Monday, August 31, 2009

A Break

The Chesapeake Bay Children and I are trying to squeeze the last bit of life from summer this week, and in order to do that I need to take a break from blogging. Please understand that just typing the last three words of that first sentence cause me to convulse and break into a sweat, but I have to face facts, and the fact is I don't own a laptop (or as my father calls it, a flaptop).

Although I debated pre-loading enough posts to carry me through this week, I never got around to it, so I have to do another thing that causes me to convulse--not post until next Sunday or Monday. Yes, I am breaking my streak.

Please enjoy the break from my rambling thoughts, run-on sentences and mindless, one-way banter and consider it my end-of-summer gift to you.

To encourage you to come back here each day in spite of no rambling drivel regular posts, I'm declaring this Tell Me Three Things Week. Each day you can leave a comment with three things, anything you want. An observation, a complaint, a random thought, whatever you want.

Tell me three things each day.

I'll start:

1. I wrote an article on Short Lane Ice Cream in Gloucester for Chesapeake Style, a free, local publication. It's coming out in the September issue. This is the first time I've ever been paid to write something. Yay!

2. I have a million ideas on ways to earn money doing things I actually enjoy, but due to the job that pays the bills I don't have the time to pursue them.

Some of these ideas include selling pictures (and making my own frames using lumber from old structures around here including our barn next door); partnering with the local visitor center and businesses to create interesting package deals for visitors; making a documentary or a film about Mathews which would entail interviewing many of the older citizens and having them talk about days gone by; writing a book; and the one that I really want to do the most: developing a weekly TV series that would focus on local topics of interest - such as metal detecting historic homes; touring the local churches; the seafood industry and earning a living off the water; farming; boating; etc. etc. My ideas on this TV series alone are absolutely endless, and I really think I could make it interesting and funny.

But I don't have time to pursue any of it.

3. I hope that you all have a great week and a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Silent Sunday

Perceive and rejoice that life is abundant, that beauty and goodness
are amply available . . . that your happiness is in your hands.
- Paul Hodges

Nothing is worth more than this day.
- Goethe

Saturday, August 29, 2009


In spite of all outward appearances, this is not a photo of blurry cedar trees. It was an attempt to capture those purple wildflowers and the butterfly, which was flitting from place to place making it very difficult for this self-taught photographer who has yet to master moving objects. (She also has yet to master succinct sentences, although fleeting, unrelated thoughts seem to be well under control.)

Anywho, these beautiful flowers, which were four or five feet tall, sprung up in our daffodil field. (The daffodils only live there in the spring; the rest of the year it's a bulb field full of weeds which the Chesapeake Bay Children love to fly through on the J. Deere Gator. See above about succinct sentences vs. superfluous words and thoughts.)

Every summer my father lets the field grow up wild until the neighbors start to complain the pre-fall cutting. This summer some unusual, brightly colored wildflowers took up residence in the weeds: these tall, lanky purples, a couple of short reds and some brilliant yellows, all interspersed among the Queen Anne's Lace. They were quite the surprise in an otherwise dull, overgrown field.

Speaking of surprises, yesterday I went to Hudgins Post Office to pick up thirty months' days' worth of mail. Nothing good comes in my mail, so I avoid going at all costs.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the p.o. box to see a small package from New York City. Not a bill, not junk mail, but a card and a stroke of luck from Daryl, who sent me a good luck elephant. If I had real internet, I'd show a picture of it now, but since dial-up requires me to stockpile photos and be at the mercy of whatever is in stock, I'll have to wait until the year 2014 I have time to upload some more pictures to show it to you.

The bottom line is Daryl's package was an unexpected beautiful butterfly landing in my otherwise tired, overgrown day.

Thank you, Daryl, for such a wonderful surprise.

p.s. The Farmers Almanac website states that some Native American tribes believe butterflies are lucky; that if you catch one, whisper your wish to it and set it free, the butterfly will deliver your wish to the spirits, who will grant it.

Friday, August 28, 2009


True or False:

1. The headline of this week's local paper says: "Bears feel right at home in Gloucester." Next are three pictures of a bear the size of King Kong a grizzly breaking into a resident's birdfeeder.

2. The Coleman Bridge, which connects Mathews and Gloucester Counties with all major hospitals and emergency medical services many places including a hospital, which may be necessary after being mauled by a bear, will be closed for six hours on Sunday. An ordinary closure lasting 15 or so minutes is enough to create chatter, but a six-hour closure when bears are running rampant feeling right at home is borderline crazy another story entirely.

3. A weather disturbance over Puerto Rico that was supposed to cause some "potentially interesting weather patterns" is now a baby hurricane ready to cut his teeth on the Eastern Seaboard, which happens to be approximately the same location as the grizzlies brown bears and the major bridge closure and Chesapeake Bay Woman.

Answers: 1 - True. 2- True. 3- True. 4- I need to get out of here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Thing Thursday

Step right up, folks!

It's Three Ring Circus Thursday Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things, anything at all, and you share three things, whatever you want.

1. For more than a few years months now, I've been unable to start my car unless the keys were jiggled--just so--in the ignition. Here lately, the jiggling has resorted to something we can only call "ugly" and "not right." Truth be told, I have a blister on my right forefinger due to this unnecessary jiggling, and I'm not sure which hurts worse: the blister or the over-use of the word "jiggle" in this paragraph.

2. After five hours of sleep the night before and a long commute/full day of work yesterday, I returned home last night to the distinct smell of Death on the back patio. Hoping this was merely the culmination of weeks days worth of trash piled up, I quickly realized that in fact Death was indeed at my doorstep in the form of a muskrat which had been baking in the four thousand ninety-degree sun all day long.

3. Because I'm as old as the hills For some reason, I'm listening and re-listening to Peter Frampton and Jackson Browne with far more patience and admiration than I did originally.

