by Fred Herz
I was invited by Pat Bowling to take my girlfriend, who later became my wife, to Mattapany for a full-dress Navy League Event. Mattapany is an elegantly constructed mansion on the northern boundary of the Patuxant air station with an expansive lawn rolling to the shores of the Patuxent River junction of the Chesapeake Bay.
As described by the website: “From the main road, the large white house appears distant because of the long lane approaching the main entrance. Shading its many windows are great trees, including tulip poplars, oaks, black walnuts, magnolias and boxwoods, many of which date to the original old manor house.”
Like all mansions built in that period, it has an unhurried ante-bellum air. Perhaps it is because the finely proportioned rooms entered through arches lined with wood paneling, revealing the thickness of the walls of at least 18 inches, give a sense of seclusion to the remoteness from the rest of the world. This famous country estate took its name from the Algonquian Indian word, “Mattapany” which means, “the meeting of waters,” or “where the path meets the waters.” Sometimes it is where people meet other people, and get to know one another and sometimes decide to get married because of Pat Bowling.
At some point during the afternoon garden party, Pat had arranged for a “five-star general” to play Leonard Bernstein tunes on a grand piano for my awestruck girlfriend in a formal drawing room. That “five-star general” turned out to be an insurance salesman who got up off the piano bench and handed us his card, and a good laugh was had by all.
That was Pat.
Later that evening at his home on Lucas Cove in St. Mary’s City, we all got on his boat and sailed across the Chesapeake Bay for dinner at his favorite seafood restaurant.
All these years later, the woman who is now my wife said she felt like she had been “hit by Cupid’s arrow” that weekend, and she gives me the credit for having the instincts to arrange it and Pat and Judy Bowling the credit for the perfect hospitality she experienced that facilitated the most perfect weekend she had ever had in her life, until that point.
She has said numerous times that she decided that weekend that she would marry me if I asked her. We now have been married nearly seven years and have three children. Thanks Pat and Judy Bowling. I sometimes wonder if you ever really knew how much that weekend changed our lives.
Timberline Four Seasons Resort