Brunch - Jon's Way or Mine???
Jan. 6, 2013 1:44 pm
Updated: Jan. 13, 2013 2:18 pm
About five years ago we started a new tradition. After Christmas we pack up and head out to the Eastern Shore for a week of winter-time beach fun. Jon loves to hunt waterfowl and there is an abundance of it on Chincoteague Island and he has had many
fine hunts over the years with our son, Steve; another avid hunter.
Our daughter, Kristal always comes along, too. Some years her husband has been able to come and others (like this year) his job won't let him get away. Her cocker spaniel, Maggie, also always makes the trip. This year was going to be a bit different for us
- with Jon feeling the difference the most. Since Steve moved out West he would not be making the trip this year. I, naturally, just plain miss Steve and was wishing he could be with us. But for Jon - he was not going to have his human hunting partner;
only Suzy the faithful and eager lab. A few months ago one of Jon's friends who is also a hunter mentioned he'd never hunted for sea ducks or ever had the chance to shoot a brant. A plan was made! Kevin and his family would be going to Chincoteague Island
for a week. Kevin's wife enjoys hunting so I promised my babysitting services so she could make it out hunting a couple times.
We arrived late afternoon on Saturday and quickly got our things unpacked and settled into the house. Some of our favorite restaurants are on this Island so we don't eat many dinners "in", choosing to gorge ourselves on as many seafood dinners as possible
in a week. This year we honestly weren't sure how much seafood we would be eating, or if we would even make the trip out. Jon got sick Christmas Day after everyone left and I got sick two days before we were to leave. By Friday Jon was feeling better and
I felt well enough to travel on Saturday morning. Our first meal on the Island was an open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes for me. I just wasn't trusting my stomach yet. But, by the next day I was certainly eating seafood; especially plenty of
the famous Chincoteague oysters raw on the half shell.
Jon and his friend would take their boat and go hunting every morning. Us girls would load the car up with the two little ones and head out to explore the Island. This time of year there are not many stores open, but the wildlife on the refuge is abundant.
Even the wild ponies are up close to see. It was quite obvious that Matthew, the four-year-old, lives in a house with a duck hunter. While driving toward the beach with the marsh all around, suddenly from the back seat we hear, "Hey Mom! Pull over, I gotta
check out these birds!". This said with his mini-binoculars in hand. We all got a good chuckle out of that.
Friday morning Kristal and I decided to spend the day without the company of Kevin's wife and kids. We wanted some mother/daughter bonding time. As we were planning our mile and a half walk into town to shop, I received a text from Jon. He had sent me a
picture of his "brunch" he was cooking in his boat on his little backpacking stove. He had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, oatmeal and hot tea. Hunting to Jon is not just about going out and killing ducks. He gets into the whole experience - good company
(both human and canine), good scenery, and good food. Sometimes he comes home from a hunt having never fired his gun but he still considers the hunt a success if he saw some birds and enjoyed some good food.
The walk to town was a great walk. The sun was shining and the air was brisk. We stopped along the way and "talked" to different duck families we saw in little creeks and beside the road. It seemed the gas station with the convenient mart was a popular place
for the ducks to hang out.
As we approached Bill's Seafood Restaurant I said to Kristi, "Maybe we should duck in here and warm up with a cup of tea. Maybe they'll have some danish or something to go with it." The hostess seated us and suggested one of their house specialties - banana
pecan french toast. That just sounded too good to pass up. When the server placed the plates before us - I snapped a picture and sent it to Jon. Our day of shopping was declared a success based on that brunch as we ended up not buying anything. Girls can
enjoy a yummy brunch and fine company, too!!
Yesterday we sadly packed up the truck, cleaned the house up, and headed for Ohio. We have been going to Chincoteague since our honeymoon 31 years ago. Our children have known this little slice of paradise as vacation every year of their lives; always in
July after baseball season but before the famous pony swim. I love the island in the summer, but it is much more crowded than it is in December. As I sat in the back with the dogs, riding along the Pennsylvania turnpike, I had plenty of time to reflect on
our winter vacations. I consider this vacation to be mine - a time to relax, enjoy the company of my family, spend time close to "nature", and eat plenty of meals with seafood as the main attraction. I leaned forward, tapped Jon on the shoulder, and said
"You know, it's a darn good thing you like to duck hunt. It gives you something to do when we come on my vacation!"
Suzy & Maggie travel well together
Chincoteague Wild Pony
Suzy waiting patiently
A bushel of oysters
Brunch with Kristal-Banana Pecan French Toast