Posts Tagged ‘chincoteague’

Melva’s Place

January 27, 2013

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“Most of the furniture conveys with the house,” Debbie said as we looked around.

The top of Melva’s polished oak kitchen table shone under a porcelain chandelier. Four matching pressed-back chairs were arranged neatly, waiting for a family dinner. A photograph of Melva’s grandchildren smiled at me from a frame on the wall, three boys. Melva liked red apples. Several framed prints displayed baskets of the fruit. Being this close to the seashore, I expected beach pictures. These apple scenes reminded me of home and our mountain orchards.

The living and dining rooms were more formal with a dark drop leaf table, chairs and matching hutch with Melva’s wedding china displayed. Through an arched doorway we found the wall we hoped would have a fireplace. The chimney outside gave us an expectation. We didn’t find one though. A large mirror hung where we expected to find a mantle. Melva’s couch was covered in a gold brocade, matching pillows hugged the sides of the sofa. Two chairs, a ‘his’ and ‘hers’ flanked the couch. Melva’s reclined and rocked.

I opened the closet by the front door. Photo albums lined the top shelf where I imagined hats would be. Ladies sweaters and jackets hung below, smelling of lavender and dusting powder, an aroma so familiar to me, I felt the comfort of my grandmother. I had an overwhelming urge to reach out and embrace Melva’s sweaters.

Her bedroom stopped me at the door. Before me I found the dark wood furniture I knew from childhood, the four-poster bed, vanity with mirror, chest of drawers and nightstand. Even the dresser scarves were familiar. I stood there, my hand to my chest, my mouth open.

“What’s wrong?” Bruce asked, walking up beside me.

“It’s Grandma’s bedroom,” I said.

“Huh?” he said, completely puzzled.

“It’s the same furniture my Grandma had when I was a little girl,” I said.

“I guess they would have been close to the same age,” Bruce said. “It must have been a popular style.”

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” I said.

“I know you don’t. That’s what worries me. Let’s go look at the bathroom.”

The tub and toilet were the heavy porcelain of 1950, and shiny white. The linen closet smelled of cedar, and each towel was folded just so and stacked one on another with washcloths along side.

The second bedroom displayed pictures of Melva’s daughter, son-in-law, and three grandsons. A homemade quilt warmed the double bed. The ginger jar bedside lamp was filled with seashells.

Bruce pulled the attic stairs down and we climbed up. Melva’s attic had dormer windows, unlike my Grandma’s, but the pull string to turn the overhead light on was the same. While Bruce inspected the walls, roof, duct work and furnace, I counted Melva’s canning jars, marveled over her Christmas decorations sparkling from an open cardboard box, and touched the delicate lace of a fancy dress hanging from the rafters. The dry cleaner’s plastic bag had fallen off one shoulder. I wondered where she had worn that dress, to her fiftieth wedding anniversary, to a garden party, to her daughter’s wedding?

“Looks good up here,” Bruce said from the stairs. “Come on down. I don’t want you falling through the hole in the ceiling not looking where you’re going.”

I followed him down the stairs and he folded them back up.

We thanked Debbie for showing us the place on such short notice. “We’ll be in touch,” I said.

Part 3: https://trainswhistle.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/crunching-numbers/

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Impulse Shopping

January 21, 2013

melva's

As careful and hesitant as I am, I am disabled by an impulsive streak that flashes its lightning at interesting times. My long-term goals, although still there, fade in the brightness of what’s in front of me. Sparkle captures my eye and sends me wanting. My husband usually grounds me. He listens quietly, then brings me back to the reality at hand. He ticks off the hazards, extols the cost, and after a day or two of processing his words, the careful me returns. I go back to thrift store shopping, gardening, recycling, and saving. I can count the times on one hand he’s let me run the extent of my dream without interference. Those have worked out for me.

Bruce and I didn’t take a vacation last year. With my dad’s illness and death, we’d spent most of my vacation time going back and forth to Chesapeake to check on him, then to make funeral arrangements, and finally to settle his estate. I had gone full force for five months without stopping for breath. I’d yet to have a good solid cry. I was worn out.

“Let’s go to Chincoteague this weekend, just the two of us,” Bruce said the last week in July. The boys will be alright at home. We can take the bicycles, beach chairs, a cooler full of cold ones, and sit on the beach, do nothing but relax in our favorite place.

