Nature: From bathroom wall scribblings to Cape Henlopen dolphins

I’m back from a family camping vacation. Danny and Jon successfully separated me from Inked-In for five days. Our trip started out just fine, aside from the red bandana fuzz in my mouth. (Okay, when I said they successfully separated me from Inked-In, there was a bit of a scuffle and a gag was involved.) A few hours in, we stopped at a rest stop and Jon, my eight-year-old, got his first taste of bathroom wall poetry. My dad heard him in the next stall reading aloud: Truckers, if you want a bj . . .

Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The angels of mercy must have been in full force because not a question was asked about what that meant.

We proceeded to Philly for lunch and a duck tour. Lunch was a wiz wit handicap, of course. Translation: a Philly cheese steak with Cheese Wiz (wiz), onions (wit), sliced in half (handicap). For those who have never been, the duck tour starts off as a bus tour and then the “bus” drives into the Delaware river and becomes a boat. The vehicle is based on the WWII DUKW.

The next morning, we set out for our real destination, Cape Henlopen, where we camped under pine trees at the very peaceful state campground. Upon arrival, my mother unpacked a bag of insect bite products. Apparently, she went crazy at Target and $87 later she had balms to ward off the bite, balms for after the bite. Hell, I think she even had one in there for balm before the bug decides to bite. I’m not into the lavish spreading of chemicals on my skin, so I watched as they all balmed up and proceeded to get bitten as I sat there unbalmed and unscathed. I guess I’m not sweet enough. 🙂

Some people go through life with a black cloud over their heads. I go through life with a man with a cigar just upwind, blowing white clouds down at me. It never fails. If there is a man with a cigar, he will find me. The latest one found me on the beach, where we spent three otherwise glorious days. The weather was sunny but not too hot. The water was cold but refreshing. No waves, so I was happy. Best part was the dozens of dolphins (porpoises?) that passed by every afternoon. Some came within 20 feet. Really amazing. I had a feeling we would see them since we weren’t too far from Wildwood where they always make an appearance. We spent 2 hours building a massive sand castle. Actually, it was more of a community with upper-class condos on one end and affordable housing down the river. A giant hot tub sat out front. Things were going great until a 21-month-old boy decided to play Godzilla. His mother grabbed him just before the condos were wiped out.

The beach is a funny place to me. You lie around mostly naked with total strangers within what would normally be your too-close-for-comfort zone if you were wearing clothes. Words carry over the breeze and people never factor that in as they engage in all kinds of conversation. It’s a writer’s dream. My favorite line this trip was from the husband who, as he huffed and puffed through the sand, loaded up like a pack mule, with his wife flip-flopping in front him, screamed out “Where ya goin’ hun? The beach is the beach.”

Riding back from the beach two afternoons, we saw three deer hanging out together in a meadow with people very close by playing ball. I guess they’re used to seeing wildlife because they didn’t seem particularly impressed. Me, I’ve gotta save up those wildlife moments and hold them close to my heart for when the only wildlife around are the winged rats (pigeons to you non-NYers) diving down for Burger King leavings.

This morning, as we packed up to come home, a turtle walked across our campsite. My niece fed him some of her breakfast cereal. I had just asked her what kind it was when the turtle jumped up on his hind legs and broke out into a jig. With a damn good brogue, he exclaimed, “Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. They’re Lucky Charms and they’re magically delicious.” My sister admitted they probably weren’t a very healthy food for a turtle. I told her they probably weren’t really healthy for a human either.

My favorite silent laugh moment came as I was brushing my teeth in the campground bathroom this morning. I glanced to the right and the girl next to me was curling her eyelashes. Now I’ve seen a lot of primping go on in campground bathrooms over the years and it always make me laugh, but an eyelash curler was a first. I glanced into my mirror–my hair featured that insert-finger-in-socket look that I tend to sport in the summertime when you can’t pay me enough to use a blow dryer. The only make-up I brought was a tube of Chapstick. My skin was pink from the sun. I glanced over at her mirror–her hair was perfectly straight, not a frizz to be found. Her skin tone was a perfect beige–I must have missed the concealer and foundation application. Her eyelashes looked like she had just taken off teeny hot rollers. I spit and rinsed, and my straight eyelashes and I made our way back to camp to take down the tent.

Home, sweet, home. I’m unpacked, the laundry is going, the mail has been opened, the junk emails deleted. It’s time for Inked-In.

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2 Comments

  1. bronxboy55 said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I really like this post, Margaret — your observations about camping and going to the beach, and especially the talking turtle. Actually, the whole thing is “magically delicious.”

    • January 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks for that! I’ve never been very good at keeping photo albums or scrapbooks, so these “slice of life” posts are my word pictures.


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