Thursday, February 5, 2009

Contestant #1

Once again I have a picture from Commenter Breezeway's gorgeous Gwynn's Island cottage. For the two of you keeping track, this was taken the same morning as the picture of the tree limbs framing the moon. Speaking of the moon, here is a story about Moon, Virginia, which is in Mathews County.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who sent in (and are in the process of sending) entries for my little story writing contest. It's been a lot of fun reading them, and now we come to the process of sharing them.

As you may know, I am a rather unorganized, shoot-from-the-hip type of person, so the methodology I am using today may change an hour from now or even tomorrow or the next day, but for now here's what I'm thinking: I will publish each story submitted and will not divulge the name of the person (which would merely be the person's blogging/commenting name rather than true name). After I've shared all the stories, we will vote for the winner, probably by y'all sending me an e-mail so it can be private. We'll see. To be continued.

And now, without further ado, our first contestant.

Entry #1: Moon Over Mathews

I was first lucky enough to visit Moon, Va. in the early 1970’s with my college roommate “No Nook, of the North” (which is the name given, by me, after he spent a summer at Mt. McKinley Natl. Park, in Alaska). His parents rented an “old historic mansion” located with water access on some fertile land that was farmed by local tradesmen. We college kids came to think of “Moon” as our upscale vacation home on the bay. We fished, cooked, drank, ate, drank and were very merry, in Mathews. On occasion we’d attend a Friday night football game, or go to breakfast at the local diner. We even had a wedding at “Moon Palace”, a tribute to what it meant to so many of us.

After graduation, we would continue to make yearly treks, which as my memory starts to fail, brings visions of the movie, Big Chill, to mind. One of my favorite recollections is of a wedding we attended near Gloucester Courthouse, which unfortunately to our surprise was DRY! Being a typical smoldering summer day, we wasted no time in paying our polite best wishes and headed to the local liquor store to acquire many cases of malt brew. We made the mad dash to Moon Palace, shed our business attire and pulled the boat and fishing rods out of the garage. This was really no sportsmen’s event, it was an excuse to drink and get some sun, along with the good possibility of telling or hearing some lies.

After consuming 75% of the libations, being totally unprepared, we found ourselves in the middle of a bluefish feeding frenzy. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with this phenomenon, I can only clue you in, by saying that, “even the worst, most inept, fisher-person, will come away with a bounty of slimy trophies”. Fish were literally jumping in the boat for us, which was great…but then they spew their lunch all over the bottom of our craft. At this point, fairly well inebriated, we three are laughing uncontrollably, slipping, sliding and falling over each other, while trying to stay upright and keep the boat floating. That day turned out to be the biggest haul of many trips, but took a heavy toll on our energy and motivation. It was all we could do to get the boat back to shore, and in the garage, before dark. We were very proud and on our way, with a great “fish story”.

But it didn’t end there, for No week later to the day, he was back at Moon for a nice relaxing weekend. It was suddenly spoiled when he opened the garage door and the vilest stink hit him as the swarm of flies attacked his face. Sudden horrified realization that we hadn’t cleaned or even washed out the muck in the bottom of the boat! Story goes; he spent the entire weekend restoring the boat and the garage to something other than a rotting landfill.

My roommates’ family now owns a slightly more humble “New Moon Palace” on a different creek in Mathews, which thank heaven we are able to visit on a regular basis. Our times together are filled with great camaraderie and wonderful memories of days gone by.


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

For those of you unfamiliar with the smell of rotten fish, especially larger quantities of rotten fish, let's just say that if you bottled that stuff up it would be considered a lethal weapon.

Also, the smell combined with the heat combined with those flies will make a grown man cry.

A grown woman, too.

Angela said...

Good story. I once smelled a dead calf in Tennessee, but I can imagine many dead fish are far worse. Those were surely happy memories in Mathews. I`ll give it a hook on my contestants` roll.

Mental P Mama said...


Ann Marie said...

Oh gag! Thank goodness for the stuffed up nose this morning . it caused a mental block of remembering that smell. As the granddaughter of a waterman it was one of my girl child duties to pester the crap out of older boy cousin to ride with him on the way to deliver the fish to the cat food factory.. that smell is forever burned into my nostrils. The fish that went to said factory were one of two things.. either poor quality scrap fish or already half rotten!!! Imagine 4 hours in a truck that would go no faster that 33 mph with no AC in the dead heat of summer.. ok off to puke now..

Anonymous said...

I never knew that a little story could smell so bad, and I mean that as a compliment. My olfactory receptors were begging for mercy.



Anonymous said...

Whew! and P-ew!

What an unhappy task!

Glad you have such happy memories of Moon! That is one of my favorite areas of the county, I spent a good portion of my childhood knee-deep in a creek down there.


MommyTime said...

Looking forward to reading more of these, even the fishy ones. Also, must admit to being slightly bitter that I will be teaching during the Matthews weekend, since some of my favorite people are converging on your fair city.

foolery said...

But the residual rotting fish barf was key to the fish story, or else how could you be certain that the fish story was REAL, and not just another fish story? Even skeptical locals will believe you (especially if they happened to walk by the garage on a hot day).

This was great!

Anonymous said...

There are no words to describe the foulness of rotting fish:/

What a great story! I especially liked the "Big Chill" reference...

Anonymous said...

What an awesome picture, I totally love this!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I'm headed out the door to ANOTHER basketball game. A goooood one...I can't wait. Will be back on much later tonight.

Today's is such a great story because of the smell it conjures up-- without even trying. Those of us familiar with the stench of dead fish need only be told about the boat not being cleaned out, but that combined with confinement in a sweltering garage for days on end PLUS those nasty, nasty flies (they can kill you around here, they're as big as turkey buzzards and as mean as snakes and bite like Mike Tyson) is just enough to keep one's head shaking and face wrinkled up for a good long time.

And now, off to watch basketball.

Tomorrow comes yet another wonderful story.

Anonymous said...

This story is retold every year when Nonook and the author of this fish tale reunite on Stutt's Creek for a Little Chill, and grow nostalgic for their bachelor days - we've added more "characters" to our reunions, the fishing trips are less aromatic, but good times continue to roll In Mathews.

- Mrs. Nonook

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Mrs. Nonook - What a wonderful addition to this already fantastic story. Thank you for reading and commenting, and please come back and contribute again. (If you have more stories, send them to me. I'm always looking for more. I can't do this all by myself, you know.) So good to hear from you.

OK, I'm going to start loading up some more pictures and stories for the next several days so they will post automatically. I"m going to be gone from Friday afternoon through Sunday, but that won't stop this blog from plowing forward into Contestville!

We have many wonderful stories coming up, and tomorrow's is especially exciting because I happen to know (or know of) The Main Character. As will many other Mathewsians.