Oct 20 2014

Dinah's Land­ing

Photo by Val MacEwan

Wash­ing­ton NC Water­front Sunset


Roads change. Back in the late 1980s, I raised two girls and a garage full of crit­ters on a slice of the east­ern shore­line called Dinah's Land­ing. We lived in company-​owned hous­ing, a small pre­fab 3 bed­room, 2 bath home on a Wey­er­haeuser pine seedling nurs­ery. The house sat across from the nurs­ery office under a canopy of Loblolly pines and live oaks.

The road to the nurs­ery was paved with "reject", a pecu­liar mix­ture of fos­sils and clay -- the byprod­uct of the phos­phate mine owned by Potash­Corp (Saskatchewan CA com­pany, and one of the largest holes in the US) across the river in Aurora NC. It's an asphalt-​covered road now.

[Reject is described more fully later on in this essay.]

Let's move on, shall we?

How it was : Dinah's Land­ing Road, 1989

A tobacco barn, built before the Depres­sion and cov­ered with polit­i­cal signs hawk­ing can­di­dates from the 1980s, leans pre­car­i­ously toward the high­way at the turn-​off to Dinah’s Land­ing Road. The three mile stretch of road is barely vis­i­ble from the high­way. It’s just a nar­row slice cut through tobacco and corn fields. Most of the peo­ple trav­el­ing over NC Hwy 264E to Cape Hat­teras will drive right by and never see the turn-​off. Few will feel the urge to turn down this North Car­olina farm road. It ends abruptly at a small pub­lic access boat land­ing which gives the road its name, Dinah’s Land­ing Road. This is where the locals launch small, pretty sun­fish sail­boats and mod­est fish­er­mans’ jon boats. Three miles of unpaved incon­gru­ous lifestyles; where agri­cul­ture con­cerns co-​exist in frag­ile har­mony with upper middle-​class urban­ites that are hell bent to retire amid Loblolly pine and cypress on the banks of the tan col­ored water of the Pam­lico River.

Beaufort County, NC

Beau­fort County, NC

Con­tinue reading


Oct 16 2014

Close Your Eyes and Remem­ber #1

favurlClose your eyes.

Think on this.

Imag­ine the Sev­enth Grade back when we had Junior High Schools.
(If you're too young to do this -- you can still read on, just think back to your youngest teenage years.)

Not mid­dle schools. Back when the US still had a des­ig­nated invol­un­tary delin­eation of time called "Junior High ", 7th - 9th grades were com­pleted and then you entered High School as a sopho­more for 10th - 12th grades of study. Do we even still say that? Fresh­man, Sopho­more, Junior, Senior -- when we talk about high school years?

Back in my day, the "close my eyes" day, fresh­man year was the top of the walk. The goal of every new-​teen. My par­ents, and many oth­ers, con­sid­ered ninth grade a piv­otal year.

Baby Boomer? You know what I'm talk­ing about here. Con­tinue reading

Oct 16 2014

Close Your Eyes and Remem­ber #2


Sev­enth Grade and Gym Class

Junior High Girl's Gym Class. I had it sec­ond period. Yes, at 9:30 a.m. we were sup­posed to strip out of our clothes, put on over-​sized blue cot­ton shorts and a button-​up peter pan col­lared cot­ton shirt and thick white socks and Keds. White Keds. Then we were expected to play soft­ball, exer­cise, run track, for 45 min­utes, come back into the locker room, take a shower in stalls with no cur­tains or doors, get back into our street/​school clothes, and go on to Eng­lish or Sci­ence or what­ever our next class was.

What was not invented or in com­mon use in 1966: Blow dry­ers. Per­ma­nent Press. Bikini or hip hug­ger underpants.

The Dress Code. Strictly enforced dress code. A go-to-the-girl's-dean and be sent home if your skirt was too short dress code. Con­tinue reading

Oct 12 2014

Writ­ing about what I know...

Noth­ing like cos­tumes and ghosties and fall dec­o­ra­tions for Hal­loween to kick­start that hol­i­day rem­i­nisc­ing bonanza. It is once again time to remind myself of how the Inter­net, Face­book, and social media will be filled with maudlin remarks about mur­dered chil­dren, Ebola, incom­pre­hen­si­ble fears about The Other and then a heavy dose of the stu­pid annual insan­ity parade on Fox News and else­where about how Christ­mas is under siege and know­ing damn well the siege those nimrods speak of is noth­ing like the siege those dying of dis­eases feel ...

So I turn inward now.

Inside my head to what is mine.

Not toward the vio­lence I've wit­nessed because, being nearly 60 years old, I rec­og­nize every­one will bear wit­ness to some hor­ror of one kind or another.

A mem­ory walk -- I want to remem­ber my par­ents and my brother. Christ­mas mem­o­ries filled with love, joy, laugh­ter and tra­di­tions. There aren't many tra­di­tions in my life any more. Early warn­ing: if you don't pre­serve what you once knew, no one else will be around to help you acti­vate tradition.

Think­ing about how it used to be, how it was when it was a dif­fer­ent way than it is now -- doesn't make me sad. Used to make me down­right des­per­ate. Now it makes me smile to remem­ber and to know that by smil­ing, I honor my par­ents and my brother. Per­haps even my dead sis­ter will spare me a moment of kind thought, just a peek at who we were when we laughed and gig­gled at the world. Before she became so angry.

Christ­mas With the Dead

Not with zom­bies or monsters.

Sep 25 2014

Rules for the Ham­mock Patrol

valerie macewan photo

Found in a pile of ephemera:

Har­vey Boyd - President

Kenny L. Ash­ley - Vice-​President
Bud Hans - Scribe
Ger­ald Glover - Treasurer

1. No smok­ing in ham­mock.
2. No burn­ing of or light­ing matches or can­dles.
3. 20 cents a month dues
4. Not more than 1 man sleep­ing in the ham­mock.
5. Ever mem­ber own his own ham­mock.
6. Every new mem­ber must demon­strate cor­rectly how to pitch his ham­mock.
7. Vote on every new mem­ber to come in. 23 vote.
8. On camp­ing trips, dig a latrine.
9. On Patrol hikes, camp stove can be used.
10. Cook with groups or not if you want to.
11. Patrol meet­ings once a week.

Sup­per Wednes­day -
Boiled Pota­toes

Break­fast -