Brad Woodger>



First, a correction: Uncle Jimmer (Eric Hartell) wrote to inform me that the original Seager Chappy patriarch was named Sam, not David. I think Uncle Jimmer used to be an editor or something, so he’s a stickler for facts. And he’s the grandson of Sam. Or something like that. Probably wrong about that too.

The weather continues to confuse. All those warm Chappy days of May and early June have me convinced that it must already be July. Yesterday I saw a skunk wearing whale print pants and a blue blazer — too early dude!

Speaking of skunks, Chappy is witnessing the end of the grub phase of the Japanese beetle (I’m thinking of having T-shirts made with the life-cycle of the Japanese beetle printed on the front, and “Enjoy Chappy” on the back). Soon, there will be far fewer archeological skunk digs on our lawns, and many more iridescent beetles on our flowers. Hurray.

I have noticed in my crisscrossing of Chappy (in my capacity as Bug Man), that everybody’s lawns seem to have taken a particularly hard hit from our four-footed rototillers. Which begs the question: More skunks or more grubs this season? Perhaps the CIA will put the question to a vote at its next meeting.

Saw Peter Wells this week. On the Chappy Ferry. Boy oh boy, that guy must be racking up some serious ferry charges — he’s on there all the time! Never seems to get where he’s going either! Anyway, he mentioned that there may be a book in the works that delightfully documents the history of the ferry. I sure hope they include the oft overlooked incident at the Dike Bridge where and whence Jimmy Kennedy drove the Chappy Ferry off the Bridge. So often overshadowed by the more famous Incident at Hanging Rock.

Speaking of Peter Wells (we were, weren’t we?), Pete had a suggestion for the Chappy column. Anyone that knows me, knows I adore suggestions so I was so willing to hear Peter out. Why not put a “question of the week” at the denouement (that’s French for denewmant), of the column. Why not, indeed. Hence Peter’s question that appears at the bottom of this exhilarating whirlwind of textual adventure.

Enough about Chappy! What about you Brad! I must report that week two of my reign as summer columnist for Chappy was filled with kingly pleasures.

I caught my first bluefish from my own boat. I had previously captured a few blues on Uncle Bob Marshall’s boat in the 1970’s but had been shut out since (due mostly to the fact that I had not been fishing since). Friends would often remark at the blues jumping (I think blues jump) off the end of our dock near the gut, and point to terns gathering in the area. I would politely widen my eyes and say something appropriate like “Well, I’ll be danged, would you look at that! The sea, she’s a jumpin’,” but truthfully was much more interested in the Fritos in front of me. But this week witnessed the arrival of Kim’s family to the Big Camp, a family which includes the dynamic can-do Brad Bennett (aren’t all Brads dynamic? Word up, Mr. Fligor!). Brad wasted no time in moving our 13-foot Whaler, “Thanks A Yacht,” from its cozy home in the inner harbor to a more precarious (but also more convenient) position on our outhaul in the outer harbor. In front of our house. Now, reasoned Brad, when those birds and blues were doing their thing, we’d be prepared to do something about it. Or at least Brad B would. (A note: we are aware that the word “lot” is mispelled “yacht” on our boat. But it’s not our fault — we bartered golf for boat from the Seager family. A wonderful and fun group, but notoriously horrible spellers.) So three nights ago, just such a conflagration of events occurred, and Brad and Brad took to sea. A mere five minutes later I had deftly tangled the line of my rod. A short half hour hence, I had more deftly landed (boated?) a blue! Did I scream? Depends if you heard me or not.

Not only is Brad B an accomplished boater and fisherman, he is also a heck of a clammer. So we prevailed on the Herndon-Gearys again to, this time, be our clam guides (they’re expensive, but their tour buses rival those of any Bhopal fleet). We were apprised by Brad that we’d be in the water as long as need be to catch (clams are wicked fast) as many clams required to create an adequate juicing for Clammatos. No problem, save for the no-see-ems. By clamming’s end my bare torso resembled bubble wrap, except my little bumps were not clear but a delicious bronzed hue. Friend Matt Herndon had no similar problem however, as nature has graced him with an impenetrable body sweater of blond hairs. Down, ladies! A word of advice: When blindly digging for clams in the sand with one’s bare hand, one should be prepared to, on occasion, pull a live crab from the muck. One should also be prepared for said crab to live up to it’s name and be irritated by the disruption. Just ask Kim or me. Did we scream? Perhaps one of us.

Along with Brad B came his less famous counterparts: lovely wife, Lynn (in Lynn’s last visit she artfully decorated a candle sconce with breath-takingly beautiful poison ivy twigs! Lynn and Brad hail from Florida); Lynn’s parents, Gary and JoAnn; Brad’s brother Todd (who, oddly enough is also Kim’s brother); Todd’s twin boys, Oliver and Gabriel; and Brad and Lynn’s boys, Nick and Nate. The four boys set up a croquet court on our front lawn soon after arrival. How civilized, I thought. Within hours, however, the croquet stakes had been pounded into the ground so that they were mere nubs, the balls became hidden tripping stones, and the mallets wielded a la Brave Heart. But lest I be chastised for portraying my nephews in a negative light, let me add they all are a delight to have around. Really. Seriously. Nephew Nick was even nice enough to memorize and entertain us all with some rousing drinking songs. All good aunts and uncles should be sure that no eight-year-old leaves Chappy without at least Show Me the Way to Go Home in their repertoire of songs.

Cousin Annie visited with pictures from her trip to Greece. I hid successfully for the first 90 minutes but was flushed out of my nest eventually.

I believe my e-mail (preferred), and my home phone (discouraged) are included near my byline. Please feel free to e-mail me any news you may deem includable in the column. But please, please remember that I abhor the thankless task of judging the relative value of other folks’ news. So perhaps it would be best not to put me in the awkward position of having to do so.

I should also mention that Jocelyn Filley joined us for lobster dinner Thursday night. Not because it’s newsworthy, but because she’s been dying to be included in the column!

Happy spring y’all.

This week’s horoscope: Great prosperity awaits you around the bend! Wait, sorry, that’s for the Canadian issue.

The Peter Wells Question of the Week : this week’s question comes from Peter Wells. Does anybody know the maiden name of Travis Jacob’s mother? I’m going out on a limb and betting that Trav Jacobs knows.