Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tin Can Alley

I started off with the right idea for this picture, but it did not turn out the way I planned. I should have zoomed back/backzoomed/dezoomed/taken the camera lens back more. (As you can tell, I am a very seasoned photographer and am comfortable with all the lingo. Actually, the only thing I know about zooming is a convenience store here called Zooms. Guess what you can get there? Did I hear someone say beef jerky?)

Tin Can Alley is a small public beach located on Gwynn's Island, which is my favorite place in Mathews and the world, even though I have not seen much more of the world. There are only a few points (two or three) on the island where the beach is open to the public. Most of the rest is privately owned (and gorgeous, may I say).

My father's mother, also known as my grandmother, but for some reason I always refer to her as my father's mother, I've got issues, let's keep going here, used to take my sisters and I here on occasion. At the time she was probably in her 70's, but she was a spry thing who walked many miles every morning delivering people's newspapers. She also very rarely ate and was as skinny as a rake. In short, she was in good shape for an old gal.

One particular time she took us here it was sweltering hot, one of those days when you can hardly catch your breath and even the water feels like a sauna. The stinging nettles were out in full force, and of course I got stung. (I don't know why people, for example my children, make such a big fuss over getting stung by a nettle. It does hurt a bit at first, but it goes away quickly. And I've even fallen down skiing before and had them wrapped around my neck. Actually, that did hurt. As usual, I've side tracked from the story. Let's return, shall we?)

It just seemed like we were burning up hot, getting stung too often, and biting flies were starting to swarm. If you've never been eaten alive by these things, thank your lucky stars. Biting flies (that's their scientific name, derived from the Latin word for biting, which is known as insectus insipidus) should be let loose on our country's enemies. It is a cruel form of torture that has you quickly jumping up and down, swatting and cussing like a sailor. You will continue swatting and thinking flies are landing on you for a good hour after you're safely indoors. Once again, I am off track.

Anyway, my sisters and I were very antsy to leave. My grandmother finally agreed it was time to go, and back to the car we went. After piling in, she realized she couldn't find her keys. We were sweaty, hot, sandy, burning up from nettles and biting flies and were in no mood to be sitting in a smoldering, hot car waiting for her to find her keys. Rewind and repeat that last sentence for about half an hour, which was when she finally decided to walk down the road, approach someone's house and ask if she could borrow their phone. She called home and had my uncle bring us a spare set of keys.

My uncle decided to look around for the original keys before giving her the spare set. In about two seconds, he located them. They were in the floor* of the car underneath the driver's seat. My grandmother, looking baffled, said, "How on Earth did those keys pop out from the ignition to underneath the seat?" She kept asking this over and over again. (I should probably explain that it is not uncommon to leave keys in the ignition in Mathews, even today. Clearly that's what she thought she'd done. The chances of someone stealing a car were virtually nonexistent.)

For a while, she had me believing that it was possible for them to spontaneously pop out of the ignition. I would crinkle up my nose and shake my head in disbelief. Something didn't make sense.

That's because, while she may have been spry and in good shape, she just might have been showing signs of her age. She put those keys in the floor* and forgot she put them there, and absolutely would not admit it. And it wasn't until I was much older that I figured that out, even though it doesn't take an Einstein to have figured it out to begin with. I blame it all on the poison from the stinging nettles and those daggone biting flies.

Now I've got to think up a good reason why I lose my keys on a daily basis. Perhaps it's genetic.


*Note: My roommate from college to this day finds it peculiar that I always say something is "in the floor" rather than "on the floor." I have no explanation for that other than to say most everything around here is peculiar to an outsider. And to some insiders, too.


Mental P Mama said...

I love Mathews! And I hate those biting flies. Great post! And beautiful shots as always.

MommyTime said...

This is a fantastic story. I remember being eaten by sand fleas in New Zealand once, and I thought I was going to lose my mind if I had to stay on that sandy outlook one more second. So, yes, all manner of sand-borne winged biting varmints should be used to torture anyone who deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the much-needed chuckle. You crack me up, you silly thing you. I'm picturing granny as this old-timer, but my own mommy dearest is in her 70s. She'd be appalled if someone called her an oldster. But when you're a kid, everyone over the age of 20 is ancient, or totally cool, depending on your state of mind. Now I'm reminded of a trip to see my paternal granny when I was 18. She lived in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and I had only seen her a few times in my life, so this was a chance to get to bond with old granny (who was probably only in her 60s!). Well, on the way back from picking me up at the airport, she hit another car, and we spent hours on the side of the road with the cops, who couldn't stop rolling their eyes at my wild granny who couldn't stop hollering that it wasn't her fault (it most certainly was) and there I was just trying to "make peace" by gently attempting to calm crazy old granny down. She turned to me waving her finger and screeched "DON'T SHUSH ME, LITTLE KAFFY!" Can you imagine how the rest of the trip went? Suffice it to say I never returned to Truth or Consequences. But I guess her grumpiness sustained her because she lived to be 100. Amen.

Bear Naked said...

Another great story that started out in the east went north then south with a detour to the west a short drive north and then east finally arriving at the final destination. Wheww!
You do know how to tell a good story.

And I understood your technical jargon for that zoomy thing-a-ma-jig also.

Anonymous said...

Horseflies, Bitingflies, and Mayflies. They all bite and it hurts. I hate it when you are in the sweltering heat, and something has to happen to delay you. Much like the bridge getting stuck open Ha! This story reminds me of when I was a child and we used to go to the beach and pool. Nice picture! Hope you had a better time at the beach today than you did that time.

foolery said...

Biting flies must be what we become when we're REALLY REALLY bad -- if you believe in reincarnation, which I do, but only for biting flies.