I wasn't sure when--or if--I would ever get back to blogging. I've been so busy lately that there hasn't been much time for it, and a part of me was beginning to think, "What the heck have I got to say anymore that anyone would want to read anyway?" Then I sat down this morning to check my e-mails and found this one from my middle son: "Hey Mom, Your fans are craving some more blogs! Love, M--"
My "fans"--as my dear son, who is for the moment my favorite, calls them--are almost exclusively people with the same last name as mine or are related to me in some way. And I wouldn't be surprised if most of them are getting a little tired of my daily ramblings. But if my boy wants blogs, then by golly, he's going to get blogs!
I just returned from a five-day trip down to Chincoteague Island, VA (which is about 11 and 1/2 hours by car from where I live) with my mother and sister. It is the most beautiful little spot in the world, with so much for an eager tourist to see and do (and plenty of good seafood to eat! And ponies to feed!); but unfortunately the cause for our trip was a sad one. My sister and I accompanied our mother, who had to go down there in the wake of her baby sister's sudden tragic death to clean out her house and start the process of getting her affairs in order. There was a lot of work to do, and it was depressing and exhausting. But we met some wonderful people down there--people filled to overflowing with that "Southern hospitality" you're always hearing about--who were tireless in their efforts to help us out in any way they could. (It was more than mere "hospitality": for instance, my aunt's adorable landlady hugged us over and over and adopted my sister and me as her "nieces," saying that now we would always be family.) We were able to have a lovely memorial service and put on a reception for my aunt's friends, and I believe we were able to give a great deal of comfort to her grieving fiancee/special friend of about ten years, who was shocked and shattered by her passing. We got much more accomplished in three days than we ever could have thought possible.
On a happier note, if you're looking for a really cool place to vacation, you might want to give Chincoteague Island a look. It has long been a mecca for birdwatchers, if you're into that, and is the home of a National Wildlife Refuge. There is also a world famous event called the Wild Pony Swim, which draws crowds of about 40,000 annually. This year, I believe it takes place on July 25. At that time the ponies will be rounded up, and some will be sold in order to keep the herd at about 150.
While we were in Chincoteague, we felt privileged to meet our late aunt's fiancee/special friend, Delbert "Cigar" Daisey. He is actually quite a character--and a world-renowned carver of wooden duck decoys. His incredibly detailed, meticulously painted renderings of all different kinds of ducks and shore birds can be found in museums and often sell for tens of thousands of dollars at auction. He is an 84-year-old native of Chincoteague, a good old boy who has never flown in an airplane--and never even got a driver's license until he met my aunt (when he was in his 70's!); yet he's been written up in publications as prestigious as National Geographic. In the course of his lifetime, beginning in the 1940's, he's carved about 19,000 birds, and any serious collector of duck decoys would recognize his name instantly. We went out to eat with him several times and visited him at his house--and we even got a tour of his workshop, which was quite an experience. I may have to devote a whole separate blog post to Cigar, our new best buddy for life, at some future time; but for now, I'm just going to post this picture of the famous artist-craftsman/hunter/trapper/fisherman/surveyor/civil engineer (you name it, he's done it, despite his limited education), sitting inside the humble little building in which many of his prized works of art were produced.
This man loved my aunt dearly, and we all need people like that in our lives--because, to quote John Donne, "No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main." So here's a special thanks to the people who love me and encourage me in everything I do, who keep me connected to the continent. It's because of them, and their unfailing support, that I've decided to keep on blogging.