A year ago we bought a lot on Chincoteague at Big Glade Creek; and made plans to build a house in ten years when we retire. The view is as close to perfection as we have found. Ten years seems a lifetime away, and we continue to visit our little island. Each trip, whether staying in a hotel, cottage, or campground costs us rental bucks. Zoning laws will not allow us camp on our lot. We bought the property knowing that up front. Even so, Bruce threatens to pitch a tent, but I don’t want to antagonize the neighbors.

We arrived on the island a little after daylight on Friday morning and parked at Big Glade Creek. We watched the egrets and geese catching their breakfast. The breeze cooled my skin as I sat cross-legged in front of Bruce on our floating dock. I leaned back against his chest and he rested his chin on my head. “I could sit here forever,” he said.

“Me too,” I echoed.

We checked into the hotel at 3:00, stored our gear and unhooked the bicycles. We rode toward Assateague and then onto the hike/bike beach. We stayed, watching the waves break, until just before sunset. We shared the beach with only six other people, but if we looked straight ahead, it was just the two of us.

Sunday came too soon. It always does. I hate to leave Chincoteague more than I hate paying the one hundred thirty-nine dollars a night hotel cost, but with a five hour drive ahead of us, and work for me on Monday, we pulled out at 11:00. We usually head straight down Maddox Blvd to the causeway over Chincoteague Bay toward the mainland, but there was a small line of traffic up ahead and Bruce veered left onto Pension, then right onto Ocean Blvd. which would take us to Main.

That’s when I saw it, a small white, aluminum-sided house with a brick chimney, on a neat manicured lot. It reminded me of my grandparent’s house. The one we live in now. The bay window was somewhat obscured by an overgrown rhododendron bush, one of my grandmother’s favorite shrubs. The ‘for sale’ sign held a box of leaflets describing the property. “Look at that house,” I said, pointing. “Pull over.”

Bruce parked at the curb and I grabbed one of the leaflets. The house was built in 1950, the same year my grandparent’s home was built. This one had two bedrooms, just like theirs. We walked around the outside and found hydrangeas and crepe myrtles in bloom, ours at home are blooming now. A shop and shed sat on the back of the lot. I peered into the window. Woodworking tools were anchored to the workbench. My grandfather was a carpenter.

“I want to see the inside of the house,” I said.

Bruce looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “If we do, we’ll get back late,” he said, looking at his watch.

I could not explain the connection I felt to this house, but it was there. “Let’s just call,” I said. “At this short notice, they might not even be able to show it. If they can’t, then I’ll take it as a sign and we’ll go home.”

Bruce handed me his cell phone and I dialed Debbie, the realtor who had helped us find our lot last year. She answered on the first ring. “I’ll call Ocean East Realty and get the key,” she said. “I’ll meet you at the property in fifteen minutes.”

Debbie opened the back door and we stepped into “Melva’s kitchen”. The carved wooden sign on the wall proclaimed it to be. My grandmother lived in her kitchen. I remember the tastes and aromas of biscuits baking, strawberry jam and apple pies.

Debbie stepped aside for us. “It belonged to a couple who lived here for sixty-two years,” she said. “Islanders. They built the house just after they were married. Melva’s husband passed away a couple years ago. Melva lived here by herself until June. She’s moved to the mainland to live with her daughter now. They had a hard time putting the house on the market. It’s been Melva’s life.”

As I looked around, I could see that. I could feel it.

Part 2: https://trainswhistle.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/melvas-place/

Birthday Presence

November 14, 2011

 

Tonight I opened the hinged wooden box on my dresser and dropped a solid white glass marble and a 2003 copper penny into it. The two items found their own spots among the collection in the small pine container.  They joined a menagerie of keepsakes including a rusted gate hinge, a quartz rock, a hand-forged nail, a triplet of brown acorns attached at the stem, a brass button with an anchor embossed on it, a heart shaped rock,  and a small scrap of blue paper folded in fourths. I smiled at the contents.  If the house should catch fire, and my family and animals were safe outside, I’d grab this box second only to the photographs of my children.  

