Gloat & Tell
By Lori Welch Brown
Gloat & Tell
I love hearing about everyone’s summer plans, travels and adventures. It’s a throw back to elementary school when everyone showed up the Tuesday after Labor Day sporting their brand spankin’ new lunch boxes, and the teachers soft rolled you into the curriculum by giving you the floor to brag about your summer excursions via the brilliance of ‘show and tell.’ I’ve always been envious of anyone who could stand up in front of a crowd and spin a yarn of a tale—and let me tell you, some of the fifth graders from Marumsco Hills were on par with Mark Twain and Jules Verne with their creative recaps of travels along Ocean City’s infamous boardwalk or the local, and often treacherous, water slide. The real magic of ‘show and tell’ as everyone knows, however, is in the show. I don’t care how harrowing it was scaling that diving board for the first time; show me the scar from the stitches you got skate boarding! Playing miniature golf at Myrtle Beach yaddee yadda ya. Genuine sea horse skeleton from South of the Border?! Awesomeness!
One of my personal ‘show’ bests was the pink coin purse that I scored from Dinosaur Land in Front Royal after a weekend of camping along the Shenandoah. Confession: I may still have said treasure cleverly stowed away somewhere. Oh, the memories. That little purse symbolizes so much. Not just that of a local landmark, but the weekend spent with my family trying to survive in the wilderness. Trust me—camping then was not anything like the ‘glamping’ of today. No. There was nothing glamorous about camping in 1976 unless you have a thing for squatting in the woods and dodging snakes. Route 1 was a wilderness in the ‘70s for Christ’s sake. Although, truth be told, my mom, my aunt and I did score the ultra-glamorous and highly-coveted sleeping spot within the confines of my aunt’s boyfriend Walt’s camper – which, by the way, was not unlike my very hip Barbie camper. Probably about the same size to scale, but lucky for us, not made of orange plastic. Although, like the Barbie camper, the sink didn’t work, and there wasn’t a fully functioning bathroom (aka pee only) or anywhere to bathe—luxuries that now spoil me in my 50s. I remember having to jetty myself up onto the dining table, place one foot onto the kitchen counter and pull myself up into the bed that my mom and I shared. And, by bed, I mean 2” piece of foam. The dining room table magically converted into another bed where somehow my 6’ tall aunt was to sleep. It was all so very glamorous until I rolled out of the bed and came crashing down on Aunt Norma right after my cute 10 year old butt slammed into the corner of that kitchen counter. Now that was a shiner! And so my love affair with glamping came to a screeching halt.
If only I had the opportunity to stand in front of my peers today to regale them with my summer adventures! I’d hold them spellbound with my adventures ‘gloating’ along the Chesapeake Bay with my husband XXL in our beloved yacht and envy of the sea, Winning at Yachtsea. I’d tell them about how we boarded and embarked on a week-long aquatic odyssey starting at a world-renowned resort marina where we enjoyed four days of pampering and play. We awoke every morning to the sweet, buttery smell of Belgian waffles served up by our personal onboard butler, Yves. After a breakfast fit for a king served bedside (thank you, Yves) in our spacious state room, we laid poolside sipping exotic cocktails, kayaked amidst the white caps, enjoyed gourmet dinners under the stars, and ended each night with a bottle of Cristal. From there, we headed to another luxurious Bay destination where we spent our afternoons swimming in a sparkling infinity pool equipped with underwater music because why be without music for a moment? By merely waving our hands, plates piled high with East Coast Caviar aka lump fin crab appeared. After a few days, our capable Captain Jacques steered Winning at Yachtsea towards St. Michael’s, MD where we tied up for two nights. We biked through the quiet village in the early morning hours, sipped cappuccinos at an idyllic coffee shop, and watched the sun rise across the Bay. We whittled away our afternoons gazing into each other’s eyes, napping and then awakening for an afternoon glass of Prosecco flown in daily from Italy. Evenings were filled with fresh straight-off-the boat oysters and wine that would make your tongue curl with envy. After the telling portion was over, I’d show everyone the tennis ball sized pearl that XXL found on an underwater excursion. And that, my friends, is how you gloat.
Fast forward to real life and it’s deja vu all over again circa 1976. Our ‘yacht’ is a quite lovely fishing boat (not orange plastic) that, on a hot July day, might smell somewhat like a cross between a fishmonger shop and a Texaco fuel pump. [Disclaimer: XXL says I have a whiffer like a blood hound and it most certainly does NOT smell like anything other than a boat with diesel engines]. Like my beloved Barbie camper—there’s nowhere to go #2 or bathe. Steering into St. Michael’s was a wee little bit of a stretch as we actually lost steering enroute. As in, WE HAD NO STEERING. Luckily, XXL is very smart and his mechanical abilities are off the charts so he heroically (and somewhat magically) was able to get us safely into the marina without careening into another boat or jet skier for which I am eternally grateful. While I did eat my weight in oysters and crabs, alas, I have the belly to show for it. Sadly, the Belgian waffles and Prosecco were a mystical, cruel joke and figment of my twisted imagination. The only thing I was awaken to each morning was the sudden urge to find a bathroom with a proper commode. Yves and Jacques may exist, but I have yet to meet them although I do pray for their arrival daily. You guessed it—there is no pearl to show either. Only some bruises from climbing on and off the boat as well as a map of the Bay which I will proudly display in my bathroom as a reminder of all the marinas that have great bathrooms. The good news, however, is that I didn’t come crashing down on anyone during the middle of the night so at least you’ll be spared me showing you my shiner.
Cheers to a summer of memories and thank you, XXL, for making all my days an adventure.
Lori Welch Brown is the founder of JCL Services, Ltd., the area’s premiere personal concierge and professional organizing company since 2001. In addition to writing, Lori is a struggling artist who enjoys spending time w/her husband XXL and their fur babies Dozer & Macey.