Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/30/2012 The Aftermath of the Storm

(Rehoboth Beach, DE)

We should have listened to the news and weather before heading to bed last night. At 12:30 we were woken by our 5th wheel moving. Actually, I thought someone had hit our fifth wheel because it was moving so much.

I jumped up and looked out the window and in the sections of campground I could see lights were coming on in every RV. We then realized it was wind, intense wind. We found out this morning it was clocked at 65 miles an hour and that the east coast was hit with a fast moving, killer storm. Its been called a land hurricane.

Bob went out to secure the few things we had that could have been blown away. Others were out putting down awnings, stowing lawn chairs and laying bicycles on the ground.

The lightning and thunder were also intense and while it rained, it wasn’t enough to flood anything.

Millions lost power and the Eastern Shore was hardest hit. It will be several days, if not a full week, before some areas have their electricity restored.

I rode around the campground this morning before heading over to the marina.

A table and grill overturned by the wind.


What was left of a canopy. A mangled aluminum frame and the canvas cover was nowhere in sight. Neither was the tent that sheltered this air mattress and those that slept on it before the storm.


I can’t even imagine being in a tent last night. I saw lots of tents with mangled poles laying on the ground, the owners probably in local motels this morning.


Some tents either stood during the onslaught of this powerful storm or the tent dwellers just had no other means of spending the night anywhere else and had to get them put back up last night.

Lots of campers were out this morning looking for towels that were pinned to temporary clotheslines and were blown away, looking for sand buckets and shovels their little ones left out, damage to awnings was being assessed and talk between neighbors centered on the storm.

When I got to the marina there was lots of activity on the docks with marina personnel making sure that lines were secure, no boats were leaning to one side or the other and that generally everything made it through the night.

The marina café didn’t fare so well. The first thing I noticed was an umbrella, or what was left of one, in the parking lot behind the café. I sure didn’t expect to see this when I walked around front.



As you can well imagine the storm is all anyone is talking about. Well, that, and our 100 + degree days. This is so unusual for June in this area.

When I got my golf cart organized and arrived at the ramp I found utter chaos! I had two boats in the ramp and seven waiting in line and the parking lot was already full.

One of the boats was having mechanical problems and the boat owner and his buddy were trying to fix it right at the ramp and from what I heard from those waiting in line they had been there for a half hour already. It took me no time at all in getting them to pull the boat back out and to work on their problems in the parking lot.

When you put a boat in the water it is a ramp rule that you immediately take it to the courtesy dock and then come back and get your truck and trailer and get them parked. This way, if the ramp lot is full and you have to go to the remote parking lot then at least the ramp can be used by someone else. Got that?

As each driver starts to back down the ramp Bob and I stop them and remind them of this, especially if we’re busy. Now mind you, if they were the only one using the ramp and the ramp lot wasn’t full we would have no problem with them leaving the boat tied to the ramp dock and parking their truck first. That applies only if we aren’t busy.

I had this fellow and his three buddies come to put in a rather large boat. When I stopped the driver of the truck on the way down the ramp he told me that he would be parking behind the dry stack building and wouldn’t need me to follow him to the remote parking lot. I told him that was fine but he still had to move his boat the courtesy dock first. He assured me that one of the fellows on the boat would move it. I stood there and watched them launch it and saw a short exchange take place between the driver and one of the guys with him. I just had a funny feeling about this and it turned out I was right. The driver drove away with his truck and trailer and the three guys are on the boat still tied to the ramp dock. I hear a very lame attempt at starting the engine, like the key isn’t being turned all the way for ignition. I heard this sound several times and then watched the three fellas talk amongst themselves and then heard the lame starting of the engine again. This went on until the driver appeared at the top of the ramp. He had this big smile on his face and I said to him, “Something tells me this boat is going to start right away as soon as you get on it.” He looked at me and laughed and said, “Yeah!” This didn’t sit well with me at all. I knew what I would have liked to say to him but I also knew I couldn’t use that kind of language to a customer. So I did the next best thing. I called after him, “I hope you don’t catch any fish!”

