It was early Monday morning, a little over a week ago, when Deb sent me a text asking if I would like to go down to her Aunt and Uncle’s place for the holiday weekend. Their place was supposedly on the water and with Deb’s love of water I really couldn’t say no. Spending four days with people I have only met a couple of times really had me a bit nervous. I was afraid that we would run out of topics of conversation in the first couple of hours and then we would just be stuck there…amidst awkward silence…for the better part of 4 days.
Oh, and Deb failed to mention to me (until we were on the road down there) that cellphone service was spotty and/or non-existent there. Oh great. I had almost forgotten what it was like before I always had a cellphone in my hand and immediate access to the intrawebs. And as we started out our long trek down to Reedville, Virginia I thought I was going to go through withdrawals.
Our weekend didn’t start all that well either. On our way down there we were stopped in our tracks by an accident that completely closed the road we were on. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was just a sign of things to come. So we had to backtrack and take about an hour detour out-of-the-way to get back on course. But we did get back on track and made it down to Reedville early in the afternoon on Friday.
I realized, within about 30 minutes of being there, that I had nothing to be nervous about. Her Aunt and Uncle were very laid back and easy people with which to hold both fun and interesting conversations. And their place was really amazing too. Right on the water with a pier leading out to their boat.
Bob, Deb’s Uncle, offered up a cold beer and we headed out to their porch to just enjoy the beautiful afternoon and hang out for a bit.
It was during our time hanging out on the porch that I met Belle. Belle is their little chihuahua. Now I am a dog person but I have never been a big fan of the little yippy dogs. But until a couple of years ago I wasn’t a big fan of cats either…so I decided to make friends with her. But of course I was informed that she doesn’t really warm up to guys that much and I shouldn’t be offended when she doesn’t want to be my friend. I took that as a challenge and by the end of the weekend she was my best buddy.
I have been around a lot of dogs in my days and I have seen just about every kind of dog personality out there…but I have never seen a dog go so batshit crazy for food as this little girl. She absolutely loses her mind when there is food (or even just the prospect of food) around. She just loses her mind and I have never seen a dog that begs quite like her. It is the cutest thing.
Here…take a look at what I mean:
Deb and her Aunt, Kaylene, made us some great Jalapeno Margaritas and tasty Mojitos that first night.
Saturday was just a day for relaxing. We went out to eat and got a tour of the area surrounding their place. It is pretty country down there. One of those places where everyone knows everyone else. But we pretty much just relaxed on that big back porch and sucked down drinks until it got dark and we all got sleepy.
The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the ferry to Tangier Island. The island is about 15 miles out into the Chesapeake Bay and the only way to the place is by boat or plane. The ride is an hour and a half just to get there. The place is pretty tiny. There are no cars (just lots of golf carts) and it seems that the only jobs on the island are in a couple of restaurants, a gift shop or two or you are a fisherman. Not lots of career options in a place that small.
Once we got to the island it was really strange. If there weren’t golf carts all over the place it would be like you stepped back in time. All of the houses are small and close together like they were before you needed wide roads for cars. And because the island is so small there aren’t any room for cemeteries. So the kinsfolk are buried in their yards.
That was just creepy. We started joking about how this tiny island was the kind of place that would be the ideal setting for a horror movie. A movie where a small group of tourists come to the island and all the locals are all real friendly during the day. But when those tourists miss their ferry back to the mainland and have to stay there over night everything changes. Those once friendly Tangerines would don cloaks and head out to one of the marshy little areas of the island and start worshiping their pagan gods and sacrificing stranded tourists. Those graves would then open up and their vampire/zombie relatives would spring forth to devour anyone caught outside after dark.
We were laughing it up as we walked around the island and throwing out all kinds of scenarios where these peaceful people were really evil. I remember seeing this cute little girl sitting on her front stoop inside a yard that was surrounded by a chain link fence as I turned to Deb to throw out another possible movie twist. When I turned back, and I swear it had to be just a second or two, this little blond and pigtailed girl was now standing right up next to the fence not more than a foot away from me.
“I caught a dragonfly,” she whispered to me in a way that just made my skin crawl. And then she reached out her hands that had a hold of a dragonfly by it’s wings, “Do you want to see my dragonfly?”
I must have looked funny as hell as I started stumbling away from that fence, shaking my head and barely eeking out, “No, I am good.”
Everyone was laughing at me as we slowly walked away from that yard and the pouty face on that little girl. I know, I am a big puss for being scared of that little girl. But blame it on our conversation. Or blame it on every scary movie I have ever seen with some psycho kid in it. All I could think of was what would have happened had I reached for that dragonfly. I pictured my arm reaching through that fence and suddenly that child’s mouth opening impossibly wide, her jaws unhinging to show 3 rows of razor sharp teeth. And me only pulling back a stump.
The rest of the weekend, between snorts and chortles, all I kept hearing was, “You should have taken the dragonfly.”
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We stopped at Hilda Crockett’s for lunch.
They serve up an amazing family style lunch. The crabcake balls and the clam fritters were delish. I am not a fan of cream corn so I didn’t really dig the Corn Pudding but everyone else was oohing and aahing about how great it was.
We wandered around the island for an hour or so after lunch before we had to take the ferry back to the mainland. Here are some of my favorite pics that Deb took while we were there:
And then this one last pic from Tangier Island that we all found kind of funny. Is there really a need for seatbelts on a golf cart? I wonder if anyone ever got pulled over for not wearing their seatbelt.
Once we got back to Kaylene and Bob’s house I realized that I was sunburned. And I mean really sunburned. My face, arms and legs were bright red and almost immediately painful. Of course I was the only one that had even the littlest hint of a burn.
“You should’ve taken the Dragonfly.”
On the last day of our visit we got to go out on the boat. I even pretended to lend a hand and it even looks like I know what I am doing with that rope.
It was incredibly hot and I was in a whole bunch of pain from the sunburn but the day was lots of fun even though I had to spend most of it hiding from the sun.
As long as we kept the boat moving it was a comfortable trip into the Bay and up one of the many rivers in the area (I just don’t remember which one we traveled up exactly). But as soon as we stopped it was like we were being cooked. So the trip, while fun, was cut a bit short from the heat. But Deb really had fun taking pictures.
It was a great couple of days down there in the Northern Neck. Deb and I had a great time.
Many thanks to our hosts Bob and Kaylene…and of course Belle for a great weekend.
Oh…and I almost forgot. When we got back to DC on Tuesday afternoon the AC was on the fritz. It was 98 degrees outside and in the 80s in the condo.
I should’ve taken the dragonfly.