Monday, October 31, 2011

Ghost Stories

For Halloween I'm rehashing old stories sharing links to some older posts which highlight a few of our local ghost stories.

Click here for a post about our infamous Old House Woods. At the bottom of this post is another link to yet another post, and who here is already tired of reading the words "post" and "link" only three sentences in to this ordeal? (CBW put your hand down.)

Click here for a post about a haunted plantation in Gloucester, right across from what is now Ware Academy. Lest anyone forget, the farmhouse which is now part of Ware Academy was my mother's home and my grandmother's store. It's important for me to repeat these factoids over and over again until people blink back tears because they really are meaningful snippets of information to my children who avoid this blog like the plague.

Click here for a story about a ghost Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister and I saw one Christmas Eve. Really, we saw a ghost. Middle Sis will tell you the same thing. It was a ghost. For sure.

Click here for another Old House Woods post.

I love Halloween, but my children act as though they are "too old" to be bothered with it. I take umbrage with that. Perhaps they are too old to trick or treat, but you're never too old to dress up. Sadly, they lack my passion for Halloween.

Last night we reminisced about past Halloweens where I thoroughly embarrassed them where a very enthusiastic Chesapeake Bay Woman did things like pick them up at the bus stop dressed as a witch or drop them off at school dressed as a she-devil.

This year, nobody is dressing up. Boo Humbug.

Regardless, Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aaron's Beach

Aaron's Beach

It's the weekend.

What will you be doing?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things

Gateposts near Mobjack

Welcome to Three Thing Thursday, where I share three things and hopefully you do to.  Those three things can be related, unrelated, interesting, boring, troubling, soothing, irksome or entertaining. Really, there are no rules--even the number three is only a suggestion to keep Chesapeake Bay Woman from listing three thousand random things, which she could very easily do if left to her own devices.

Let's begin.

1.The Mathews High School cross country teams won the district championship yesterday at Eastern State in Williamsburg.  For once there was no horizontal rain or frigid temperatures. For this alone, I am eternally grateful; winning the championship was the cherry on the sundae. While I was standing around snapping photos, I heard a familiar voice behind me.  It was my high school track coach, whose grandson is on the team with my son.  We exchanged pleasantries, and during the course of the ensuing conversation he said, "No pain no gain." I recoiled in horror as I was transported back to those never ending track practices where I was forced to do sprint after sprint and clear hurdle after hurdle all to the background music of, "No pain, no gain, Vogel!"

As I said, at least there wasn't frigid, horizontal rain today.

There was that.

Serenity now.

2. I'm already through with the whole "It's dark when I wake up and dark when I get home" business. How in the world I'll ever survive the months of November, December, January and February is beyond me.

Note to self: Double up on the Vitamin D pills, fill out the paperwork to renew your passport, and start researching cheap ways to get to Bora Bora sunshine. Ain't no way you're gonna make it through that many months of darkness.

3. On the way home from does it really matter when all I ever do is drive, drive, drive? yet another away sporting event, I was informed by Chesapeake Bay Daughter, who is in 8th grade, that her class is having a dance with three other schools' 8th grade classes. "You mean it's a mixer??"  I said in disbelief, as much for remembering that term from college days as in the fact that my precious girl was going to a dance where there'd be (gasp!) strangers from other counties!

Note to self: First of all, neither of your children have ever heard the term mixer unless it was related to making a cake, and even then yours is broken. Second of all, get used to the fact that your kids have social lives and you have a blog and that's about it as far as contact with other human beings.

Now it's your turn to share three things. Anything at all.

Don't you want to know what's at the end of this driveway?
I do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Fest Memories

Chesapeake Bay Woman, Summer 2009
Thank you, Country Girl Kate, for the photo.

Yesterday's quest for a promotional photograph led to Country Girl Kate sending me a link to a blog post she did two years ago that contained a picture of me (above, thanks Kate!).

Reading her post brought back a flood of memories from July 2009 and 2010, when bloggers from all parts of the country (and Canada) convened on Mathews County, sight unseen. The vast majority of us had not even met in person before this event.  For them to travel here to little ole Mathews to join up with folks they only knew through blogging was unusual, arguably, but it turned out to be fantastic.

The links below are just some of the many posts written about the two Blog Fests we held here. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time last evening to search for all that was written, but below is a representative sampling of the good times we had.

Let's start with Country Girl Kate, who so kindly sent me the photograph above as part of her post on the 2009 Blog Fest:

Laurie, aka Foolery, who came here all the way from California:

Daryl, who came from New York City:

Lauren, aka Mental Mama, from Connecticut:

Deltaville Jamie (not really from Deltaville but with deep family roots there):

Tracy from Maryland:

Meg from Maryland, the very first blogger I ever met in person:

Reading all these posts brings back so many good memories.