I’ve known Bruce for thirty-three of my fifty birthdays. As I sat in a hotel bed this morning, sipping the cup of coffee he brought me, I tried to think of the birthday presents he’s given me over the years.  I can’t remember a single wrapped gift placed in my hand or on a table in front of me. Bruce hasn’t even presented me with the proverbial vacuum cleaner that women complain about.  He’s not one for fancy trimmings, romantic gestures, or grand hoopla.  What he does, is proclaim a rousing “Happy Birthday,” and then, he gives up his whole day to me.

This year I wanted to go to Chincoteague, to spend the weekend of my birthday walking the grounds of the wildlife refuge, feeling that ever-present wind blow through my hair. I wanted to take as many photographs as the memory card could hold, and wander the island thrift stores in search of a good book to read. I didn’t want to cook. We packed the car and left early Friday morning. We didn’t come back until tonight.  

When I was a little girl, I remember making wishes on my birthday candles. This year, fifty candles would cover the entire cake top. Even at my age, I still make birthday wishes.  When I think back on it, I’ve rarely wished for things, even when I was very young. What I mostly wished for was the presence of someone I loved, or the presence of someone who would love me.  

Saturday we woke early and rode over to our half acre lot. I pulled out the folding chair, and sat at the edge of Big Glade Creek, reading Out of Africa while Bruce ran the weed eater for the final time this year. Canada Geese honked overhead in their migration south, ripples stirred across the top of the water and the few leaves left on the trees rustled in the breeze. I smelled wood smoke in the cool air.  I didn’t hear Bruce come up behind me, but I felt his presence.  “Hold out your hand and close your eyes,” he said.

I did. When I opened my eyes again, there was a round white glass marble there.

“I think it’s a pearl,” he said laughing and bending to kiss my cheek.

“First real pearl I’ve ever gotten,” I said, admiring my gift.

“Must have come out of an oyster in this very creek,” he said. “I found it a few feet from here.”

I put it in the pocket of my jeans. Bruce went back to work on the broom sage, and I went back to reading.

That same evening, we walked the beach of Assateague, picking up and admiring shells. I was turning a conch over in my hand, watching the light play off  its pink iridescent wet underside, when Bruce bent down and picked up a shiny copper disk in the surf.  “Look,” he said, handing it to me, “pirate treasure.”

“2003,” I said, holding the penny up close to my bifocals. “Some of Jack Sparrow’s booty maybe, but not Black Beard’s.”

Bruce shrugged his shoulders. “Treasure’s treasure,” he said. “Doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

I put the penny in my pocket with the white marble. We walked on, continuing to search the shoreline, stopping to watch a boy skip shells off the waves, and another learn to fly a kite.

Tonight when I opened the treasure box on my dresser and dropped my two new gifts inside, I glanced at the other things housed there, each one special,  each one given to me by a man who doesn’t use pretty paper or ribbon to wrap his gifts to me. He wraps them in memories.

My Groovy Girl

September 4, 2011

My Groovy Girl. I met her online, her bright image capturing my attention in a photograph. I dreamed of a life with her, adventure, and recreation. After seeing her in person, actually touching her, running my hand along her sleek side, I was enthralled. I fell overboard.

Then, I took her home, and, as with most new relationships, a honeymoon period only lasts so long. I quickly realized she was not nearly as perfect as she seemed. On the outside, she was lovely, bright, cheerful, the perfect size.

When I dug deeper, I found flaws.  Her background was shady, and her inner core was less than pristine. But Relationships take work, sweat, and effort. I decided to give her a chance.

Bruce and I worked an entire month on the boat. Our goal was to have her in the water for vacation on Chincoteague Island. After his daytime job of mulching, mowing and pruning, and mine of caring for elders, we met in the garage after supper and worked on rebuilding the boat until bedtime each night. Working on a boat in a hot garage in July is not fun, no matter who the company is or how much you love them.

With a week to spare, she was ship-shape, with all new interior, a motor that cranked when the key turned and refurbished seat cushions. We bought all the required safety equipment and Bruce waited in line for three hours at DMV to get the boat trailer licensed. The only thing missing was our boat title and registration. All the required documents had been sent to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. We were told it could take up to thirty days to hear from them.  We did have a thirty day temporary registration from Walmart.  With that, at least we could put the boat in the water for vacation.

 I had a dream the night before we left for Chincoteague that I was standing in the boat, dock line in my hand, drifting out to sea. I was supposed to toss that line to my husband, but I didn’t.  I watched Bruce standing at the end of the weathered gray walkway. He waved his hands frantically, yelling something.  I was out of earshot and he tried unsuccessfully to mime how I should start the boat motor. He wasn’t making sense to me.  I kept drifting until my husband was a small dot, then he and the shoreline disappeared as I was lost at sea.

