Downy Oshun, Hon

5 Oct

“Goin’ downy oshun, hon” is Baltimore-ese for heading the Ocean City, which The Squire and I, along with my brother-in-law, did this past weekend. Eldest Daughter has a condo, which she was kind enough to let us use. Everything we needed was there – eggs in the fridge, shampoo and soap in the bathrooms. Eldest Daughter and her husband do not drink coffee, but Brother-in-Law had brought his coffee pot. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any milk (I put coffee in my coffee) so poor BIL had to top off his coffee with whipped cream. Kaffe mit schlagge. But – the whipped cream had both milk and sugar.

We spent Saturday at a Celtic Festival in Berlin, Maryland, listening to bagpipes and watching Irish dancers. Wow! I get winded watching those young ladies, and they weren’t even breathing hard. Listened to a story teller, and watched a blacksmithing demonstration. The fellows watched a demonstration of swordplay; the knights slaughtering the peasantry, The Squire called it. The actors had some of the kids in the audience (mostly boys, obviously) come into the arena and flail about, smacking their wooden long swords against the knights’ shields, and then moved in to corner the child. They would take a collapsible sword and “kill” the child. There was some mighty inventive dying going on, let me tell you. One kid would spin in circles, crying “I’m dying! I’m dying”, while another would simply fall flat clutching his chest, flapping like a fish out of water. In the end, the knight would pull the sword from the hilt and the “stab” the child one more time; the blade would slide up into the hilt, so there was no harm done, and the boys just loved it.

While we were touring the museum-cum-gift shop, The Squire was inspecting an interactive display of various woodland sounds – a rattlesnake, and some bird calls. Suddenly I heard a familiar sound. “That bird!” I called to him. “That bird! That’s the one I’ve been hearing in the yard. What is it?”

“Oh, that? It’s a red winged hawk”, he replied, in a tone of voice that indicated I should have known all along. Someday…

Later, we went to dinner at The Green Turtle, which as to be the noisiest place I’ve ever been in my life. Just about every table had a TV set, each turned to a different game – some football, some baseball – and even with half the sets muted people were still straining to make themselves heard. And then suddenly, everything went quiet. One set was turned to a baseball game, and a young man began singing God Bless America; everyone stopped to listen. It was truly moving. I know there are folks out there who will have a fit over mentioning God, but the national anthem is SO hard to sing, and this was just lovely. A lot of people in the restaurant clapped, and then things returned to normal.

This morning we drove back to Berlin to go to church at St Paul’s. I managed to misread their website, and we arrived at 10:00 for a service that began at 10:30. Ah, well. At least we didn’t have to fight for a seat. We’ve been there before, and as luck would have it, hit Rite I both times. They do Rite I and Rite II on alternate Sundays, and for those of you who are not Episcopalians, Rite I is more traditional, and Rite II is very modern. (Guess which one I prefer?) This parish is VERY high church. The altar is still against the east wall, and many parts of the service are chanted or sung. I just took off and ran with the chanted psalm, and left the fellows in the dust. Ah, bliss. At any rate, it was nice to be able to go to church and not have to robe up or be an usher, but to just sit in the pew and worship.

We met my cousin and his wife for lunch, and exchanged medical complaints, and caught up on kids and grandkids. We came back to Ocean City and strolled the Boardwalk, working off some of those excess calories. The Boardwalk is interesting for about three blocks, and then it gets repetitious. Every block sells sunglasses, saltwater taffy and T-shirts. Over and over.

It’s a great place to be if you are a people watcher, though. Some of the oddest folks outside of Wal-Mart march up and down that strip. A lot of nice folks, but some real weirdoes in between. One lady is going to bewilder me for years to come. She was wearing a dark dress and shoes, and the little circular cap that many Mennonite women wear instead of a prayer cap. Except hers was back and covered with sequins.

Wondrous strange.

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