I think it might be time to start thinking about a Mathews County Blog Fest 2012.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Trio

Today's trio of pictures comes from the public landing at Edwards Creek on Gwynn's Island.

This week is chock full of action, including:

*  Chesapeake Bay Daughter's soccer tournament (Tuesday and Thursday after work)

*  Chesapeake Bay Son's District Cross Country Meet (Wednesday after work)

*  New work to be done on the book, this time related to Marketing. I have to basically make up ten reasons identify ten reasons why someone would want to buy my book on Mathews County Then and Now and (this is the hard part) send a photo of myself. (Due Friday.)

*I don't have any photographs of myself except the ones on Facebook and all 3/4 of those are of me wearing a crab hat.

*Somehow I don't think the Arcadia Publishing Marketing folks want a picture of me in a crab hat. 

*That's just a guess though.

Hope your week is a good one.

p.s. Ann Marie, why did you have to move to North Carolina?  I need you to take my picture, and that's not logistically possible with you three hours away. Chesapeake Bay Mother, are you available?  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gwynn's Island Bridge

The bridge leading from mainland Mathews over to Gwynn's Island made the news here recently.

Because it's old and deteriorating of some rusting parts brought on by age and the elements, the Virginia Department of Transportation has imposed weight limits until repairs can be made.

Built in 1938, this bridge accommodates 2,215 vehicles daily, according to this week's Gazette Journal article on the topic.

The article goes on to cite a VDOT press release which calls the bridge "functionally obsolete" which means I resemble that remark  it "doesn't provide the capacity to meet the current traffic volume demand of existing conditions."

One of the engineers said there is a complete loss of section in certain places.

I'm sorry, are we still talking about the Gwynn's Island bridge or is this a story about my worn out, middle-aged brain?

A fix for the problem is currently being designed, and repairs are anticipated to take a year.

Dear VDOT,
Is there a fix for a functionally obsolete Forty-Something-Year-Old with memory lapses thanks to rusted synapses? I'd appreciate any help I can get.  Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Edwards Creek

These were taken about two weeks ago from the public landing at Edwards Creek over on the island.

That would be Gwynn's Island for those who aren't familiar with Mathews County's very lovely island loaded with characters character and charm. My parents and I actually lived on Gwynn's Island when I was young, but that's a story for another day.

The day I drove over here, the bridge leading onto the island was open, providing a glorious opportunity to snap some photos of the bridge itself.  Next week I'll put up a few of those photos along with an explanation as to why the Gwynn's Island bridge recently made headlines in the Daily Press and the Gazette Journal.

Until then, enjoy these photos, one of which required some squatting deep knee bends; and another which required very close contact with the weather-beaten boards of the dock.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Fields

The formerly lush, green soybean fields are now yellow, soon to be brown, soon to be harvested.

These soybean fields are located near North.

North is a place, a location, a spot on the map, a post office (and at one point a store).  North is also the name of a river that runs through here.

The fact that it's also a direction makes things interesting, particularly when conversing to outsiders--such as an editor sitting in South Carolina, for example, who asked me to confirm or correct the location of a place once known as Club 14.  I said it was located on Route 14 at North.  She thought for sure that was a typo.  But Club 14 was located on Route 14 at North. At the spot on the map called North.

No, not a typo, just another little Mathews County quirk.

We do quirky right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bethel Beach

On Sunday, after recovering from the croup the grippe a bout of bronchitis, I drove down to Bethel Beach.

The sun was brilliant, and although there was wind, it wasn't cold. The weather was spectacular.

The scenery was gorgeous.

It was the perfect place to collect my thoughts and mentally prepare for the coming week.  In short, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated--a rare occurrence for me these days--as I ambled back to my car.

Then, on my way home, in between Bethel Beach and Onemo post office, I slammed hard on the brakes  and nearly popped a blood vessel screaming gave myself whiplash when a herd of killer mosquitoes  killer fiddler crabs killer geese GOATS jumped right out in front of me from a wooded, swampy area on the right. They ran directly in front of my car to the yard on the other side of the road. Thankfully, because I was in photo taking mode, I wasn't driving fast and was able to screech to a halt just in time.

Goats.  Because that's just how you want to end a nice, soothing drive to the beach.  By almost colliding with a herd of goats running amok.


The End.

Here they are safely on the other side of the road.
Rest assured, no goats were harmed in the making of this blog post.
Psychological and/or cardiovascular damage to the one and only human in this story is still being assessed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Redart Work Boat

These were taken during a recent quick trip down Redart (pronounced Red Art).