I’ve never owned a boat, never driven one, never docked one. Bruce never has either, but he’s resourceful, has good common sense. I’m dumbfounded in new situations.

Today, we took the cover off the boat, hooked the trailer to the truck and drove to Memorial Park in Chincoteague. Bruce backed the trailer onto the boat ramp and released the strap holding My Groovy Girl in place. She slid easily into Assateague Channel.  I stood in the boat with the dock line  and threw it successfully to my husband. He tied us securely until he parked the truck and trailer.

She rocked a bit as he stepped in, but her motor started right up and she took out to the open water with Bruce at the wheel. I leaned back against the seat cushion, tilted my head, face to the sun, and felt the cool salt water spray me as we motored across the channel. I stretched my legs, crossed my feet at the ankles and reveled in a brand new experience.

My Groovy Girl, she’s a keeper.

 

 

Between the Earthquake and the Hurricane

August 27, 2011

Two natural disasters in one week, how many people can claim such? Tuesday we felt the roll and shake of a 5.9 earthquake centered forty miles from our house. A boom, then a sound like a train coming, closer, closer, closer, right on us, then going farther away. I felt the shake through my feet, then up through the rest of my body. As the week progressed with aftershocks awakening us in the night, the weather channel began warning us of Irene, a huge category two hurricane coming up the east coast, expected to gain strength and cause damage. Can’t say we don’t have excitement in Virginia.

Chincoteague Island is a ten hour round trip for us. The seven mile long, three mile wide island is located on the Delmarva peninsula. We have a half acre lot there on Big Glade Creek. Our little piece of land is adjacent to a tidal basin. We can stand on the lot in the morning and the water flows in one direction, by afternoon it runs in the other. We know that with a hurricane, water levels rise and although we don’t have a house there to worry about, when we bought the property, a floating dock came along with the purchase price.

We’ve caught enough blue crabs from that dock to fill our plates and stomachs many times. The flat, floating , wooden structure is moored with two nylon cords, one wrapped around the trunk of a pine and the other tied to a stump. Bruce was worried about the dock breaking away with the force of the water and wind from Irene, but we had just taken vacation and I didn’t have the time from work to take off another day to make the trip back to check on the security of the dock.

I worried all day Friday at the nursing home where I work about the Island, our friends who live there, the hurricane, and our dock. The residents kept asking me about the storm and how I thought our property would fare. By the time I pulled into our driveway at four-thirty that evening, I felt my anxiety rising, my heart rate increasing. Bruce wasn’t home and he’s usually home before me. I called him on his cell phone.

“Hey,” I said, not letting him respond. “Where are you? I have an idea.”

“What is it?” he clipped out, obviously bothered.

I slowed down. “Are you alright?” I asked.

“Yeah,  just chasing cows. I gotta go,” he said.

“Go do what you have to do,” I said, knowing that either my father-in-law’s cows had gotten loose, or our friend Robert’s fence was down.

I went inside packed an overnight bags, found the mosquito spray, flashlight, and put some sandwiches and bottles of water in the cooler. I took the car to Brownsville Market and gassed it up.  I called my mother to tell her my plans. Someone needed to know where we were, just in case.

I met Bruce on the porch, ignoring the fact that he was sweaty, tired, muddy and mad, having spent four hours chasing two cows all over Ragged Mountain. “Here’s what I want to do,” I said, explaining.

He tugged off his boots and padded into the house. Pulling out his laptop and leaning into the screen, he checked out the weather website. “Let’s go,” he said, when he realized we had a small window of opportunity. The storm was moving north at fourteen miles an hour. Chincoteague is a five hour drive east for us.  “If we hurry, we can make it just before the hurricane hits.”

As much as my anxiety had pushed me to prepare for the trip, my adrenaline died down suddenly and the careful side of me took over. “Do you really think we can get there in time?” I asked. The last thing I wanted was to get stuck on the island during the hurricane. I’ve never ridden out a storm and didn’t want to start now.

“Getting there’s not the problem,” Bruce said smiling. “We’ll be the only idiots driving east. Getting back will be our problem. Everyone’s heading west.”

