Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is one of the many sunset pictures I took earlier this week off Gwynn's Island. Although this wasn't one I took from a lying down position, I did have to squat. Trying to take a picture while balancing in sand is really quite a sight. Hilarious even.

I turn again to some of Chesapeake Bay Mother's writings, this time on the topic of laughter.

The Best Medicine
by Chesapeake Bay Mother

Our family has Teutonic/Celtic roots extending back to Pangaea, where our first ancestor belly-flopped ashore in pursuit of something different. Perhaps he had fried chicken in mind, though he was being premature in his longings. We all tend to eat heartily and laugh loudly. The first time I heard Chesapeake Bay Woman laugh, I knew we had brought the right baby home from the hospital.*

Whenever our family gathered for wakes, the funeral director was so conflicted by the laughter and loud conversations, he always threatened to ring a gong to bring down the hysteria to more grief-appropriate levels. That embarrassment didn't deter us a bit. It was like trying to stifle a sneeze.

Our family had its eminent members when it came to earsplitting socializing: Great Aunt Maggie, her son Cousin Harry, and Aunt Viola, whose greetings would register on the Richter scale.

Once, in the grocery store, Aunt Viola, with her arm around me, was delighting in the fine array of seafood specialties and announced, loud enough to be heard many aisles over, "Oh look! Cock Shrimptail!" **

Chesapeake Bay Woman Interrupts Her Mother to Add Commentary:

* No matter where I've ever worked, people often come running down the halls or even come from other floors to find out what on Earth can be so funny that they can hear my laughter from so far away. The fact is, it doesn't take a whole lot to make me laugh. I laugh every single solitary day, 9 times out of 10 at myself. However, my laugh is loud, very loud. Boisterous. I say obnoxious but others say it's just hearty. I think they're being polite.

** OK, this was my Great Aunt Viola, whom we called Vollie, my favorite grandmother's sister. She was HILARIOUS. All she did was laugh and make other people laugh. Many times she wasn't even trying to be funny. One time she went to see the movie Porky's when it was in the theater. She bought her ticket and her popcorn and settled in for what she thought was going to be a movie about Porky Pig.

It wasn't.

There is more to Chesapeake Bay Mother's essay, and I'll continue it another time. Right now, I'm hungry and for some reason I have a craving for seafood. Wonder if I have any shrimp...maybe I could make some cock shrimptail.


Grandma J said...

I love your mother's stories! I'm loud, and come from a loud family but my kids are soft spoken.

I love the picture taken while balancing in the sand...would that be in the typical flamingo form with one leg raised up and tucked under your feathers?

I love the way you have the option of taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises over the water....from east and west alike. Which sunset is the best? I miss the sunsets off the CA coast.
I'm hungary too.

Bear Naked said...

Have I told you lately that you are a very talented photographer?
That photo is stunning!

The whole Chesapeake Bay Family sounds like they are as much fun as a barrel of monkeys.

Can I come to the next wake?

Bear((( )))

Life with Kaishon said...

I love the picture to pieces! I also love the story. I think it is so important to laugh! I try to laugh every day about something. There is so much misery and sadness going on everywhere. We definitely need to find joy in all of the places we can!

Anonymous said...

Love it! Great story!

Mental P Mama said...

Can we have Cock Shrimptail when I come down there?

bellalately said...

I call that kind of laughter "infectious" and I love to hear it :)

Anonymous said...

Volly also said " I can't believe 'twas butter" when referring to the butter substitute. Food Lion makes "Isn't it butter?" and I think of her every time!
Baby sis

Big Hair Envy said...

Did Viola drink red wine?

As tall as you are, it's really no wonder that squatting requires a bit more balance for you than it does for those of us who are a bit vertically challenged.(Long sentence much?)

I believe that you and I are related on my Grandma Sadie's side. After visiting her, it usually took at least two days for our hearing to be restored.

Annie said...

Ah, I am so glad you love laughter...and a lot of it. It certainly is infectious... am always laughing out loud here whenever I read your posts!

The photo..gorgeous. Do whatever you have to do to get 'em! I love them!

The story ..priceless! Keep 'em coming!


ps I am soo glad you sympathise with the technically challenged. As I was sitting here reading your computer screen went YELLOW...bright yellow. Now from time to time it does do that occasionally...but never for quite soo long. HELP! I will have to stop, never!

pps I am sure that it was a google or my 'puter fault that the tree wouldn't load for ages...everything is hunky dory now.

pps Those word verification thingys are hilarious..they would make good passwords...I'll have to take note of it was HISMOSIO...what a great word! Maybe even a name for new dog...when I get one..what do you think?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ- I was not in the flamingo stance THIS, this was more like the Jolly Green Giant trying to crouch and balance on two large feet atop uneven sand while experiencing vertigo at trying to focus on the image in the camera while remaining aware of my surroundings which included rocks, tall grasses, glass shards and burs....

BN - Thank you. You have a standing invitation to come here any time you want - I can assure you this family will not disappoint if you're looking for entertainment.

Reb./LWK - I agree 100%. Well said.

Hey, Sara - Thank you and glad you enjoyed it. Interested in a Virginia Blogging Conference? Details are being discussed between BHE and me...still in early planning stages.

MPM - A trip to the Tidewater area of Virginia would be absolutely incomplete without a good cock shrimptail. Count on it when you come visit.

Bellalately - That's a great way to describe it. Sounds better than "obnoxious." (You interested in a Virginia blogger conference? If I remember correctly, you're not too terribly far away...)

Baby Sis: Yes, and Vollie also said U-Pull-It instead of U-Haul. Every time I've ever rented one I've asked for the largest sized U-Pull-It they have on the lot....

BHE - I am convinced she took a nip now and then....Oh how I love that name Sadie. What a great name. I'm sure she was a character.

Annie - I'd bet my last dollar it was a blogger/google problem. I've found it/them to be very temperamental lately, even more so than usual. And those word verifications are laughable. Hismosio? Isn't that the company that makes TV's, stereos and other electronics?

nativedevil said...

I made the mistake of taking my fiance and my mom to Gloucester to see "Porkys". Mom on one side, my future wife on the other. Mom fuming, my fiance laughing; my mom fuming at my fiance for laughing, my fiance laughing at my mom for fuming.
Funny and uncomfortable, all at the same time. I can't say it's a good memory, but it is a memory.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Native Devil: That is simply hilarious. My great-aunt saw it in Gloucester too...I wonder if she and y'all were there at the same time.