Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chicken, Beer, and the Beach

Cedar Island is still a magical place to me. It is an island where tourists have never ventured to since a) they don't know it exists and b) you need a boat to get there. It is truly a locals beach. Everyone usually knows everyone. On one side of the beach is the creek but just a short walk to the other side and you can play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. There are over a million shells to collect and interesting birds to watch. It is magical.

Today I woke up a little too early. I woke up around 3:30am and discovered that I was wide awake. It took me an hour and a half to get back to sleep. So when it was time to wake up for real around 9:30am, I was demanding more sleep. This made me kind of get a late start for church, thus I kind of sped through the rain to get to church on time. Now, there is a slight problem with my car. She doesn't like to stop, for any period of time. On my way back from Ocean City, I stopped at a traffic light. My engine CUT OFF at the traffic light. I kind of started freaking out but then turned the car off, put it in park, turned it back on and put it in drive. That seemed to solve the problem. I can still drive it from place to place but I have to avoid traffic lights for fear of my engine cutting off on Lankford Hwy. Fortunately the Eastern Shore has a wide selection of back roads which get you to your destination without using the highway unless you have to cross it to get to the other side. Fortunately, I'm very familiar with almost all the back roads and could avoid the traffic lights. I made it to church 3 min late, right after the opening prayer. Not to bad for leaving at 10:15 for a 10:30 service.

After church I ventured to McDonalds to...no...not eat lunch but rather to use their bathroom to change into my bathing suit. After that sketchy adventure I drove to Folly Creek where the Reese's would launch their boat and I'd get a ride to Cedar Island. Well, I was very very early. So early that I had time to put sunscreen over my whole body, organize my car, read a chapter from one of my textbooks and eat a small breakfast. I did this tailgate style.

When the Reese's arrived I hopped on the boat just like family because, well, I am just like family. I mentioned this in my previous post but I really cherish being a part of so many Eastern Shore families even though I am what is considered a "come here."

The ride to Cedar Island never disappoints. The beautiful marshes and docks along the way make you wish you could just sit in your boat and paint the landscape to cherish forever. As we approached the island I saw there was the usual small amount of people on shore. That is because you have to know where the island is. Then you pretty much have to know people on the island. The island isn't inhabited by people but when your boat brushes up onto the sand and you look for a place to lower your anchor, you better count on everyone staring at you to make sure they know you. Well, the Reese's are kind of famous in the area so its kind of like rolling up to the island with the Queen of England.

We set up camp with beach chairs and the very important cooler. As we relaxed with the Byrds (Beth's parents), we enjoyed the beautiful view God gave us. Then comes my favorite part. I always identify with being from New Jersey. I have Jersey girl pride. Yet one thing I love about the Eastern Shore is that a trip to Cedar Island with the Reese's is not complete without greasy, delicious fried chicken, potato wedges and an ice cold beer. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is better than eating friend chicken and drinking beer on the beach on a lazy summer day. Clay and I went to collect shells and I, being the water lover I am, couldn't resist being on land for too long. I jumped into the ocean and played in the waves. The water was a lot more bearable than the water at Ocean City during beach week. I was grateful for that.

We spent a good four or five hours at the beach before heading home. As the evening breeze traveled through the shoreline, we packed up our gear, boarded the boat and Mr. Reese drove us back to civilization. The ride was perfect. Those boat rides to and from Cedar Island really make me appreciate the beauty of the Eastern Shore.

It is a get away completely cut off from civilization. Everyone gossips and sips on beer in their beer huggies. Children play or go tubing behind boats. Old men fish or talk about fishing. It is a laid back family atmosphere. Speaking of family, I was talking to a group of Cedar Island regulars when a man asked me who my parents were. I was highly amused at this question because I knew he wouldn't know my parents. I told him their names and he just shook his head and kind of lost interest in talking to me. While yes, that was a typical "come here" moment, I never once felt like a tourist or outsider. I was a member of the Byrd family. I was a member of the Reese family. I was a member of the Moore family. No explanations necessary.

Now I'm about two shades darker, not sun burnt at all (MIRACLE OF MIRACLES!) and really exhausted. Tomorrow I plan on washing off my shells, job hunting, and hoping Shucker's calls me about the waitress position. Shucker's is a family kind of place and I hope they realize that I've grown up on the Eastern Shore since 7th grade. I'm not some sketchy city girl and I know the value of hard work. They need to know that. I've been working legally since I was 14 and illegally since I was about 12. I haven't been unemployed since before I was legally allowed to work. I just finished working four jobs at College at the same time...so this unemployment thing is new to me. Also, it isn't nice at all. Money is so tight and I need to secure $52 for my Greyhound ticket for my RMC interview PLUS get a crap ton of parts for my car so my dad can try to fix it. I can't avoid traffic lights forever.

Today I found myself reflecting on an event that happened two summers ago. It was May, and the editor of the Eastern Shore News literally drove to my house, after stalking me (in a not creepy way) to ask me to freelance for them. $50 a story. My talents were sought out. The editor took time out of his day to drive to my middle of nowhere town and ask for me to work for him. To ask. Me. To work. For him. This pains me today. Why? Well, because they are not hiring any summer freelancers due to the economy. Why? Well, because they wanted to hire me straight out of college but I had other plans at the time. I actually asked them to be a reference for me as I applied to a giant newspaper in Florida. It was a fellowship training program but it was a big city newspaper not a home country bi-weekly piece of press. I think I may have betrayed them that day. I proved I had no interest staying on the Eastern Shore. They had big plans for me but they never fell through. Last summer they wanted me to work on a tourism beat for the paper. I decided to be an RA instead but they retracted their offer before I could decline the position. I think they feel like I'm a sell out. Now, no one is seeking my talents. I'm trying to work as a waitress. This depresses me. I have to keep reminding myself that there is a much bigger picture at hand (RMC). Yet, being here on the Shore makes me value the Shore. No, I do not want to spend the rest of my life in this area. Yet, it doesn't seem like such a horrible place right now. I know that journalism is not my immediate calling but I am finding that I am really starting to miss it. That could be why I find the need to blog everyday. Now, this writing is nowhere near my best, but it is nice to get some thoughts out once and awhile.

Ok, well I don't want to end on an unhappy note. That whole scenario has been kind of weighing on my mind throughout the day. The Eastern Shore has a horrible knack for bringing out some of my best and worst memories.

Let's see...something happy....oh...my neighbor is planning on taking my parents flounder fishing later in the week. I kind of invited myself to go along but they said they could take me. I'm super psyched. We're going out towards cedar island and I love fishing. No one really knows that about me but I find fishing to be one of the most fun sports of all time. :-) Maybe I'll catch a big juicy flounder...doubtful...but maybe.

So I guess I'll see what tomorrow brings. I don't want to rely on the possibility that Shucker's may actually call me. That whole gig seems too good to be true. Tomorrow I'll have to go store to store asking for applications with the hopes some one will hire me. Please. Just for three months. I have bills to pay. Well, at least I got to spend today doing nothing but taking in the sun, sticking my feet in the sand, eating friend chicken and drinking ice cold beer with good company.

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