I decided not to try to write a work of literature about the lake trip and just yak about it randomly.

It was a quiet vacation, the kind I like, although I’m much better suited to it than my husband. I can be alone for three days with a stack of books or a project with no problems. Sandy needs a little more action, and was ready to come home about mid-week when the weather turned cooler and rainier. I was quiet company all wrapped up in my hat weaving and reading, and we ended up being by ourselves for much of the time.

Jake, my grand-nephew, turned out to have a severe case of swimmer’s ear that he apparently had prior to coming down to the lake. When a six-year-old asks to go to the doctor, you know it’s not good. My sister had to go back home for a tennis tournament match and so they all left early Tuesday, planning to return the next day. Jake ended up going to his daddy’s house since he would have been miserable without going in the water and my sister and brother-in-law didn’t return until this past Friday night. By that time, we’d decided to come home a little earlier than planned.

After a couple of days of sitting in the water and on the pontoon boat anchored in front of the house, playing games and drinking, Sandy and I went to Lake Shore Lodge on Sunday night to watch the Sopranos. It was a little B&B that charged about the same as a cheap motel in Whiteville or Wilmington and was much, much nicer. I had asked about HBO in advance and reserved the room after being assured that we would be able to watch it Sunday night, since there were TVs in the common rooms. mama duckLater when I paid for the room I was told that they didn’t have HBO and Phyllis, the other owner, subscribed to it just because we were told that they did. It sure was an expensive TV show, for everybody involved, but I’m still glad that we did it.

I couldn’t believe that the finale didn’t include ducks, so I’m inserting some here.

I wove a hat all day Monday while the rest of my family went to the aquarium at Fort Fisher. More about the hat in another post.

On Monday night we watched Pan’s Labyrinth, which we had rented from Netflix. Whew, what an intense movie. Very disturbing. Then on Tuesday, Sandy and I drove to Wilmington and noodled around the riverfront area, ate lunch at Fat Tony’s and shopped a bit in the Cotton Exchange.

That night there was a vicious storm and we lost power. The lightning flashed off the boat and the water and the thunder was so loud it began to hurt our ears. We had napped in the late afternoon and didn’t feel like going to bed early, and there were no candles in the house. I have to admit that I was glad that we brought the laptop, because we ended up watching another movie, A Good Year, that night. The power went on and off, and the movie ran seamlessly between the battery and the AC power. The outage was weird because I walked out on the neighbor’s pier to see how many houses were out and it was very spotty.

My mother visited on Wednesday, and she brought veggies from her and Trudy’s gardens and a Vidalia onion pie. After lunch we drove down to Lake Waccamaw State Park and looked at their display in the visitor’s center. This seemed to make Mama happy, and she drove back home because she was nervous that we would get more storms. She doesn’t like to stay overnight at the lake house. I can’t remember a single time when she has. We got along well and she really liked my hat.

fishy fishy cafeOn Thursday, Sandy and I drove down to Caswell Beach and tried to find the spot where his aunt and uncle’s house used to be before the ocean reclaimed the property. We never did figure it out. Then we drove into Southport, poked around antique stores and ate a late lunch at Fishy Fishy Cafe. We strolled around looking at the beautiful old cottages and very expensive boats. I think that we found a boat that we could afford.

our boat

All we need are a couple of shovels and some hip boots.

On the way back we stopped at a roadside stand and I bought four pounds of Carolina shrimp for three dollars a pound. Of course for that price they had the heads on because they were straight off the boat but the guy popped them off for me at no charge. If I had a bigger cooler and he had had some help I would have bought more. I was alert for any signs that advertised gator tail, but I believe that I missed my chance last year. Oh well.

mama gator

We saw more gators than I have ever seen before. One big one that I call Mama Gator lives right across from our house in the canal. I estimate that she’s about ten feet long. Some trips we see her babies swimming around in the canal. I stress, in the canal, not in the lake. The first day I see an alligator in the lake, the experience will be altered forever for me. We took lots of gator photos, but the reflection off the water messed up most of them. I bet that I saw 2-3 alligators every day.

On the way to Southport on the long lonely swampy stretch of HWY 211, a doe and her fawn crossed the road in front of us. And we both saw a big black squirrel, which neither of us had ever seen before. Of course, the usual assortment of waterfowl, birds and turtles. The worst wildlife experience was when a really aggressive deerfly attacked me and bit me five times before I made it to the lake and got rid of him. I nearly stripped in front of everybody trying to get it off me. We never did kill him and I avoided his territory all week, which was in front of the back door, unfortunately.

We ate at Dale’s twice, which is a good place to get typical southeastern NC food in a beautiful setting. Down where I come from, eating out means eating fried seafood. Other than that, we didn’t do a lot of cooking.

I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which was incredibly inspiring and supportive and just awesome – a book that I will read again and again when I need a boost. I read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – just happened to pick it up in a free bin and realized that I’d never read Woolf. My boat and lake chair book was Chesapeake by Michener, another paperback off the free shelf at Ed McKays. I like to have some reading material at the lake that can be dropped in the water without much dismay, but it was a good choice anyway, since I know that at least one main branch of my family were early Chesapeake settlers.

Next post: The Lake Waccamaw hat, limited edition.