Redart is trader backwards, after one Captain Joe Trader, not to be confused with Trader Joe's--which, by the way, would be a great addition to Mathews County.

Dear Trader Joe's,

Since we all know you wouldn't ever open in Mathews, because there's just barely enough room for two grocery stores in the county as it is, please at least consider opening up in nearby Gloucester.  While you're at it, if you can convince a Golden Corral to open up there, my parents would be absolutely thrilled. We have to drive so far to visit any form of civilization you or anyone; it would be nice to only drive 15 miles instead of 40-ish. I 
We want you closer to Mathews County than your current location in Newport News--except I we don't want you in Mathews County. 

In short, I we want you, except I we don't want you. It's as clear as mud, I know. Thanks in advance for your time and attention to this matter.


p.s. Welcome to Life in Mathews, where a photograph of a workboat down Redart can so quickly lead to a plea to several nationwide chains to set up shop in the next county over.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mobjack, Part II

At the very end of East River Road, 

right at the intersection 

of Land, Water and Sky 

is Mobjack.

May your day
be as serene and  undisturbed
as the sky and water
here in Mobjack.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mobjack Birds

Flock of Seagulls on Mobjack Dock.
I had a Flock of Seagulls album back in the 1980s.
That was around the same time the woolly mammoth roamed the Earth.

An Assortment of Water Birds, Mostly Gulls
Whenever I see "assortment" I always think of Whitman's Chocolates.
Which of course makes me think of Forrest Gump and, "You never know what you're gonna get."

I'm not sure what it is about these birds, but they refuse to acknowledge your presence.
They act as if you're not even there.  
This can be aggravating to those who are patiently waiting to snap a photograph.
Also, there's something about the name cormorants that bugs me, not sure what.
Maybe it's that the word "ants" is embedded in their name, and ants and I do not get along well. 
At all.

This concludes today's glimpse into Chesapeake Bay Woman's troubled mind Mobjack Bay wildlife as well as the lesson in free association and stream of consciousness.

Feel free to leave a free association comment of your own.

Or feel free to use the word free way too many times in a sentence.  Whatever you want. 

Most of all, have a great weekend.


p.s. Click here for Chesapeake Bay Mother's account of the singing group she belonged to back in the days of bobby socks and WDDY radio in neighboring Gloucester County.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Things

Here it is once again, Thursday. That day where we share three things. There is usually no rhyme or reason to the three things, just whatever happens to be spinning around my/your head at the moment.

I'll go first.

1. My mother has finished a blog post (click here) that captures the Chesapeake Bay Children when they were much younger. I adore these pictures and am so grateful to her for all the work she's doing scanning and capturing the images for posterity.

Dear Posterity,  

We were more than twice as crazy only half as crazy as we presented ourselves on the internet, but we sure had a good time.

Love, CBW.

2. A good friend from Northern Virginia recently informed me that BULL LIPS were the very best bait for crabbing that ever was. He said I should ask any commercial waterman.  Bull lips.  It's what's for dinner, evidently, if you're a crab.  That's right, folks, I said bull LIPS. L. I. P. S, bull lips.

Bull lips? This reminds me of the first time I heard the word "cornhole." Even today, a full year or more later, I still twitch and convulse a little when I hear "cornhole."  Something just isn't right....

3a. Last night I ran into my high school classmate Johnny Pugh in the Food Lion and asked about this bull lip for crab bait business since he knows all about commercial crabbing.  He confirmed that he has heard that the lips of bulls do indeed make good bait; he also confirmed (as if there were any question, except I had to ask) that there are no bull lips available for sale in or near Mathews.  So the bull lip bait shops haven't quite hit Mathews County yet.

3b. Mind you, this conversation is occurring in the checkout line of the grocery store at 7:00 p.m.(way too late for anyone around here me to be in the grocery store, by the way) after an arduous day of work and standing for two hours in the misty rain at a cross country meet.  (Both MHS teams won.)  And I'm saying stuff like, "Yeah, I knew there was a lot of bull here I just wasn't sure about the bull lips."  This actually caused Johnny to chuckle.  The checker-out person was not so amused.  Nor was the person behind me holding only a bag of bread.

3c. Dear Bag of Bread Person, Had I noticed you clutching that sole item before I became engrossed in the bull lip conversation which made me a little slower than usual at the checkout stand, I would have waved you on ahead of me and begged you to go first.  My apologies, and hopefully one day soon you'll appreciate the humor in the exchange you are still were trying so hard to block out. - Love, CBW

3d. While I was slinging groceries onto the conveyor belt, still pondering the whole bull lips issue, Johnny then commenced to telling me about some mutant frogs he has down his neck of the woods, something about his daughter's pet frogs escaping and intermingling with the native population, which are already enormous.  He said they were about the size of chickens.  Or maybe he said they tasted like chicken, who knows. I couldn't concentrate thanks to the realization that some poor person standing behind me (and this whole exchange) only wanted to pay for a loaf of bread.

