Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Policy

Friday morning I took a spin down Knight Woods road and was compelled by the morning light to photograph this house. When I got out of the car, a most unexpected and sudden thing happened for a chilly, spring Mathews morning: mosquitoes descended like the plague the flying monkeys on the Wizard of Oz.

Out of nowhere they came, with a vengeance. Relentless they were. Bigger than buzzards.

Speaking of old houses but not necessarily of winged monkeys or buzzards, the other day I alluded to a story involving the Chesapeake Bay Children, me, the law and a stroke. I've been meaning to relay this story for a while but never seem to have time to breathe accomplish what I set out to do.

Once upon a recent Sunday, I forced the Chesapeake Bay Children to ride with me to Bethel Beach. The weather was warm and the sunlight was perfect for photographs.

On our way they tolerated a few stops here and there for the occasional photo of dead houses barely noticeable to the human eye visible from the road and certainly not something most people stop to pay attention to.

But they're accustomed to these sorts of pit stops. Usually they roll their eyes and say something like, "Oh no, Mom. Again?"

On the way to Bethel, I told them about a shack in the middle of the woods on the left as you approach the beach. I described a grass-covered access off the paved road which would allow us to pull in under cover of dense pine trees and vegetation which hides everything, up to and including the shack I wanted to photograph.

Here's how that conversation went:

Chesapeake Bay Mother: "Oh, yeah. I want to show y'all this beautiful old shack in the woods here. All I have to do is pull right in here and it's right over there." (I gesture randomly towards an area that appears to be nothing but trouble a thicket.)

CB Children: "Oh no, Mom. Again?"

CB Mother: "It's OK. It's right over there."

CB Son, demonstrating sound judgment: "Mom, no. I don't think so."

CB Mother: "I've done this before, it's fine. We're down here in the middle of nowhere, the car is hidden, and the shack is right over there (gesturing towards nothing but dense vegetation, poison ivy, and briars). The lighting is perfect. This will only take a minute, and I'd really like you all to see it."

CB Children: Cut glances at each other and make a pact never to go anywhere with their mother again.

CB Mother: Parks the car under thick brush and pine trees. Leads the children a few steps towards the shack, which is hidden in a very dense Amazon Jungle forest.

All of a sudden, Chesapeake Bay Mother and her trained ear could hear a car coming, but just barely.

CB Mother, without the benefit of even seeing the shack, much less sharing it with her children: " OK, let's go back to the car, kids. I hear a car approaching."

CB Son: "Oh no."

CB Daughter: "Oh, brother, not this."

CB Mother, thinking to herself but not daring to utter the words out loud: "Jeeminy mahsters Uh oh, oh no, and why does this stuff tend to happen to me?"

Then, just as she and her children were hurdling brush piles to get back to the car, right there, screeching on brakes in front of us, was a Mathews County deputy who had descended with the swiftness and ferocity of a winged monkey those unexpected mosquitoes mentioned earlier.

He was looking right at us. It's not like there was any other reason for him to stop. Deputies don't stop for fiddler crabs, and they don't stop for horseflies, sea gulls, herons or hard crabs. Those would have been the only other living beings there that day on this very remote, desolate road going into Bethel Beach.

CB Mother, with beads of sweat on her forehead and a new appreciation for Valium attention to cardiac health: "It's OK. It will be fine. I can handle this. I'm just going to tell him the truth, which is we just wanted to take some pictures of the lovely shack in these woods."

CB Daughter, with the line of the day: "The truth is always best."

CB Mother, noting to self: This child has more sense than her mother, and this is a miracle a wonderful thing.

Chesapeake Bay Woman trotted nervously with her camera held high so the law enforcement official could see. Her darling, level-headed children were trotting in lockstep behind her. She had every intention of walking up to the law enforcement officer and telling him everything because the only logical explanation was to plead insanity the truth.

But then, all of a sudden, the last possible thing imaginable happened. He took off! Just like that. He didn't even say hello. (I'm not complaining, it was just a little unusual.)

Yes indeed. Without even asking what we were doing, he left, but not after studying the whole scene carefully. He must have taken one look at a crazy frazzled, sweaty, camera-wielding woman herding children out of a dense Amazon Jungle forest and assumed, correctly, that we were not doing anything too terribly illegal awful.

Then Chesapeake Bay Woman, realizing her children have more sense than she has her luck was running thin, packed her children in the car and headed home.

The End.


nativedevil said...

Nothing changes much. The deputies used to catch us down at the beach drinking beer, would just tell us to pick up our trach before we left.
One night, we were crazy enough to be drinking beer in the bank parking lot. Sheriff Jordan pulled in. We thought we were dead meat. He just talked to us, told us not to drink too much, and told us to make sure we took away all the trash. Only in Mathews

The Money Paradise said...

Nice photograph. It looks very simple but very attrctive.

Annie said...

What, no photo? No Beach?

Jamie said...

Is that "the" house on Knights Wood Rd of the tragic incident? Reminds me of it at least. I have similar stroke issues while in cemeteries at night. While ghost hunting seems a logical reason and would be the truth, I typically fashion several ficticious and flamboyant excuses to use... I usually don't need to use them fortunately

Ann Marie said...

Hey that is Lizzy Flippins little house.. I got bunches of that little one.. I really should show you the ones behind it!
When exactly are you and I going to get caught by the cops... errr hmm I mean go take pics together???

Mental P Mama said...

One thing I know for sure: Our children should not be allowed to compare notes. Ever.

ghostless said...