Now it's your turn. Tell us three things, anything at all. Three is only a guideline, and you're encouraged to color outside the guidelines, because that's where the fun lives.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This old Cadillac rests peacefully on the side of the road in a neighboring county. Cadillacs are nice cars, no doubt, but we sure didn't see a whole lot of 'em growing up in Mathews County. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever ridden in one at all. I was fortunate enough to ride in a Lincoln Continental a few times with my grandmother's sister. If you can stay awake until the end of this post, you'll be the only one understand how.

My Great Aunt Viola, who we called Vollie because nobody could say Viola--and by the way, it was pronounced VOW-la, not Vie-OH-la, VOWla and this sentence is now over because I forgot the verb. Also? Her sister/my grandmother Bernice's name was pronounced BERniss, emphasis on the first syllable.

(Asleep yet? Hang tight. It's only a matter of time.)

Anywho, Vollie was married to a man named Douglas who owned M&G Transportation in Gloucester. M&G, which stands for Mathews and Gloucester, was in the building that's currently a seafood operation right next to the old antique store which used to be where my English teacher (Mrs. Martin) lived on Route 14...near that silo that has the pumpkin on it. Also, Chesapeake Bay Father used to drive tractor trailers for Douglas, and that's how he met Chesapeake Bay Mother.

(NOW are you asleep? If not, surely you're in a coma.)

Vollie was one of the funniest people who ever graced this planet, and that's a fact. She was an odd combination of Lilly Tomlin meets the Three Stooges--all three of them. Her laugh alone was hilarious, but the stories that came along with it--told in that slow, thick Tidewater accent--were even better. She was so funny she made herself laugh.

Sometimes it was hard to believe she was my dear Nanny's sister. Nanny worked jobs ranging from country store owner to janitor at Eastern State Hospital all her life. With just enough money to scrape by, lacking both a driver's license and a car, she had to walk to the store to buy groceries even in her sixties. Vollie had her own cook and drove a lap dog named Pepper around in a Lincoln Continental (or as Archie Bunker calls it a Lincoln Contarental).

In spite of the difference in creature comforts, though, you'd never know they were anything but sisters if you saw them together. The only discernible difference was Vollie was the happy, funny one and Nanny was the cautious one worrying about everything.

Although I've told this about Great Aunt Vollie before (thousands of posts ago, I'm sure you remember....are you asleep YET?), it is worth repeating. One time she and my mother were in the grocery store, and, spying some shrimp Vollie exclaimed very loudly, "Oh look! It's cock shrimptail!" She was also the one who was dying to see the movie Porkies and didn't discover until well after the movie started that, much to her chagrin, it had nothing to do with Porky the Pig.

She never intended to be funny, but she always was. I miss her and her dog named Pepper, but most of all I miss her laughter and that of those lucky enough to see the Vollie Show.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This gorgeous green field is loaded with soybeans, which are very plentiful in and around Mathews, Gloucester and Middlesex from summer through early fall.

According to that handy dandy publication which is found on everyone's coffee table, The 1962 Mathews County Soil Survey, soybeans "are replacing a substantial part of the acreage formerly used for corn, and in 1954 a total of 3,115 acres was used in soybeans."

According to the site, "Agriculture...remains an important part of our economy. There are 61 farms in the county of an average size of 101 acres. The principal crops are corn, wheat and soybeans."

This doesn't tell us how many acres of soybeans are currently grown, but a completely inaccurate, non-factually-based, unscientific, and mathematically-averse Chesapeake Bay Woman Guesstimate is as follows and I quote: "There appear to be many acres of soybeans around here, and they are very pretty."

No, Chesapeake Bay Woman is not a second grader, she just plays one on the internet.

Continuing on with the fact-based portion of this post...

The Mathews Soil Survey goes on to say that, "In general, farmers in the county are not using high rates of fertilization. It is thought, however, that crop yields can be economically increased if farmers use improved practices, as follows:

A 3-year cropping system is used: First year, corn (a small grain is seeded in the fall); second year, small grain and tall fescue; third year, soybeans followed by a winter cover crop.

My grandfather, the commercial daffodil grower, leased some of his land to farmers who grew corn and soybeans on a rotating cycle. Growing up I never paid any attention whatsoever to these crops; in fact they were rather boring to me and I couldn't figure out what in the heck a soybean was. Nobody ate soybeans. No one ever explained what they were used for, so I was rather suspicious.....until later in life when I had a Boca Burger....

Now driving by a huge soybean field like the one above makes me want to dive headfirst into that gorgeous sea of green and swim for hours. As fall approaches, however, the beans turn a crispy brown before being harvested, leaving a dusty, very dull colored field which looks nothing like the one above.

In conclusion, I love summer, soybeans and green. I hate winter, drab fields and crispy brown vegetation.

The End.

Looking Forward to Third Grade

Monday, August 24, 2009


Way off in the distance in this picture is Wolf Trap Light, and way off in the distance this weekend was the Chesapeake Bay Family.

Yes, the Chesapeake Bay Family who does not get out much--if ever--traveled out of town for a mini reunion of sorts.

Big Hair Envy arranged a wonderful get-together to cheer up Mental P. Mamma, who passed through Richmond on her way home to an empty nest after dropping her daughter off at school. Momx2, who lives nearby, joined the festivities which included a lovely evening of talking and eating and laughing and eating and talking and eating. We also ate, in between bottles sips of wine, wheelbarrow-sized platters of ravioli, beef, mashed potatoes, chicken parmesan, two types of salads, desserts the size of Nebraska, one aspirin and three Rolaids.

The Chesapeake Bay Children spent some quality time with their aunt (Baby Sis) viewing their favorite movie, the critically acclaimed Norbit.

