Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Meditation

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, June 24, 2011

Art & Seafood Fest

This past October, I went to the Holly Point Nature Center's Art & Seafood Fest in Deltaville. Honestly, what prompted me to go was the promise of a living history group know as Blackbeard's Pirates. The Brat Child is a pirate fanatic.

Black..err.. Whitebeard
The Brat Child joining the pirate ranks
Working on sword play-
because BC needs to know the proper way to work a sword.
Even Midge got into the action
 My mother and I were pleasantly surprised at the number of vendors and at the quality of their wares.  It was a warm but not hot day, and though it was well attended, the set up gave plenty of room to walk around and browse.  I purchased a nice flounder wineglass and some character inspired ice cream.  I also found a very cool iron flying pig key or business card holder (everyone needs one). 
Mom bought a parrot wineglass. 
There were pony rides, interesting things made from metal and a train display (BC is also a huge train fanatic).
The pierwalk was also open.
Restored F.D. Crockett
Bow of the Explorer-
replica of Capt. John Smith's boat

It was a gorgeous day and one of the best weekends I've had. 
Can't wait to go again in 2011.
I need some more flounder glasses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mathews: Fancier Than You Think

When I was a kid, the town of Mathews always seemed like some distant place.  One that I rarely went to.  In fact, it was usually only mentioned in phrases like, "I'm going over Mathews way to get some crab bait."  Yes, that's right, it was equated in my mind with dead smelly fish.

Imagine my surprise when I make it over to Mathews as an adult and find it's actually quite fancy.
Seriously, how many Dollar General stores have you seen with a giant Heron fountain in front of it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just Because

I don't know.  I think I'm rather unbalanced, pessimistic and humorless....

You Are Balanced

You are an expansive and open-minded person. You want to experience the world without judgment.

You are energetic to the point of being athletic and sporty. You like to move!

You have a good sense of humor. You are easily amused, and others find you to be quite amusing.

You are optimistic and always expect the best. You put misfortune in perspective.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Meditation

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.

~Dutch Proverb

But not more than a bushel of crabs at the current market price.
~Deltaville Jamie
It takes a lot of patience to pick a crab. 
Twisting off each leg.
Opening the top of the shell and cleaning out the insides.
Delicately using a mallet and a knife to smoothly open the claws...

And then you realize, after a couple of your favorite beverages,
that it's just a whole lot easier to pound the hell out of it with the crab hammer.

Yes, patience is something I need to work on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Conversation With the Brat Child

BC: (climbing into bed one morning and putting his arm around me) You wanna kiss at the beach baby?
Me: Uh, no, you don't really say stuff like that to your mom.
BC: How 'bout if I marry you?
Me: You can't marry your mom.
BC: How'bout Midge.  She's not a mom.
Me: No you can't marry your sister, that's legal only in Kentucky and West Virginia not legal in Pennsylvania, Maryland or Virginia.
BC: Den I'm gonna marry you.
Me: OK fine.
BC: I'm gonna marry you, Mom, and den I'm gonna buy you diamonds at Wal-Mart.

Only the best for his Mamma.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Meditation

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

~Dr. Seuss

Friday, June 10, 2011

Remembering Pauline

A year ago today, my grandmother Pauline Jackson passed away.
The one great thing I can say about her is that she loved her grandchildren.
My cousin Kelly and I certainly tried her patience.
Like the time we hid her "dirty books" as she called the Tabloids she read religiously.
Or when we set up a snail habitat in the sink and the snails got out.
Then there was the summer we were trying to catch and keep minnows as pets, and as they died, Kelly and I buried them in the yard complete with crosses made from sticks.  My grandmother, who cut the grass in her bare feet, could be heard yelling about "treading on those damn things" and "running those sticks through her foot". 
We've used her perfume to spray love letters, her lipstick to kiss love letters, her good pantyhose were cut up for ski masks, her cosmetic items used for our own concoctions and "potions" and her good towels used as flags for Capture the Flag.
And I can't even tell you how many times we woke her up in the middle of the night with our "carryins on".
And while there were threats to "crack us" with something, she never did.
Growing up into adulthood, I always knew she was on my side, even if my side was dead wrong, she would agree with me. 
So here's to Pauline....

Deltaville- going fishing with my cousin Dawn

Sitting on the deck in Deltaville with my Uncle Doug

My Aunt Joyce is in front getting her hair messed with, I have my arm around Sheba the Dog, my cousin Kelly is standing, my cousin Jeff is the green shorts, my sister Carrie is the toddler and my Grandmother

Grandmother and Ernie her poodle in Deltaville

Me, Grandmother and Carrie

My favorite photo- Ethan and "Great Mother"

Me and Grandmother in Deltaville

Grandmother and Aunt Joyce at Stingray Point

Grandmother at Deltaville

Thursday, June 9, 2011


When I was a child, my great-uncle "PePop" used to send me letters and cards.  I am fortunate that my mother saved some of these for me.
My cousin Ty did not like kisses or hugs and he called me "Cooter". 
A directive from PePop to torment Ty was manna from heaven.
Please note the "Cooter" moniker is derived from the best show on television at the time- The Dukes of Hazard, where the mechanic named Cooter would say "Hey Cuz" in greeting and the Dukes would say "Hey Cooter"  I often greeted Ty with "hey cuz"... (The Dukes of Hazard was a large part of my life- I campaigned to have my new baby sister named Daisy but my mom and dad didn't go for it.  They named her after the baby sister on Little House on the Prairie or maybe it was that movie.....)