Today is Ronnie and his family’s last day of vacation. We hate to see them go.

Melissa came over and asked if I wanted to watch the sunset with her. Well, I just wouldn’t pass that opportunity up! Yeah, yeah, more sunset pictures!

Oh, look at that red sky at night.








There has been something we’ve wanted to do all week and we realized its now or never. We want to walk our new bridge. Ronnie took this picture of it from the top of his motor home.


So off we went. (Note to my friend Diana, take notice we left the campground, so we went off to the bridge)



Ronnie will take a picture of anything!


Actually, his picture looked pretty good,,,,,so I took one too.


I also wanted to take this picture.


The one above is the second one I took because Ronnie was being his usual jokester and pain in my butt self and tapped my arm just as I was taking the picture. This was my first attempt.


It’s a good thing he’s my favorite cousin!

Friday, June 29, 2012

6/29/2012 Meet Benelli

I was sitting at the ramp today and noticed this fellow walking a Great Dane. His arm was outstretched with the leash and I asked, “Is he walking you or are you walking him?” He showed me that he was holding onto the leash with only one finger so he was definitely walking the dog.

Meet Benelli. He is a Blue Merle colored Great Dane. I didn’t know this breed was actually a mix between a Mastiff and Irish Wolfhound. I always thought they were a breed unto themselves. You learn something new every day.


As far as Great Dane’s go, Benelli is on the small side. He’s two and half a years old and wears a very special tag on his collar. Benelli is a therapy dog. He is welcomed into several hospitals and nursing homes in Pennsylvania and pretty much has the run of the place including Intensive Care Units.

Todd, his owner, and his wife got this gentle giant when he was just a small pup. At eight months old his people knew he was meant to be a therapy dog. The way Todd tells it, Benelli told them. Don’t take that literally, Todd wasn’t telling me the dog talks but that Benelli did in fact let them know he was special and born for this.

Todd took him to a training center, where therapy dogs are trained, to get information on the training and requirements. At this point Benelli had had no training of any kind. The training center doesn’t even begin the process until dogs are at least nine months old and Benelli was only eight months at the time. Todd knew he had one very special, smart dog and asked them to do some of the testing so that he would know what he had to work on with Benelli. They had the time so they agreed to test him. Much to everyone’s surprise, except Todd, Benelli passed the test without any formal training.

Todd told me that early on he gave hand signals to the Great Dane for sit, stay, lay and he just instinctively knew what was wanted of him. No training, he just did it.


When he turned nine months old it was back to the therapy training center for the beginning of training sessions. When completed, Benelli didn’t have to test out, he’d already passed the test after all. And so started Todd and Benelli’s trip to children’s hospitals in their region. It is not at all unusual for this Great Dane to climb into bed with these ill children so that they can pet and hug him.

Benelli’s visits are confined to just children. Todd told me of some their experiences and I have to tell you goose bumps just ran up and down my arms. There was one in particular that stands out. There was a man who was hospitalized quite awhile and waiting on a heart transplant. The man was running out of time and there was no heart forthcoming that was a match. I can’t remember this one part – they went into the room to visit or they were walking by the room and Benelli insisted on going in there, but I’m leaning towards the latter option. Either way, Benelli jumped up and put his paws on the side of the bed and sniffed all around the man’s body in the area of the heart. The very next morning the man received his new heart.

Todd relayed other stories of patients, children and adults alike, that were in much pain and when Benelli lays in bed with them they because a lot less agitated and are soon able to engage in normal conversation with no regard or indication to the pain they were in just a short time prior.


Not only has Benelli made a difference in the lives of the hospital and nursing home patients he visits, he also brought about a major change in his owner as well. By his own admission, Todd was selfish, short tempered and at times probably arrogant. All that changed when Benelli came into his life. When he realized how special this dog was and what peace and happiness he brought to those who were ill, in pain or just alone in this world, he saw things from a whole new perspective. Where once he was selfish he now gives his time, one of our most precious commodities, freely to others by spending his weekends visiting hospitals and nursing homes. He has even gone during the week when a hospital calls him and says Benelli is needed. At one time, he says, he would just as soon punch your lights out if you gave him a hard time as look at you. Not so, anymore. Benelli has taught him patience, humility and today he is a caring man.