It was great reuniting with some of the Blog Festers, and I think it is time to start planning the next event, which sounds as though it's going to be in Mathews again. Remind me to get right on that after Christmas, which will be next week the way time is flying by.

Also remind me to talk about how uncomfortable I felt being in a densely populated urban area this past weekend. It's astonishing how reclusive I've become since returning to live in Mathews after spending my young adult life frolicking in the big city. I truly love living in this remote Last Frontier and would do just fine if I never saw another mall or shopping center again.

But I can't wait to see the Blog Fest Ladies again, and next summer seems way too far away. The Oyster Festival in November presents a wonderful opportunity for another gathering if anyone's interested....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Silent Sunday

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.
-S.A. Jefferson-Wright

If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.
-Marvin Gaye

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Doors

The shed above is a combination workshop/garage outside an old house near Onemo.

Last week I was driving around and was drawn to it. Lo and behold, there was a For Sale sign in the yard. Trespassing was definitely not involved because it's for sale and I'd love to buy an old farmhouse one day. This one would be perfect. For now we'll ignore the finer details involving lack of funds; as I say I was just looking. The pictures were needed in case I win the lottery and need to refresh my memory on what my new farmhouse will look like.

Yes, that's it.

This is a completely different door from a completely different garage/workshop. For the record, I wasn't trespassing on this occasion either, because I know the owner.

I love how these two pictures from completely different locations complement each other. I also love old buildings, old doors, and old windows.

You can call me weird, that's OK. Just don't call me a trespasser....

Friday, August 21, 2009


I took this about a week ago down Onemo near the public landing and keep meaning to tell the story associated with that trip but never have time. In case I forget, it involves CBW in strange surroundings; a waterman who thinks CBW is up to no good; an old man and a tractor. How's that for suspense? Now let's talk about something completely unrelated: unusual names.

In the book Gwynn's Island Times, News Items from the Mathews Journal (1905-1937) and the Gazette Journal (1937-1950), compiled by Elsa Cooke Verbyla, there is an interesting story from 1942 relating to a homecoming week for some Merchant Marine captains. They were visiting family in between trips and came together for a supper on Gwynn's Island. There was good food and good story telling, but this, in particular, caught my eye:

"...Captain Percolator Hudgins is 41. He is the son of Capt. Charlie (Coffee Pot) Hudgins and Mrs. Hudgins, at sea 24 years on the East Coast and the Caribbean. His son, "Dripolator," was there too.....Captain Percolator carries a rabbit's foot and also a "sacred" elephant. He says he rubs the rabbit's foot every day and strokes the "snoot" of the elephant for luck. The elephant came from India. He is another of the Island skippers who came up through the "hawsepipe" route and refuses to be worried about the submarine menace. Asked his full name, he said, "If you don't call me Percolator nobody here and at sea would know who you are talking about."
from page 112, Gwynn's Island Times

I wonder if Dripolator had a son. What would his name be? I'll go with Mr. Coffee or Coffee Cup.

More importantly, I need an elephant from India. Good luck is not something running rampant around the CBW household.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three Thing Thursday

Welcome to a regular weekly occurrence here, known as Drivel Day Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things and you share three things - whatever you want, anything at all. Random, unrelated or totally related, it makes no difference. Coloring outside the lines is encouraged.

Let's begin with my three essays which stretch to China things:

1. The photo above is of billowy, pillowy clouds and green, green acres. I can't see the words "green acres" without hearing "Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me. Land spreadin' out so far and wide...Keep Manhattan just give me that countryside." Oh how I loved Arnold the Pig. He spoke to me, in my own language words I understood.

2. It is mid-August. Trying to block out the monotony of my hour-long drive home from work today I forced myself to leave the comfort zone of my ridiculously predictable radio stations and tuned into a channel where they were discussing bossy women and their impact on men, not that I couldn't teach that class, but anyway on one of the breaks they were advertising for a New Year's Eve party. In August they're talking about New Years. Pre-Labor Day. Pre-Halloween. Pre-Haven't Even Had a Minute to Enjoy Summer Yet But Who Cares Because New Years Is Around the Corner. And for the record, what happened to July 4th? It didn't show up this year.

3. It's my goal to enjoy every last shred of summer with the Chesapeake Bay Children that I can. Since I also have paying jobs to attend to, this may mean skipping a few posts here and there in Hot Airville, Run-On Sentenceville Life in Mathews.

3.5 While you're doing your happy dance at the prospect of a break in the insanity, I'm going to focus on ways to suck the most life out of the last few weeks of summer that is humanly possible.

It's your turn. Please tell us 3 or more things, anything at all, whatever you want. If 3 is too constricting, toss that number right out the window and leave 300 things. Let it all out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Last week through a freak accident, a story better left for when I can relay long-winded posts, I stumbled upon a Mathews County public landing (pictured above) heretofore unknown to me. The name, of course, is elusive since remembering anything names requires a certain attention to anything detail.

Yesterday I promised to avoid long-winded posts, so I can't explain how I found this landing nor what happened there. I also can't explain to you how mystified I am that the sea gulls, the dock, the crab pots and the water are all the same drab color.

But I can ask you to leave a comment in which you compare and contrast the 3 seagulls on the dock. In addition to their similarities and differences, what are they thinking or getting ready to say?

Perhaps these seagulls are thinking about taking out a mortgage bond. We may never know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pear Tree Cemetery II

Since this post stretches from here to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and back with a side trip to Texas, I'd like to make this as easy as possible by dividing it up into three parts: bad, worse and worst. Part One in green is mostly Chesapeake Bay Woman's whining about her demonic-like computer and her need for a vacation. If you don't want to hear any bellyaching, then skip to Part Two in blue, which is information that should be reasonably accurate because Chesapeake Bay Woman did not write it - rather she stole it saw it on the internet and copied it here for your reference. Part Three is where you swear that you're never coming back to this long-winded site again. You may wish to fast forward straight to that section.
Yesterday I was trying to tell about my little jaunt to Pear Tree Cemetery down Onemo, but my computer very rudely interrupted me by stubbornly refusing to do anything I asked of it, sending my blood pressure to all new heights. As if that wasn't enough, at exactly 3:00 a.m. this morning it completely rebooted--loud enough to awaken me, all on its own after making some highly unusual sounds.