He was right. As we headed out, a never-ending line of headlights met us coming from the shore. We set the cruise control on seventy-five. Our only other company eastbound was a line of power trucks from Kentucky Utilities out of Lexington. Someone driving one of the vehicles had torn off pieces of blue tape, and written ‘Irene’ across the white expanse of the bucket. When we hit Virginia Beach, there were six empty lanes of interstate to choose from. The Hampton Roads tunnel was eerily quiet. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge spanned its twenty miles just for us.

Chincoteague was deserted, with no cars in parking lots, few house lights on, and most of its windows were boarded shut. The usually bustling place sat, a sad, lonely town, waiting for its fate.  When we got out of the car at the lot, a cool breeze was blowing in from the ocean. The usually quiet Big Glade Creek was alive with jumping minnows. I wondered if the small fish somehow felt the impending doom.   It took us twenty-five minutes to reinforce the mooring on the dock with thicker rope attached to metal stakes and tree trunks.

We took one more look at our little square of property with its nine pine trees, floating dock, and beautiful view of Big Glade Creek, then, we turned around toward home.

By the time we reached the Bay Bridge, rain had started. As the wipers swept the drops away,  I imagined the wind picking up while we were on the bridge. The side rails seem tall enough when the sun is shining, but in bad weather, where curtains of rain obscure the path and wind whips a car to and fro, I bet those rails seem much shorter. Facing a plunge into that deep water is scary. I found myself holding my breath.

There were no other cars with us, no other cars passing us from the other direction. Even the usually annoying presence of police cars was absent. I can’t remember a time on the road when I wished for flashing blue lights or a police officer armed with a flashlight. Where were they?

We made it to the other side safely under a sprinkling of rain. Two miles into Virginia Beach, the wind  picked up.  The ominous sound of  the emergency system blast came over the radio. “rrmp, rrmp, rrmp,” it said. Once a month I hear that sound on my radio. It interrupts a favorite song to tell me “this is a test of the emergency broadcast system, this is only a test.”  I longed for that announcement. Instead, it said, “A tornado warning has been issued for the following areas: The city of Chesapeake, Suffolk County, Currituck County, and the city of Virginia Beach.”

We were right in the middle of Virginia Beach.  Bruce and I looked at each other. He pressed down harder on the accelerator.  We turned right onto Interstate 64 and sprayed water out from the tires as we hurried through a puddle of standing water.  I made that scared sound I hear in my dreams when someone ominous is chasing me and I’m just out of reach. It’s the start of a scream with a sudden intake of breath.  My worst nightmares involve dark figures chasing me, and tornadoes.  “I hope the traffic’s thinned out,” Bruce said.

At one-fifty in the morning, most cars were safely west of the storm. We, however, were beginning to feel the effects of Irene. The wind blew rain against the car and we shifted in our lane from the gusts. Rain came down in sheets, obscuring the view, then  lessening as the wind died down, only to catch us off guard once again with a blast to the side of the Honda. That pattern continued as we raced through the city.

“Once we get through the Hampton Roads tunnel,” Bruce said, “we should be fine.”

The tunnel was three miles ahead.  ‘Check your Gas’ the sign stated.

“We have a quarter tank,” Bruce said, looking down. “That should get us through.  We’ll fill up again in Williamsburg.”

The tunnel was empty and bright with its shiny tiles and yellow fluorescent lights. We were the only ones there and its quiet confines calmed us after the wind and rain outside. I’ve never liked the tunnel with its exhaust fumes and usual darkness after sunlight, but it felt comforting and I believe I could have stayed the night right there under the bay in the safety of its mile-long tube.

Out of the tunnel, we kept our pace until we reached Colonial Williamsburg. There, we ran out of the rain, and by Richmond, our nerves had calmed and our heart rates were back to normal.

Our driveway looked awfully good  as we turned off Rt. 250 in the pre-dawn darkness of Saturday morning.  We fell into bed at five after five, and slept until almost noon.

Upon waking, we knew Irene was pounding Chincoteague and we were safe, riding out the storm five hours inland to soft rain and gentle winds.  Our dock, however, would have its own story to tell.

 

Left at T’s Corner, Ten Miles Due East

June 25, 2011

It’s the first time I’ve been excited about an online GovDeals.com auction.  Bruce trolls the site like an online dater of heavy equipment.

