Monday, August 16, 2010

The O.I. countdown continues. Two weeks until our flight to Boston.

#4. Hermit crabs, Fiddler crabs, Horseshoe crabs...

During my childhood, Onset Island was heaven for a girl who dreamed of being a famous biologist one day. I still fall into the same category today...well, except I AM a biologist (by education and interest at least) and I'm not sure how famous I want to be anymore.

But Onset Island is still heaven for finding critters. Razor clams, jellyfish, minnows, crabs (and more crabs), sometimes even starfish, not to mention all of my favorite shorebirds... and we even had a beached dogfish shark one year. Maybe I'll make one of my miniature aquariums for old time's sake.

#5. McBride Family dinners.

Huge, chaotic, McBride style dinners crammed into tiny little beach cottages. Paper plates balanced precariously on laps as every imaginable sitting spot is taken advantage of - usually resulting in several spilled plates of food. Spontaneous jam sessions are started before, after or sometimes even during dinner. (In fact, spontaneous jam sessions could be a separate favorite category for me. Anytime anyone hears anything remotely sounding like someone playing an instrument they miraculously show up with their instrument to join in.) Dinner is always followed with boisterous conversations, poem readings and recitations, and everyone joining in for a rousing session of singing rounds.

#6. The floating dock.

Halfway between the island and the mainland there is a floating dock anchored in the mud. It is the favorite spot for swimming and cavorting around. Aunt Lindsey used to always take us out for picnics there and we have even performed our own version of Revels out there.

Usually, at some point in the week, at least once, somebody has to discover the joys of smearing the pure, organic, bio-rich, rejuvenating onset island mud all over themselves for a full body exfoliation. And then swim for hours afterward trying to wash off that hideous smell...

#7. The opera tree.

Although this has been one of my all time favorite spots on the island not everyone in the McBride clan may be familiar with this famous landmark, at least not by that name. However, to a certain few cousins (namely Theodora, Jemima & Frankalina ... real names not used for privacy purposes) this was the hang out. Aptly named for it provided a hidden sanctuary, safe to bellow out various musical phrases... mostly from Marx Bros. movies.

#8. Rowboats & rowing.

Wooden rowboats. Oars creaking in oar locks. Waves lapping against the bow and rocking the boat. The occasional splash as the inexperienced (landlubber *ahem*) rower 'catches crabs'.

Many memories were formed in hours spent rowing around Onset. One year all of us notoriously crazy older cousins filled up two rowboats and performed an epic battle at sea. All acting as pirates accusing the others of being landlubbers, until Francis & Russell simultaneously threw their weight toward the same side of their warship and nearly capsized. For a few special years Leslie Andersen let us (see cousins named in above "opera tree" section) borrow her little fiberglass rowboat-converted-from-sailboat named "the Squally". It was lightweight and easy for our thin little arms to aptly manage. And early morning rows around the island are always a wonderful start to the day.


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