After you've spent the majority of the evening writing and thinking about cemeteries, old graves, and people who are long gone, and then your computer decides to act possessed at 3:00 a.m., you start to get a little scared. Of course, when I say "you start to get a little scared" I really mean I was so scared I couldn't get back to sleep until after 4, just in time for my alarm clock to go off a short hour later.

Note to Self: I need a vacation. Note to Santa Claus: I would love a new computer and high-speed internet. And some Hypnose perfume (along with the scented lotion) by Lancome. If you're too busy around Christmas, you can send it sooner. Thank you.

Anyway, what I wanted to convey was even though there are many Confederate graves in Mathews, they are scattered hither thither and yon--and this was the first time I'd seen so many in the same place ...decorated with the flags.

After doing a quick internet search on the cemetery, I came upon a site which listed all the soldiers with the last name of Hudgins who served in the Civil War. There were over 53 of them, and several (some of which are listed below) are buried here in Pear Tree.

Hudgins is a very prolific name in Mathews, I must know a million a couple dozen people/families with that last name, which is also the name of my post office. In a quick glance at a genealogical website, they listed a Sukey Hudgins who was born in 1760. 1760. That's an awful long time ago, and yet the name is still going strong here in Mathews.

Coincidentally, 1760 was also the same year my computer was manufactured. I think it might have even belonged to Sukey
The Mathews Light Artillery was organized during July 1861. A total of 72 men enlisted in the unit on July 18 or 20, 1861. The balance of the year was spent in organization and training. Available records indicate that the Mathews Light Artillery began as Company H, 61st Virginia Militia, and continued under that designation until that unit was disbanded on May 14, 1862.

Little detail is known of the organization and training of the Mathews Light Artillery. Its organization, however, was unusually stable. Its officers served together, without promotions or transfers, for the entire war.


Enl. 2/14/65 in Henrico Co. Pres. on 2/28/65 roll. Deserted on 3/18/65, sent to the Provost Marshal in Washington, DC.
Buried in the Pear Tree Cem., Mathews Co., VA.
Mathews Light Artillery

Born: 10/4/1842, Mathews Co. VA
Death: 9/16/1922, Mathews Co. VA
Buried: Pear Tree Cemetery, Route 677, Mathews Co. VA
Rank: 2nd Sgt.
Enl. 7/18/61 at Mathews C.H. Pres. on all rolls as Pvt. Paroled at Appomattox C.H. on 4/9/65 as Sgt. WIA late in war. In U. S. Army XXIV Corps Field Hosp. 4/11/65. In Petersburg Gen. Hosp. 5/1/65 for treatment of wound in left arm. Discharged from hosp. on taking oath on 5/19/65, then age 22. Superintendent of the Poor at Fitchetts, postwar. Mathews Light Artillery

DIGGS, JOSEPH. R.: Bugler, Enl. on ?. Paroled at Appomattox C.H., VA on 4/9/65. NFR. On 1909 Mathews Co. Pension list drawing benefits under act of 1902. Buried in the Pear Tree Cem., Mathews Co., VA

DIGGS, THOMAS J. (#2): Enl. on 10/9/62 in Henrico Co. Listed on a variety of clothing receipts. Pres. on all muster rolls. D. 1/11/1905, age 66. Buried in the Pear Tree Cem., Mathews Co., VA.

MINTER, ELIJAH T.: Corp., Enl. on 7/18/61 at Mathews C.H. Pres. on all rolls. 6th Corp. o n 4/30/64. 4th Corp. on 10/31/64. Paroled at Appomattox C.H., VA on 4/9/65. B. 2/18/1841 D. 10/17/1924. Buried in the Pear Tree Cem., Mathews Co., VA.

MORGAN, CHARLES P.: Enl. on 5/1/63 in Henrico Co. Pres. on all rolls. On 1909 Mathews Co. Pension list drawing benefits under act of 1902. B. 1845 D. 1922. Buried in the Pear Tree Cem., Mathews Co., VA.

Enl. 10/9/62 in Henrico Co. Pres. on all rolls. Paroled at Appomattox C.H., VA on 4/9/65. Mathews Light Artillery Buried Pear Tree, marker Armistead’s Co. Va L Arty C.S.A

If you come back tomorrow I promise not to write any posts this long again. At least not this week

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pear Tree Cemetery

Click on the image above for a better glimpse of the Confederate flag waaaay in the background.

(It's easy enough to see the one in the foreground unless, like me, you need reading glasses for up close vision and contact lenses for distance vision and regular old glasses for watching TV and...could someone just call Mathews Convalescent Center and reserve a room for me? Thanks.)

Below is one of my favorite pictures of late, if only I had zoomed in a little more and put the tombstones in balance and centered/focused on the flag a little more. The flag peeking around the corner of the tombstone just does something to me, I'm not quite sure what. Perhaps it's the stark contrast between the drab, ancient tombstones and the bright, vivid colors of the flag. Maybe it's the flag taking a furtive glimpse around the corner to see if anyone's looking.

The other day, realizing I hadn't taken any new pictures in a month of Sundays, I ventured out in search of new things. Many times I've driven by Pear Tree Cemetery down Onemo, but I never took the time to stop and absorb it. What looks like a tiny, ordinary cemetery from the road actually is quite a wonderland after you turn into the driveway.

One of the biggest surprises was the abundance of Confederate graves.

