Hello Friends and Family,

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Fun With Family

This has been a wonderful week filled with great times with my family. It began with a short trip to Ocean City — a modern beach resort that we all remember as a sleepy little old-fashioned beach and boardwalk. Some of its old-time charm remains — they have reconstructed the boardwalk (after tearing out the original and replacing it with concrete then restored) and some of the old rides, amusements and food joints remain.

Moreover, we remember going up the beach past the end of the boardwalk where we would gather driftwood, build a fire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows. The kids would play hide and seek among the sand dunes covered with marsh grasses while the adults talked and joked. My uncle would fish from the surf with his long pole that he could sling miles out into the ocean — or so it seemed when we were little. Unfortunately, kids today will not be able to experience that fun because Ocean City is now city all the way up the beach with homes and high-rise hotels and condos as far as the eye can see.

Tuesday was devoted to running around Salisbury looking at flooring (my mom would like to replace her carpets with wood floors) — and shopping at the Country House — so full of crafts and country stuff (didn't think that we would ever get my two sisters out of that place).

Dinner was a real treat — a bushel of steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs accented with Old Bay Seasoning. For those of you on the west coast, these are like tiny Dungeness crabs — anatomically, they are nearly identical except the blue crabs are much smaller. One can easily eat 6 to 12 in a sitting — which means that you really have to work for your meal extracting all the meat from those tiny little compartments.

Which leads me to one of my favorite stories. Soon after I moved to California in the late 1970's, my parents came to visit. I had told them about these huge Dungeness crabs — where one is a full meal — but my mom just couldn't quite believe it since she was only familiar with the smaller blue crabs. We went out to dinner and she ordered a whole Dungeness crab but was afraid that one would not be enough — and thought perhaps she should order two. I assured her that one would most likely be sufficient and if somehow she was still hungry after eating one, we would gladly order her a second. Needless to say, she could not finish the first, so the second was obviously out of the question.

Golf was on the agenda for Wednesday — my brother-in-law and I are the only golfers in the immediate family. We scheduled our tee time at a beautiful seaside course called Lighthouse Sound. However, as we were driving to the golf course, the weather turned misty then to a drizzle then steady rain as we got closer. Sadly, we decided that it wasn't worth catching pneumonia to hit those little white dimpled balls in the rain.

As we drove back toward my parents' home, the rain let up and we even saw a few patches of blue sky. The Eastern Shore is like the Bay Area in that the weather may differ significantly from place to place. So we decided to stop by another golf course, Nutter's Crossing, in Salisbury and it turned out that it was wide open, we could play at any time. Even though it was our second choice, we had a great time — although Danny beat me by one stroke (you always want to beat your brother or brother-in-law at golf). Darn!

Dinner at Brew River was our last night with all of us together — a lovely restaurant overlooking the river — a happy time for all of us to be together — but, at the same time, sad that it was time for some of us to leave for home or other destinations. Fortunately, retirement has allowed me the free time to stay longer and continue to enjoy visiting with my parents as well enjoying as this wonderful place, the Eastern Shore.

Friday was our trip to Chincoteague Island on the coast a bit south of here (actually across the state line in Virginia). Chincoteague is the southern gateway to Assateague Island National Seashore which is one of the coastal sand islands that changes its contour over time due to the action of the ocean currents and storms. Below are pictures of the flora and fauna plus surf fishing gear and the famous lighthouse. Chincoteague is also famous for its wild ponies that are herded to the mainland each year — then a portion of the herd is auctioned off and the remainder are then herded back across the bay to their island home. This is done both for conservation — so that the herd is sustainable with the available food — and for raising funds for the Chincoteague Fire Department.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com