Since Todd is called for Benelli’s services the dog now has his own calendar of events.

I’m glad I met Todd and his wife, although I never did learn her name. I’m especially glad I met Benelli and learned more about this gentle, sweet tempered canine.

I’m hoping they come to the marina again for a weekend so I can hear more stories about this wonderful dog.

While Bob and I were busy tending the marina ramp today my cousin Ronnie was also busy. He spent his morning slicing and dicing and mincing his special blend of herbs to coat the racks of ribs he was smoking today for our dinner this evening, Oh yeah, smoked ribs, corn on the cob and baked beans for dinner. Talk about finger lickin’ good! Finger lickin’ good for everyone else that is. I’ve got this thing about getting my fingers dirty when eating. The same reason I don’t like to clean crabs. Yes, I eat ribs with a fork and knife! Go ahead, laugh, I got used to that during dinner today. Whether we ate them with our fingers or with utensils,,,they were some good ribs!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6/27/2012 Shrimp Boil

(Rehoboth Beach, DE)

Since cousin Ronnie has been so generous with his grilling skills we decided to host dinner here tonight and have a shrimp boil.

While everyone was at the beach today I went to the grocery store to get the shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob, mussels and onions. When I got home I chopped, sliced and diced so that everything would be ready later in the day to cook. I couldn’t do the beach a second day in a row so I used the day to get caught up on laundry and did odds and ends around the house.

Everyone present, food cooked, table set, we sat to chow down on a shrimp boil.


Melissa wanted to try the mussels but was unsure if this was something she really wanted to do.

I know this because she spent a long time just looking at on the end of her fork.


It took some coaxing from her dad but she finally let it pass her lips.

Wanna guess if she liked it or not? I think this next pic tells the answer.


I think it may have even brought a tear to her eye.


To be fair, Melissa should probably try mussels again. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen! You see, I cooked them and the recipe called for white wine which I didn’t have. I had to make a substitution and rather than try to substitute the flavor of the wine I based my substitution on color. As in clear. Like water. Yep, instead of a cup of wine I used water. Hey, it was clear and it started with a W! I could tell from the look on Ronnie’s face when he tried them that the mussels left a lot to be desired. I mean it all but screamed, “Geez, these mussels suck!” So Melissa, try them again when someone else makes them.

No sunset this evening. I mean there was one, I just didn’t see it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26/2012 Surprise Day!

(Dewey Beach, DE)

Today is the day! Today is the day that Melissa and Elaine and I have thinking about all week. Of course Elaine and I knew what we were thinking about, and Melissa, well her thoughts just ran wild.

We all dressed in shorts and T’s or bathing suits with cover-ups. We told Melissa we were going to the beach right after the surprise so she should wear a bathing suit.

Elaine met us in Dewey Beach and Evalou, Ronnie, Patty, Melissa and I rode to Dewey together. On the way I told Melissa I couldn’t hold it any longer, that I had to tell her so that she could prepare herself. She was practically bursting with anticipation. I finally let it out of the bag. “Melissa, we’re going to go swimming with the dolphins!” Her eyes got as big as saucers and she grinned from ear to ear and was so excited. Then she finally spoke. “WOW!” “How cool!” And she just couldn’t stop smiling. Until. Until Ronnie went and broke the spell with, “Yeah, Melissa, its gonna be great but you do have to watch out for the small shark they have in the tank.” She looked at me with such concern and then said, “Noooo,,,there can’t be a shark in the tank.” I assured her it was only a little one. Well, she wasn’t buying that so I told her that no, there was no shark that her dad was only kidding her. She looked very relieved.

