will enjoy a special treat ... a musical concert! Tell your “peeps” to mark their calendars NOW! Plan to be at Christ Church because nobody wants to miss any part of this celebration day. Because Annual Homecoming is a special day in the life of Christ Church, it is also a day of “second mile giving” to support the church’s mission and ministry. Therefore, everyone is asked to prayerfully consider giving $100.00 to the church’s commitment to make “Jesus disciples” who help transform the world and advance God’s Kingdom. So, spread the word! Share the news! Get ready for a blessing! It is Annual Homecoming at Christ Church. Come Home! Information received from Nottingham Myers and Christ Churches Cooperative Parish September Newsletter/ Joyce Lee.



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