Friday, October 3, 2008
These are some very lucky seagulls who frolic around the Sea Breeze on Gwynn's Island. Now that I think of it, I'm not exactly sure seagulls frolic, but if they could, these would, they're just that happy to be here. By the way, the pole is crooked in this picture, not the position of my camera. Just look at the shoreline if you don't believe me--and I wouldn't blame you one bit if you didn't.
In the early 1900's, my great-grandfather was a blacksmith at Flat Iron, which is on the way to Ware Neck in neighboring Gloucester County. He lived to be well into his 90's, and he spent most of his older years with my grandmother. I had the privilege of seeing him whenever I would stay with her.
Tall, lanky and strong as an ox due to years of pounding that anvil, he unfortunately became a little senile as he grew older. For example, he often thought Union Soldiers were invading, and he was particularly concerned that they were setting up a blockade. He referenced this blockade so often I have to wonder if he didn't actually come up on a Union blockade at some point in his life. He was just that obsessed with it.
Eventually, he became too much for my grandmother to handle, and he went to live in a local nursing home. Sometimes he recognized his visitors, but most of the time he didn't. Not only was he losing some of his mental faculties, he was hard of hearing and struggled to see.
One day a clown came by to cheer up the nursing home residents. She was a happy soul who did her level best to bring a smile to a lonely person's face. When she came to my great-granddaddy's room, she stood in the doorway and attempted to engage him in some banter, but he wanted absolutely no part of it. Much like a small child, he was terribly frightened instead of being entertained.
Determined to overcome this intruder--who may or may not have been a Union soldier putting up a blockade in his doorway--he started hollering. When that didn't work , the Confederate Blacksmith used the only weapon he had to save himself: the box of Kleenex on his nightstand.
He carefully extracted a tissue and threw one at her. The tissue had as much potential for damage as it did flight; it landed right next to where he released it. She tried to reassure him and took a step closer. Undeterred from his mission, he took another tissue and threw that one at her. She didn't budge. He threw each and every one of those tissues until they were all gone.
Then, he did what any enterprising soldier would do in the heat of battle after running out of ammunition. He improvised.
In a last-ditch effort to save the Confederacy, he threw the empty cardboard tissue box square at Miss Clown, who finally surrendered and left his room.
Confederate Blacksmith - 1
Blockade-Building Union Clown - 0