Tomorrow I'll write more about what I found, but right now my computer is begging me to beat it with a sledgehammer and I am trying to be polite and suggest that maybe we just need some time apart to let the tension cool off a bit.

However, in case there is no Life in Mathews post on Tuesday, understand that I am attending a funeral service for my computer, only there will be no flags waving on the grave.

There might be a frizzy-haired woman dancing on top of it, though.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Silent Sunday

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

(p.s. Last summer I posted this picture of a sunset at Hills Bay but it's time for a rerun.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Warehouse Road

For once, this is not an example of Chesapeake Bay Woman's inability to hold a camera straight. No, if you look at the line of trees in the background you'll see that the camera is level but it's the house that's leaning.

About a week ago on my way back from Gloucester, I took a side trip down Warehouse Landing Road, which is near Gloucester Court House in between Long Bridge Ordinary and Hodges and Bryant. The road winds through some cute houses and lovely fields before coming to a dead end at the public landing where this huge old house barely clings to life.

I have wondered many times what this used to be. It had to be associated with the landing, the river and a warehouse given the name of the road (unless it is really Ware House Road, named for this house sitting near the Ware River.)

Maybe it was a hotel? Maybe it was the home of some wealthy farmer who shipped his goods from this spot to parts unknown. Maybe--just maybe--Chesapeake Bay Woman does not know what in the hay she is talking about. Ding ding ding ding ding! Bingo!

I've asked my mother, who used to live right off this road, what this was, and I am pretty sure she doesn't know. (I"ll check again tonight since she's fixing me supper next door. Shrimp, crab claws, stewed tomatoes, garden-fresh salad, oh how I love her cooking.)

Anywho, if anybody out there knows anything about this old house perched high atop a hill overlooking the Ware River at the end of Warehouse Road, please let me know. The obvious answer is it was a farmhouse, but something in the back of the deep, dark recesses of my mind tells me there was more to it than that, I just can't recall what.

If you want to wager a guess, please take a stab at it. There are no wrong answers here in Chesapeake Bay Woman's World, only wrong numbers, inaccurate statements, and mindless chatter.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pop Quiz

What a serene vista this is. A glassy creek; a willowy cattail; the sporadic morning glory. This is what I prefer to focus on today rather than anything that has happened this week, up to and especially including yesterday, when the Chesapeake Bay Children and I went to Busch Gardens (a Williamsburg amusement park which was my former summer employer) to celebrate CB Son's birthday thanks to a wonderful human being who gave us tickets.

Today we're launching right into a pop quiz. Pick up your #2 pencils. Ready? Begin.

1. When your son says he wants to go to Busch Gardens for his birthday, and you don't want to go, but somehow, independent of all the birthday shenanigans and financial worries, you end up with free tickets, what is this called?

a) Kismet
b) Parenthood
c) The Higher Power's way of telling you there's no way around going to Busch Gardens, a place you gladly frequented as a young adult but which now requires heavy sedation for enduring neck-lurching rides and throngs of lifeforms, some of which may be human.
d) B and C

2. The only time this year you frequent an amusement park, what will the weather be like?

a) Africa hot
b) Rain forest humid, which provides the perfect breeding ground for insects, frizzy hair, and the N1H1 virus which leaps to your nasal cavities and lungs from the infected people being herded to their imminent demise in perfectly legal torture devices death traps.
c) The bottom will drop out of the sky.
d) Really, does it even matter what the weather does when you've contracted swine flu while waiting in line to willingly set foot in a death trap?

3. When it's hotter than the wheels on a race car; so humid you need scuba gear to breathe; and you're stuck in a line with 10,000 people due to Hurricane Flossie passing through, what is the prevailing odor from which there is no escape (other than death from swine flu)?

a) Stale urine
b) Stale pee
c) Stale #1
d) Yes. That's right. That. In thick, heavy, wet air already laden with the swine flu virus.

4. The best time to exit an amusement park is:

a) Before you enter the gates
b) Before you agree to the 3-D experience, which really should be called a 3-heave experience.
c) When your throat starts bleeding from screaming on rides you'd previously sworn against, all for the sake of your son's birthday.
d) The End.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three Thing Thursday

Welcome to Three Ring Circus Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things with you, and you share three (or more, there's really no limit) things with me.

On your mark. Get set? Go.

1. Today is Chesapeake Bay Son's birthday. 14 years ago I was ready to be institutionalized due to 36 hours of pain concerned for his future due to a horror story better left untold for now. Immediately after he was born, all I heard was silence and all I saw was a swarm of white coats. The lady doctor leaning over me asked if I had any questions. "Will he have any lingering problems?" I feebly croaked. She couldn't tell me anything one way or another with any degree of conviction. Then I was shot up with morphine and I saw the most delightful fairies dancing and The End.

2. Thankfully, he turned out perfectly healthy and is the most wonderful son and older brother and friend a person could wish for.

3. Above, he is attempting to save minnows stranded by the low tide. Also, he's trying to torture his sister by making her hold one. (He is obligated to do this based on the Older Sibling Instruction Manual, page 2, first paragraph.)

Now it's your turn to tell me three (or more, really) things. Anything you want. Whatever is on your mind.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fried Chicken

This is a picture of the beautiful cemetery outside of Gloucester's Ware Episcopal Church, which I drive by four thousand four hundred multiple times a week since we all have to drive through here to get Most Anywhere Else.

Gloucester is where my favorite grandmother Nanny (CB Mother's mother)lived.

Today as I was enduring another painful day at the paying job while juggling the various aspects of this thing known as My Life, I had a flashback to a time when everything was wonderful, all was good, there were no troubles other than the occasional ornery sister. It was the era of Nanny's fried chicken.

Nobody makes fried chicken the old-fashioned way any more, or if they do they do not invite me to help them eat it, and I'm not happy about that.