So we pulled into the Rusty Rudder Restaurant parking lot and I told Ronnie where to park and that the tank was out bank. We all pile out of the car and the first thing we notice is a volleyball game going on.


I finally see Elaine and we connect again for the first time in two years. These forever friends are back together again!


There’s lots of activity going on all around us. I walk over to Melissa and said, “Melissa, I have something to tell you. We’re not going to swim with the dolphins.” “We’re not?” she said. “No, we’re not, we’re going PARASAILING instead!” She was thrilled! She told me that loved the idea of swimming with the dolphins but liked parasailing a whole lot more.

I was gifted three gift certificates from the owner of the company. I had met him in the marina and told him that I would be happy to tell the campers in the campground about his business and would pass out brochures if he would provide them. Of course I also added that I’d have to get something in return for all this advertising. I really just expected two passes and I had already talked with Elaine about this so when he gave me three it was truly a bonus!

Not only did Justin gift me with three passes we had three watchers who were going to ride in the boat and normally that would cost $15.00 per person but he gifted that too.

I don’t know if Patty is happy about the beautiful day or if she’s so happy that its her daughter going and not her.


Ronnie seemed pretty happy too. Hmmm…there’s something about a man in blue Cap’n Crunch shirt. I don’t what, but there’s something.


So now we’re out in the boat and we’ve got our life preservers on and the harnesses. I had truly considered taking my camera up with me because I’ve been parasailing before and knew that it was an easy ride and the views are spectacular. I had parasailed in the Outer Banks about 20 years ago and just loved it. I went up 1200 feet in OBX and today we would go up 800 feet. Piece a cake. Or so I thought. <<<<<<RED FLAG! RED FLAG!

Here we are, all suited up listening to instructions.


They have a triple seat which we had hoped to use but since it is on the windy side it was decided that Elaine and Melissa would go up first and then Melissa and I would go up next. Melissa was getting to go twice and she quite undecided how she felt about this not having ever been before.

Getting the sail up.



And she’s up!


I look at this next picture and I see the First Mate hold his hand out like saying, “C’mon already!” and then I see Elaine sitting there checking out her manicure and trying to decide if she’s going or not.


Getting hooked up.

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There they go!




You get up there pretty high, even for 800 feet.


Everyone gets dipped in the water.



What goes up…must come down.


They loved it! Elaine has been wanting to do this for a long time and I was really glad that Melissa liked it so that she would go with me.

So now its my turn.


Here we go!


When we got to this height…..


…..I realized that somewhere along the line in the last twenty years, since I first parasailed, I have developed a fear of heights! I held on for dear life and white knuckles were definitely evident.

I did manage to wrap one arm around the strap and make a motion with my hand that I wanted down. I kept pointing down and I guess from the boat it looked like I was waving,,,,so they all waved back.

We did have a beautiful day for this.


We did get dipped,,,



I can tell you the air was colder than the water and we really felt it as we were lifted once again into the air. The wind had picked up which made me all the more uncomfortable.

I was so glad to be back on the boat!



I think he was prying my fingers from the straps here.


Here I am saying, “Piece of cake!” and lying through my teeth!


We had a mother/daughter team on our boat too who were also going to go parasailing. That was all fine and good but as I mentioned, the wind had picked up and the water was getting rough and choppy. And dontcha know….I get seasick. They tell me I was as white as Melissa a ghost. I kept looking for something to focus on on land but depending which direction we were hitting the waves from I couldn’t always hold that focus. Because it was getting windier their ride was cut short by a few minutes. Yay,,,I mean awwwww.

I was glad to get back on land! We all spent the afternoon on the beach. It was great to spend time with Elaine and talk the afternoon away!

We had a cookout for dinner with hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob and more of the squash/tomato dish.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. When we got back to the campground, Melissa started texting her friends back home about the parasailing. In Melissa’s eyes I was elevated from cool cousin to SUPER COOLEST COUSIN IN THE WHOLE WORLD!

What a great day, well except for the fear of heights and seasick, queasy feeling.