So that's it, folks, the latest and greatest from this little speck on the map along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  From bull lips to mutant frogs that taste--and look--like chickens. There's never a dull moment here in Mathews!

Now it's your turn to share three (or more) things.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Last week on my way home from running errands, I veered off Route 14 and headed down to Mobjack.

Mobjack is one of those places you don't really pass through.  If you're headed to Mobjack you're most likely lost on a mission.  Mine was to take some photographs.

Ordinarily there's lots of wind down here. The North and East Rivers spill out into the Mobjack Bay which then blends in with the Chesapeake Bay, making it an exceptional spot for sailing, if you're into that sort of thing.

On this particular morning, however, there was almost no wind.  It was almost eerie.

But mostly it was beautiful.

I'll share more pictures from this little side trip in the coming days.  In the interim, today will be another action-packed day filled with driving, working, driving, and simultaneous sporting events.

I wish I was spending the day on one of these boats (with someone who knows how to sail--since I don't--and perhaps a little bit of wind to push us along.  Oh, and some food.  And wine water. And a GPS system that could navigate to Bora Bora. Is that asking too much? I'm hoping if I repeat these words enough each week they may actually come true one of these days.  Who knows, stranger things have happened. Although I will say, I'd rather fly to Bora Bora than sail there, but beggars can't really be choosers, can they?)

Enjoy the day, and I'll enjoy my daydreams.


p.s. Yesterday I dropped in on my parents next door to communicate some logistical information relating to a soccer game and cross country practice and noticed my mother is working on quite the project.  Her whole dining room is overflowing with old family photographs which she intends to scan and turn into blog posts.  So while the writing on this blog continues to spin in its death spiral will be sparse due to all the runnin' to and from various activities, her blog will soon be loaded with fun-filled stories about the extended Chesapeake Bay Family and their associated antics, of which there is a seemingly endless supply. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


Mr. C's T-bird

Friday was the Mathews Homecoming Parade, which included this stunning red Thunderbird convertible, owned by one of my very favorite Mathews County From Heres, Mr. Crosby.

Chesapeake Bay Son and J.

Chesapeake Bay Son escorted this very lovely young lady, who is Mr. Crosby's great-niece.  CB Son and she have known each other since kindergarten, and I've known her family for over 30 years. I went to school with her father and graduated with her aunt.  My father and her great-aunt were classmates at Mathews High. God, I love small towns. If you're confused, don't worry.  You're very likely not alone. We Mathews folks have to establish and utter the links whether or not they make sense to anyone else. Thanks for your patience in this matter.

Speaking of 30 years and small towns, exactly 30 years ago this fall, I was riding down this very street in a Homecoming parade. A very nice young man named Earl was my escort. I reminisced with Earl's mother recently at a neighborhood party.  I just thought I'd share that.

Also, those very same 30-years-ago homecoming festivities were referenced in a recent Gazette Journal Do You Remember article.  Let me just say that once you've been mentioned in the Do You Remember section, you've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  This section is right above the news from 100 years ago, or when people communicated via smoke signals.  

Hello, Mathews Convalescent Center?  Chesapeake Bay Woman is calling and would like to reserve a room close to the piano so she can at least hear the music and tap her foot against the bed rail during the sing alongs.  Thanks.

MHS Cross Country Float

The parade included floats from most of the high school sports teams, including this one from the cross country team. I adore this truck.

Speaking of the cross country team, their last home meet is Wednesday at 4 at Beaverdam in Gloucester, fyi.

I have yet to attend a parade in Mathews that the young lady below didn't participate in.  This is my friend Alda's daughter Betsy.  She is just loaded with personality--and smiles. With a side order of extra personality.  Plus.

Alda and I could write a book on our escapades down Port Haywood--when we were not much older than Miss Betsy is now.  Her mother (also named Betsy) had a piano, and I recall more than one performance where I played the musical accompaniment to Alda's singing.

Thank goodness this was in the days before Facebook and You Tube.  That's all I have to say about that.


Later that evening, we attended the football game, where I proceeded to snap about 100 pictures--and only a handful turned out.

I guess you can call me a sentimental sap, and you'd be correct, but these pictures of her clutching his arm just make me well up with emotion.

And the one below does too.

Chesapeake Bay Parents, aka Proud Grandparents