Nanny, who lacked not only a car but a driver's license, walked from Corr Street near Boutetourt School to what is now the Gloucester Library, which at one time was a Safeway. Or she'd walk to Leigh's Market, where I stole a candy bar for reasons I still don't understand other than sheer starvation. Sometimes we'd saunter down to the Wallace and What's His Name--Wallace and Gerly? Colonial Store? Something like that, in the shopping center where the Sears now resides.

(There will be an open-book quiz after you wake up from reading these exhausting, superfluous details.)

My point is, we had to walk a long way to buy one whole chicken.

Also? Nanny used to own a country store at the old Gloucester Day School/Ware Academy, so she was a shrewd shopper. Never trusting the cashiers, she checked the price tags against her receipt when she returned home. If she was overcharged by one cent, we were marching back down there to collect our penny, whether we were starving to death to the point of stealing a candy bar or not.

Back at the house, she'd bring out a big pot of water, load it up with salt and soak the chicken whole for hours. Then she'd cut it up, dredge it in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and plop it into a cast-iron skillet that was older than dirt. Crisco was the grease of choice.

Many Sundays the Chesapeake Bay Family, bickering incessantly, would hop in the VW bus to have Sunday dinner with Nanny. Her famous fried chicken was almost always the main course, served with heavenly mashed potatoes, sweet peas, stewed tomatoes and hot buttered rolls. Whatever bickering there was ceased, as did any and all conversation. Can't talk. Eating.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I returned from the paying job this evening after a particularly rough past couple of days, and there sitting on the kitchen table, piping hot and ready to devour, was a platter of homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes and corn on the cob, all meticulously handmade by Chesapeake Bay Mother who watches the CB Children for me during the week and knows I've had a trying spell.

That wonderful mother apple doesn't fall far from the chicken-frying grandmother tree. Or our family tree is loaded with wonderful apples who are chicken fryers. Or I'll stop now because otherwise I'd drone on until forever tomorrow.

Or, I miss my grandmother but am grateful for Chesapeake Bay Mother who can make everything right with a perfectly-timed plate of fried chicken.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This beautiful green against blue against white happened a while back when Chesapeake Bay Daughter and I ventured out to the county beach even though it was past our bedtime of After Supper o'clock. The sun was behind us and provided great light for any pictures aimed eastward. Just look at how that grass glows.

Speaking not of that at all, let's talk about fried oysters. Or rather, let's start off talking about a noble oyster project, and then let's move right on into the consumption of delicious, delectable, crispy, fried oysters.

Strap on your bibs. Ready? Let's go.

Today's Daily Press talked about a wonderful program (which no doubt has a name, but which I cannot recall) sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation which involves ordinary people growing oysters.

For only $30 you can purchase 1,000 native oyster seeds which you plant in rows, two inches apart, in full sun, and then sprinkle with Miracle Grow.

No, don't do that. That's how you grow 568,422,169.5 red-hot chili peppers which all come ready to pick at the same time and which cause a very distinct and only slightly painful glow to the skin when consumed by the very stressed, now fire-breathing-dragon-like gardener.

Rather, for $30 you can purchase oyster seeds to plant along your dock, as long as you return the oysters for planting on sanctuary reefs the following year.

Why this is important is as follows:

1. Adult oysters filter up to 50 gallons of water a day removing algae and sediment.

2. The Urbanna Oyster Festival is the first weekend in November, and we wouldn't want them to run short on fried oysters.

3. Oyster reefs provide habitats for more than 300 different plants and animals.

4. Oysters should only be consumed in months that contain the letter "r". While this might be a wives tale, the fact is that months containing "r" tend to be colder and nothing good can come of eating an oyster plucked from warm waters unless it's the hot grease of a fry basket. None of this has anything to do with the oyster-growing program, by the way.

Remember, the Urbanna Oyster Festival is the first week in November, which is only two blinks of an eye away, just one wink before Christmas. Not only do I smell fried oysters, but I'm also smelling whiffs of a repeat Blog Fest-like gathering for anyone interested.

Big Hair Envy, Noe Noe Girl and Momx2 are sure to be on board given their proximity to this Celebration of Heavenly Morsels.

Anyone else?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Too Much

This car, which I photographed in a neighboring county, looks about like I feel. At one point in time a perfectly functioning vehicle, it now lies in a state of disrepair and neglect with unwanted hair strange things sprouting from its face.

It is Monday, and all I'm going to do today is whine, be forewarned. Exhausted physically and mentally, I have far too many irons in the fire and not enough hands to hold them.

Here's the Whine List from Chez Chesapeake Bay Woman:

1. My paying job requires me to leave home at 6:15 a.m. and be gone until after 5 each day.

2. Upon returning home from work, I am absolutely exhausted, yet there is no time to rest. Animals need feeding; grass needs cutting; laundry needs doing; dishes need cleaning; blog posts need writing; phone messages must be returned; e-mails need responding to, children need to be acknowledged as human beings and fed. Need. Need. Need.

3 Due to sheer exhaustion and lack of time, I don't exercise or eat as well as I should. This makes me feel even worse.

4. The summer is flying by. It's almost over, and I haven't done anything with my children. They'll be back in school with hectic sports schedules and there won't be time to breathe. It seems like this summer has been squandered, usurped by my work and my life.

5. I don't want to be responsible for anything, yet I am responsible for everything.

6. I need a vacation.

7. Mondays are the worst.

8. There are 42,563,000 red chili peppers and 659,762 jalapenos in my tiny garden, and I have no idea what to do with them. There are only so many hot peppers you can consume in a given day without bursting into flames, and neither of my kids likes them.

9. My son turns 14 on Thursday. 14. I am the mother of a 14-year-old. When did this happen?

(I'm going to stop at #10, I promise.)