As I read this story I couldn't help but think, the deputy probably thought you were just taking the kids for a potty break...sorry to humiliate CBW daughter and son but that is the logical thought of a mother pulled over with 2 kids in the brush.
And...yes, you and fellow neighboring bloggers are welcomed here anytime, would love to see all of you again! Tonic is fine, when the pony, Duncan is not pestering her. And we have a newly created beaver dam/pond on our property, 2 visiting eagles, and a bunch of herons! I am in heaven!
WV..ghtsios...some disease relating to ghosts??!!

Daryl said...

Umm .. did he actually get out of the car? I wonder if he wasnt making an illegal pit/pee stop and when he saw you he decided to split ...

So you never did get the shot did you? Lets try in July, someone can act as lookout ..

Trisha said...

Funny! I am glad that you didn't get "run in" because of taking pictures - or trying to! That deputy must have figured that you weren't doing anything horrible.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I think you scared the Jeeminy mahsters out of him!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I got totally busted once for pulling over to let one of the boys have an emergency pee. I was way off the road and the kid got out on the passenger side, and then mid-pee, BAM, well HELLO officer! And then I get a lecture about how dangerous it is to stop along the side of the road and I'm like, well YEAH, it's not like we make a habit of this, we usually use bathrooms like most civilized humans, but you know when a 4 year old boy's gotta go, HE'S GOTTA GO RIGHT NOW. And he just kinda scowled and grumbled and went back to his car to pester some other desperate lady who was transporting her three children via her giant SUV on a sunny Sunday afternoon, clearly looking to break the law one way or another.

But that happened on a well-traveled US route, not one of Mathews' back roads. Just your luck he'd happen by at that particular moment! And now I better understand your preoccupation with the whole trespassing thing. It's Murphy's Law.

Anonymous said...

the photo you posted today is the house on the property where Taylor B's body was found...the building played a role in finding her body because the suspect/killer had a photo of the house on his website...looks like the owner now is trying to clean up the lot to make it more the early '90's on a chilly fall morning, I saw an old woman, sitting in a rocker on the porch, smoking a corncob pipe!...I'll never forget it.

Pueblo girl said...

The best police are the ones who can distinguish between when they're needed and when they're not.

nativedevil said...

Poor Taylor. I hope her spirit has found peace, as well as her family.

Mrs F with 4 said...

I am seriously starting to wonder if you in fact have any inhabited houses in your neck of the woods?

I don't have any police stories, or not that I am prepared to share, but I do have an ex who works in Customs at London Heathrow. We are very good friends, but every single time I pass through there he delights in pulling me aside and loudly muttering about cavity searches.. Whereupon I am whisked off to the back of beyond, conveniently bypassing customs, passport control, and all that nonsense. AND getting a decent cup of tea into the bargain. It's worth blushing for, really.

wv. dingsti. There's a joke in there, but I am too bushed to think of one.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

ND-Your story sounds almost identical to a story my father tells from the late '50s/early '60s. I'll have to remember to write about that, but you're right: only in Mathews.

By the way, anyone reading needs to visit Native Devil's blog and read his story about ghosts. It's GREAT.

TMP-It's definitely simple.

Annie-The beach photo was posted a while back - under the title of The Right Light. It was a picture of white sand and perfect blue sky that looked like the Caribbean. I also have pictures of the shack I was trying to show the son and daughter, but from about a year or so earlier. Not nearly as good as what I might have taken if we hadn't been interrupted, but maybe next time. Or not depending on who's reading this...

Jamie-Yep, it's the house. The very one.

AM-There are 2 things we need to photograph this week. Remind me to tell you what they are.


Ghostless-That is exactly what I thought when I saw him pull away without saying anything. Even so, it was odd. Again, I'm not complaining. I would have just liked to have said hello so that he knew for sure we were friendly sorts.

daryl-He didn't get out of the car, nor did he roll down the window. Did not get the shot, but we will definitely stop there in July.

Trisha-The part that even the children couldn't get over was the swiftness of his descent. He probably did figure out our innocent adventure, and for that I'm very grateful.

NNG-Jeemny Mahstuhs, I probably did.

Meg-I can't believe that. I mean I can understand his concern but cannot understand why a person driving by a 4-yr-old relieving himself would feel compelled to stop and lecture the mother. Clearly he knew you were one of those maverick mothers who liked to flirt with danger and taunt the law.

Anonymous-I knew about the unfortunate incident there but am very intrigued by the woman and her corn-cob pipe. THAT is quite a story and a picture I wish I could have taken.

PG-Amen. Have I mentioned in the past 24 hours that you should be writing for a major publication if you aren't already? You have an incredible way with words.

ND-Me too.

Mrs. F-You are one very delightfully complex lady, full of exciting stories and brimming with humor. Speaking of humor when you said, "It's worth blushing for really" and then followed with, "There's a joke in there," I thought the rest of the sentence said, "but I'm too BLUSHED to think of one." This made me laugh even more. Thank you, even if you really said "bushed." Thank you.

OK, folks, I was supposed to be in bed 2 hours ago, and I've not done anything I was supposed to do today, plus tomorrow is another day at the paying job, which means runnin' on empty.

Thank you all for commenting and entertaining me. I truly, truly appreciate it.

STay tuned later this week for a birthday, a womanless beauty pageant and possibly a wedding. There's always something exciting going on around here...

Diane said...

Imagine the stories your children will have to tell when you are a youthful 93! I wonder if you will have written your second book yet?