There were also notes that included illustration of the various wildlife that was around.

And of course, the last note I ever received from PePop:
During his hospital stay (he had to have his leg amputated and had other heart conditions going on), I sent nearly daily letters to him.  I even sent some home baked chocolate chip cookies, which he mentions in his note.
He also mentions the watermelon seed fight.
Trust me when I say it was an epic event.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Great Skunk Caper

I love to mow the grass. 
 In Deltaville, we have a plot of land with nothing on it we call "the plowed field". 
I'm not sure why we call it that since I don't think it's ever been plowed... at least not in the last 40-50 decades. Anyway, whenever we were in Deltaville, I loved the job of cutting the plowed field. 
It meant I got to "drive" the riding lawn mower.

One evening while mowing, I noticed what I thought was a black and white trash bag blowing across the far end of the field.
Of course being the nature conscious kid I was, I went to retrieve the trash so I could throw it away when I went back to the house.

As I drew closer, I realized it wasn't a bag at all but some kind of animal.  "PUPPIES!" I thought, "and I'll have to keep them and raise them because they have no mother!"  I was very excited at the prospect of becoming the surrogate mother to some little furry baby black and white puppies.

Imagine my surprise, disappointment and sheer terror when I realized- not puppies- mamma skunk and babies!  I had been told that if you got sprayed by a skunk in the face, it would blind you for life.  Not to mention the smell that would never go away and that I'd have to live outside for weeks (this information was furnished by my male cousins and had to be the gospel truth because they were older and wiser).

So I circled the wagons so to speak.

And kept circling in my tight circle round and round and round.  The skunks paid no attention to me and seemed to have moved off to their den, but I knew better.  I knew those mamma skunks were like grizzlies and if their babies were bothered they would attack.  I was terrified to drive the tractor back to the house because that skunk could be lurking in the tall grass- or up a pole waiting to pounce.

Eventually it got dark.

And Dad starting to wonder where in the world I was.
So he walked up to the field.

And there I was, driving in circles and crying and yelling for help. 
All in all it ended well. 
I survived.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


What would a Deltaville blog be without a post on skunks?  When I was a kid, Deltaville and skunks went hand in hand.  I always knew I was getting close to Deltaville when I started smelling skunks.  I imagine the high number of skunks had a lot to do with the area still being very rural, and that "close" meant anywhere on the VA side of the Harry W. Nice Bridge.  Skunks were so prevalent that my grandparents had a "Skunk Crossing" sign by the steps to the trailer.  It didn't look anything like this photo. 
Anyway, while we could smell the skunks all the time, it was rare for us to actually see one.  Not surprising since they are primarily nocturnal and prefer sleeping in their burrow during the day.  My grandmother used to call them "polecats".  I used to think this was because they climbed up telephone poles, and for a while I was concerned I might get sprayed in an aerial assault while walking by telephone poles and tall pine trees at night.  Later in life, I learned that polecat- specifically the pole part- comes from either the French word poule for chicken or pulent for stinking.  I'm not sure but I think it's probably the stinking one.  And I don't speak a lick of French, I just read Wikipedia.  The Brat Child calls them "Stunks" which comes from the English word "Stunk" which means, well, stunk. 

And another little personal tidbit about skunks.  I love the smell of skunk.  Not the heavy eye burning throat constricting smell, but the smell you get when they've just walked through an area.  I know it's weird, but chalk it up to classical conditioning.  What's that you ask? It involves the presentation of a neutral stimulus (in this case skunk smell) with the presentation of an important stimulus (in this case Deltaville- my "happy" place).  Eventually the neutral stimulus becomes associated with the important one so that every time the neutral stimulus is presented, you get the reaction you  would have gotten from the important one.  Got that?  So Deltaville makes me calm and happy, I smell skunk whenever I go to Deltaville, eventually the smell of skunk makes me calm and happy.  Or I could say, think Pavlov's dogs. 

Stay Tuned for tomorrow's post which will hopefully be an illustrated story about my very first wild skunk encounter without trying to explain various psychological experimentation or techniques.
live skunk photos taken at the VA Living Museum

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Seagull Conversations

So this duck walked into a bar and ordered a drink.

And the bartender said, "That's $5.00."
And the duck says, "Put it on my bill."

Actually these seagulls were mating, or rather, the male was doing a silly dance around the female while throwing his head back repeatedly.... there was also a very annoying high pitched seagull cackle coming from the male.  You can see the female on the left is thrilled.  I don't think I need to state obvious comparisons.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Aaron's Beach

Sea Shell
Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
Sing me a song, O Please!
A song of ships, and sailor men,
And parrots, and tropical trees,
Of islands lost in the Spanish Main
Which no man ever may find again,
Of fishes and corals under the waves,
And seahorses stabled in great green caves.
Sea Shell, Sea Shell,
Sing of the things you know so well.
~Amy Lowell
“Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.”

~Michelle Held