10. Although I could go on and on, I'm done, but only because I just promised to stop.

Thanks for indulging me. This too, shall pass. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow but I doubt it unless tomorrow brings me the winning lottery numbers, an airline ticket to Bora Bora and a staff of thirty to help around the house.

Since you endured my whining, go ahead and leave me a comment with your frustrations. Getting it off your chest is the first step. I don't know what the second step is, unless it involves eating an entire bag of chips with four gallons of homemade, garden-fresh, red-chili-pepper-infused salsa, or a pint of ice cream, or both. I think the third step involves asking for help, but that's never been my forte.

Whine on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Silent Sunday

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

-Gautama Siddharta, 563-483 B.C

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Islander, Part II

Continuing on with yesterday's talk about the Islander, which used to be The Place to go in the summer around here, here's a shot of their boathouse.

Back in the '70's my grandmother used to pay us for collecting aluminum cans, and the Islander trash cans were always chock full. When we tired of frolicking in the pool unsupervised, we'd traipse up and down the docks rooting around in the boaters' trash. Unsupervised.

Hunting for cans gave us the opportunity to study the boats.

Some of them were the size of the QE II, enormous yachts. We imagined what it would be like to own such a vessel and spent hours pondering her name and where she would take us.

Sometimes curiosity got the best of us, particularly in this boathouse.

Since most of the boats docked here belonged to longer-term renters, there weren't as many people milling around. The owners would only occasionally be present, and it was quite easy for a curious kid or teenager to accidentally--albeit with an astonishing degree of confidence considering the circumstances--step on board and take a gander around.

Mind you, I am not saying that I did this.

All I'm saying is there were many fine vessels housed in the Islander boathouse, and it wouldn't surprise me if one or more Mathews County residents didn't set foot onto a yacht just to make sure everything was OK and the vessels were still seaworthy.

I loved the Islander.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Islander

Anyone who visited, resided in or otherwise came into contact with Mathews County in the 1970's - 1980's knows about the wonderland called the Islander, shown above from the vantage point of a Gwynn's Island bridge opening.

Perched on the most perfect spot of prime waterfront ever created by a higher being, the Islander was a destination in and of itself--even for residents of Mathews.

This Oz of Gwynn's Island consisted of a marina (shown above, still in use); a two-story motel (no longer available to the general public, but which had the best water views this side of Serenity); a restaurant (closed, but had the best water views this side of Heaven); and an upstairs lounge (a distant yet fond memory, with the best water views on the Eastern seaboard and more than a few colorful characters).

Every summer of my youth was spent here poolside, since the Islander served as our babysitter since the owners were generous enough to offer pool memberships to us locals who weren't there for the motel or the marina.

Actually, a part of the charm of the Islander--in addition to its perfect waterfront location--was all the tourists and transients it attracted. Those of us who grew up in Mathews had very limited contact with Whatever Else was going on outside our community, and here in one central location we had a good restaurant, a great pool in the summertime and contact...with the outside world.

An entire website could be devoted to the memories the Islander generates for so many people. Since it's late and I need some sleep, I'll wrap this up rather quickly by saying that the fondest memories of my youth involve the Islander and what a dream come true it would be if it could be revived to its original splendor.

For anyone who ever visited Oz the Islander, please leave a comment about your memories. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, tell me about a place which evokes pleasant memories from your youth.

Or just say whatever you want. Tell me what you had for dinner last night. Or say nothing and wonder when this roller coaster is ever coming to a stop.

We have now reached a complete stop. Please lift the safety bar and exit to your left without stampeding.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three Thing Thursday

This poorly lit picture was taken during Blog Fest when Ann Marie and The Waterman (who recently celebrated a birthday) took us on a boat ride around New Point Light, barely visible in the background.

Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of Three Ring Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things and you share three (or more) things which may be related, unrelated or first cousins twice removed.

Perhaps you wish to share something completely out of left field. Go ahead. Do it. I'll begin.

1. Out of left field? Or is it right field? It should be right field, because if something's coming from there it's a rarity, generally speaking. There tends to be more action in left field than right. In my opinion.

2. I couldn't let go of this "out of left field" vs. "out of right field" internal debate, so I used the magic of my fingertips to call up the internet wizards, who of course are always correct. Although both expressions tend to be used to describe something unexpected, "out of left field" is the most popular, but nobody could seem to offer a reason why, until I found this from a site called

"Perhaps the most likely theory is that it alludes to inmates of the Neuropsychiatric Institute, a mental hospital, which was located behind left field in Chicago's old West Side Park. Hence being told you are 'out in left field' would mean you were accused of being as peculiar as a mental patient. In any event, the term has been used figuratively for various kinds of eccentricity and misguidedness since the first half of the 20th century.

Out "in" left field and out "of" left field are two different things, but never mind. Let's move on to #3 before it's Christmas.

3. There are three incredible ladies shown above in that poorly lit picture. Left to right: TSAnnie; Country Girl Kate; and the ever-stylish Mental P. Mamma.

Now it's your turn to tell me three or more things, anything you want, whatever you feel like saying.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interpret This Photo. Please.

Step right up, folks, and take a gander at one of the worst pictures ever posted on this blog but one which intrigues me nevertheless. As with most of my other 4,580 beach shots, this one is from Aaron's Beach.

Let's talk about the complex process by which this picture was taken. Get out your pencil to take notes. Ready? Here we go.

1. I put the setting to Auto.

2. I pressed the Snap button. (Did you know that's what it's called? The Snap button?)

3. Attempting its level best to figure out what in the hay I'm taking a picture of, the camera tries to focus on the multiple major elements but can't because the photographer can't even focus, so why should the camera?

4. The End.

Although I was very likely trying to zero in on the gnarled up branches, I might have been distracted by that sea wall in the background, and then further distracted by the green grass sprouting from the right and before you know it we have a fine example of a camera with ADD. (For now we'll bypass any attempts at diagnosing the photographer. There's simply not enough time, and quite possibly not enough diagnoses.)

