The Eastern Shore of Virginia is one of those places where people grow up together. Our middle school and high school teachers taught our parents, friends crawled on private beaches and fished on backyard docks together. Everyone knows everyone. The names Kellam, Boggs, Custis, Taylor, and Chandler are familiar Eastern Shore names. They have been passed down for generations. If you travel on the Eastern Shore or, commonly known as "ESVA" you'll find Purdue and Tyson chicken factories, all the ham, cigarettes, peanuts and fireworks you could ever want, 50 seafood restaurants, 500 farms and a few ponies here and there.
While this is not the most ideal place for a recent college graduate to be, it does become the most beautiful place in the world when old friends come into town. I went to middle school at Mary N. Smith middle school. It is located next to Purdue chicken factory. The smell was awesome in the summer. haha. not. Anyway, I moved from Cape May, New Jersey to Onancock, Virginia the summer before 7th grade.
It wasn't until Nandua High School until it truly found my niche. I was never a major outcast at MNS although some of my classmates nicknamed me Jan Brady because of my long hair. High school was different. I became incredibly involved. I served as the freshman class secretary. I tried to get involved in theatre early. In sophomore year I was elected president of my class. I was cast as an extra in the theatre festival play. I earned a spot on the forensics team (public speaking). By junior year, I was really doing things. I was VP of the PTSA, president of my class again, in the Beta Club, thinking of starting a school newspaper, pretty well known, in charge of the sign out front of the school, and a favorite among my teacher and principal. Senior year I literally ruled the school, along with some fellow classmates of mine. I was elected class president for the third year in a row, (I think I freestyled this speech on the intercom), I was president of the FBLA, VP of the PTSA again, played God in the school play, was chosen as Homecoming Queen and yes, Prom Queen and I got into William and Mary that year. I was 14th in my class, and got to deliver a speech at graduation since I was president.
All that was great. But what really mattered was the friendships I made in high school. I was friends with a lot of different people. My close circle of friends were Heather, Beth and Clay. We did everything together. We would go to movies, the carnival in the summer, the mall, and just hang out at each other's houses. As we went to different college and represented ODU, VCU, UVA, and W&M, we made new friends and started new adventures. We still try to get together when we can.
The funny thing is, I really feel a part of each of their families. Heather and I would party together and crash at her house. Clay and I spent almost every waking minute together. Since his last name was Reese and mine, Rodabaugh...were were usually assigned seats right in front of each other. We were always getting in trouble for talking to each other. Beth and I became friends and I dealt with her drama while she patiently listened to my own. I can walk into Beth's house without knocking on the door. I know I'm always welcome to Heather's or Clay's house whenever I please. I've had many a meal at their houses.
Tonight was awesome. I'm graduated, nostalgic, worried about the future, but I got to spend time with some of the old crew. I met them at Shucker's Roadhouse, the "premier nightclub of the Eastern Shore." Actually, its like the only nightclub after the Chicken Shack and the Dew Drop were closed because of too many shootings. Anyway, I arrived at the roadhouse/nightclub and couldn't find them anywhere. It was Beth's step dad's birthday party/dinner. Beth came to the front of the club and took me to the back area where a table sat in the middle of an empty room. They had the whole stage and dance floor area to themselves. I was greeted in a most homecoming fashion. I gave hugs to Clay's parents and Beth's parents and then to Clay, Beth and Clay's brother respectively. I took my place at the end of the table and enjoyed good, welcoming, Eastern Shore company.
I ordered a beer since Bud Light draft was on sale for the evening. I had $4 in my pocket for the occasion. Clay's mother told me that it would go on her tab. Then the whole other end of the table started whispering and told the waitress something. Sure enough she returned with a huge tankard of Bud Light. I was so amused. I buried my head in my hands in laughter. I knew I could take this tankard on...but I was still highly amused by it. I thanked the table, took a few pictures for laughs and enjoyed the evening.
The parents left me and Clay and Beth to ourselves to enjoy the bar atmosphere. Outside the bar is a sand dance floor, a pool, and a volleyball net complete with a tiki bar and all the Jimmy Buffet, Lynard Synard and Kid Rock you could ever want to hear. We hung out at Shucker's for a bit. Then our waitress from dinner popped by to say hello. "What are you kids up to?" She asked. We told her we were enjoying adulthood and drinking since we all just graduated college. Then I told her I was trying to be a bagger at Food Lion. She told me that a waitress had quit earlier that evening and that they were in desperate need of a new waitress. I told her I was in desperate need of a job. Before you know it I had left my name and number for her boss with the hopes that I'll be contacted. I wouldn't mind being a waitress at Shucker's. It would be good money and it is a really nice place to work. So maybe there is a new job in my horizon!
A little while later we decided to leave the wonderful Shucker's to pursue new adventures. We drove into my old town and visited the "Bur." It is another bar but due to some sort of town restriction it is called the "Bur." They have a sign where it is a cursive B U and R but the U is almost and A. So it pretty much says Bar. A band was playing some rock music from our day so we enjoyed the entertainment. Then we all went back home.
Tomorrow we're planning on going out on the boats and heading to Cedar Island. It is this magical place where one side is the creek and the other side is the ocean. I love it. Basically it is the place where we sit in beach chairs, drink beer and eat fried chicken. It IS the Eastern Shore.
Even though I'm a "come here," joining the crew in 7th grade/9th grade, I'm still a member of their families. They all grew up together and their parents know each others' parents. They all hang out like blood brothers. I'm an addition, but a welcomed one. I love their families just as I love my own. Sadly this weekend will come to an end and I'll be left to busy myself with whatever I can find to do. I recently started re-reading my old sociology textbooks because well...I didn't really read them in college. They are fascinating. Hopefully I'll get that Shucker's job. We'll see.
I love the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is hick ville at its best, but it is home. I won't stay here but I will always venture back to the sound of Jimmy Buffet and the cool peninsula breeze passing by.