You get the idea, junk. I have dragged myself up into the dump truck on more than one occasion to ride along for the inspection of some rusted hulk, dying in the weeds at the back of a city yard in a distant town, and rolled my eyes at Bruce’s taste in scrap.

I’ll be honest, though.  He’s never bought a piece of equipment that didn’t return an investment, or that he couldn’t fix and resell for a profit.  He finds what he’s looking for, researches the make and model, looks for a better deal somewhere else, calls for information and more pictures, then sets his limit and bids only to that amount.

 I really can’t complain, except that the GovDeals auctions on his Mac seem to be his entertainment of choice lately.

After our last trip to Chincoteague, we decided we want a boat.  I know, when you think about the shore and a boat, you think of a sixty-five foot sailboat with crisp white triangles of canvas snapping in the wind, or a fishing troller with big nets hoisted on booms, or even a speed boat with swivel captain’s chairs and a sporty little windshield.  You don’t think of a glorified Jon boat. That’s what we’re looking for.

I’m not much of a sailor.  I get motion sickness, but I can handle being on the bay or an inlet when the water and weather are calm. Besides, I’ve been informed by my husband that puke makes good chum for fish.  

What we’re looking for is a Carolina Skiff.  It’s a fifteen foot, flat bottom tri-hull with bench seats and a stow away compartment for fishing equipment.  The Evinrude motor on the back is a hundred-fifty horsepower. My Honda  is big enough to pull the trailer. It’s the perfect size boat for Big Glade Creek.

Bruce found it on GovDeals.com.  It belongs to the fire department in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The boat is even a pretty color green. Puke is green.  There’s no title, but that doesn’t seem to raise any red flags for Bruce, so I’m OK with it too.  The price is right at three-hundred-fifty-one dollars with a little over a day to go.

I’ve made up my mind. I can ride along to New Jersey to pick up the boat if we win it without complaining.  New Jersey is six hours north of us. I’ve mapped the route back. After we pay for the skiff, and hook the trailer to my car, we head due west from Seaside Heights to a place called Manchester Township. I-295 South will take us into Dover, Delaware. There, we pick up Rt. 13 South. That highway takes us right to T’s Corner; and  I know exactly how to get to Chincoteague from T’s Corner.

The Price of a Weed Eater

June 11, 2011

Six o’clock in the morning is not early on Chincoteague. There’s so much to do.

We visited our lot yesterday when we got to the island. Weeds are growing thick and healthy on our little half acre, the tallest ones being those that you shoot as weapons when you’re a kid. You know the ones I mean.  They have a long stem with a projectile looking bloom on the end. You pull the weed, wrap the stem around the bloom and pull just behind the head, and Pow, you’ve put your brother’s eye out. Bruce calls them grasshopper weeds.  We have enough of those to supply both sides of an army of eight year olds.  A patch of wild daisies surround the fire hydrant next to the road (they can stay, but I have to fight my husband for their reprieve.) Poison Ivy is abundant and at its most potent, dressed in spring green with runners shooting through the grass ready to sneak up on you with their itch. Several marsh grasses grow tall between the water and tree line.

Bruce is excited. He likes a vacation, but would rather have work to do. Now, he has a project, but needs a weed eater.  Here’s an opportunity to buy another piece of equipment. We head off toward Rt. 13, turn left at T’s Corner and drive a few hundred yards to the Stihl dealer. Over three hundred dollars later, we leave the lawn and garden center with the needed equipment, extra string, safety glasses, screwdrivers, a wrench, and a two gallon plastic gas can.  The salesperson throws a brand new brown cap with Stihl embroidered in gold lettering across the front into the bag as we check out. That was nice of her.

Bruce is like a kid, wearing his new hat, tuning up his new toy, wacking the unruly grasses off the future home of our retirement. He adjusts the carburetor on the machine several times until the weed eater doesn’t “miss a lick,” and spends the next two hours in his element.

Ryan bates two crab traps with chicken bones from last night’s dinner, throws the metal wire cubes into the water off the dock, then won’t wait long enough to catch a crab before pulling the trap back out of the water to see if he’s caught one.

I sit in the folding baseball chair, reading a book, feeling the breeze, watching an occasional bird dive into the water of Big Glade Creek with a “splunk,” and laugh at the antics of two male humans, engrossed in their respective projects.

After consideration, the morning was worth the price of a weed eater.