It's late as I write this. The day at the paying job was absolutely exhausting and I need to "...lay my body down, and when the morning light comes streaming in, I'll get up and do it again. Amen."

(I love Jackson Browne and thank him for letting me steal some of his lyrics. Please don't sue, Mr. Browne, all I can give you is a bushel of fiddler crabs and an offer to perform some songs for the Blog Fest movie which is coming to a theater near you in this lifetime if it's the last thing I do.)

Speaking of crabs, that's exactly what I see when I glance at those gnarled up branches - the claws of a crab reaching upwards trying to protect himself.

What do you see?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cars and Trucks

Here in a neighboring county lies a dead Cadillac in the midst of the greenest greenery you'll ever see. If the car had to go out to pasture, this is not a bad place to pasteurize.

(Welcome to CBW's World where words don't always mean what they're supposed to, and all rules of vocabulary, grammar and common sense are carelessly and effortlessly tossed out the window. "Green greenery" is prolific, and "pasteurize" can mean most anything you want.)

Cars--especially old cars--have always fascinated me, and even at a young age I had an unusual admiration for them. This might be attributed to the fact that my father was a mechanic, but even so most girls don't prefer Matchbox cars over Barbies, and even fewer declare their ardent desire to drive tractor-trailers when they grow up.

My earliest recollection of a vehicle was my parents' old black Ford Model Whatever, I can't remember if it's a T or an A or a Q, but it was one heckuva cruise ship car. The thing was so big, I could practically turn cartwheels in the back. Never disposed of and begging for someone to restore her, she still lies--disabled but not quite dead--on the side of my parents' barn.

My high school boyfriend, a very dear person, drove a brand new, sparkling red truck with shiny chrome tailpipes coming out from behind the passenger cab: a Dodge Little Red Express, one of my favorite vehicles of all time.

Oh, how I loved that truck. If I could marry a vehicle, we'd live happily ever after, Li'l Red and I.

Click here for a picture and more info on the best husband truck that ever took me to the prom.

Here is an excerpt from the link above:

When Dodge released the Li'l Red Express Truck in 1978 it was one of the most unique Dodge trucks that had ever been produced. The Lil' Red Express was not only a real looker but these trucks were also real performers. In 1978 The Dodge Lil' Red Express was the fastest American-made vehicle from 0 to 100 MPH* as tested by Car and Driver magazine.

Chesapeake Bay Woman also tested it, maybe wide open down Glebe Road, maybe not depending on who is reading this. All she will say is, that truck was fast and went from zero to whiplash in a matter of seconds.

Lest you think I favored the snazzy, flashy, speedy vehicles, I will also confess to a slight crush on the Ford Pinto--yes, the Pinto--and a lifelong adoration of Volkswagens and their air-cooled engines. This fondness comes naturally since Chesapeake Bay Father was the local car doctor whose specialty was Anything VW. The Chesapeake Bay Family owned pretty much every model of VW ever put into production and still drives them to this day.

So give me a Model T (or A or Q, whatever it was), give me a Pinto, give me liberty or give me death a diesel Rabbit or a Little Red Express. But as long as you're giving me anything, I'll take the Li'l Red Express and some spare time on the straight-away down Glebe Road....preferably on a day when the sheriff and his deputies are out of town at a law enforcement pasteurization convention.

Did you have a favorite car growing up? Does anyone remember seeing the love of my life a Li'l Red Express in the late '70's?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Funeral Parlor

This old place, located across from the Tall Chief market in Syringa, was once a funeral parlor according to the market's owner.

It's perched at at an intersection of two back roads. Ordinarily--at least around Mathews--these intersections were homes to country stores, post offices, or both. Even today most of our convenience stores are located at major intersections. It makes sense to put a business at a place where travelers/motorists converge.

But a funeral parlor? On the corner?

I really find it hard to believe that such a charming house which is dripping in heart-shaped leaves was a house of death. (Go ahead and double click on either image and tell me those aren't hearts hanging from the vines.) But I'll trust the gentleman knows what he's talking about.

Funeral parlors always make me think of the funniest story I believe I've ever heard about someone's unfortunate passing. Click here to read about a local character named Mousie, his lawn mower, and a case of mistaken identity. Please read it, you won't be sorry.

Does this look like a funeral parlor to you?

Do you have an unusual story involving a funeral?

Isn't Tall Chief an unusual name for a market?

Is it really August already?

Did you know that if I didn't force myself to stop writing and asking these questions that I could keep typing until the cows come home or one of us ended up in the funeral parlor, whichever one is later?

Have a great Monday, and welcome to August.

(I'm forcing myself to stop now. You're welcome.)


Sunday, August 2, 2009


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Budding Artist

The other evening Chesapeake Bay Daughter and I went to the beach. Normally we don't venture out past three or four o'clock, lest we turn into pumpkins or something, but we were bored. So around five o'clock we sallied forth.

Here is the most wonderful daughter ever invented in search of sea glass, crab shells, oyster shells and driftwood for her art projects. (Also, if you click on the image you'll be able to see Wolf Trap Light way off in the background as well as an osprey's nest at the end of the wall.)

Chesapeake Bay Daughter is slowly but surely turning into a little artist. In addition to making beautiful crafts out of treasures washed ashore, she is beginning to recognize and point out potential photos of objects or scenes, mostly close-ups of things that most people would overlook. She's starting to compose pictures even though she doesn't own a camera.

Chesapeake Bay Mother and CB Baby Sister are very gifted artists who grossly underestimate their abilities. I'm starting to think that CB Daughter is following closely in their footsteps, and I couldn't be happier.

p.s. You should see her on the soccer field and the basketball court. Unstoppable.

(Happy August.)