Issue: May 2009
BYPOINTS: Missed It by That Much

It's funny how adversity affects one's senses--how the loveliness of an anchorage is often proportional to the trouble one has getting there. That would explain whyCBMfounders Dick and Dixie Goertemiller--whose story of storytelling we tell in this issue--included Brooks Creek, an unremarkable branch of the Little Choptank River, in their short list of memorable Bay anchorages.

It's a quiet and lovely spot to be sure, though no lovelier or quieter than any other in that part of the Eastern Shore. But Dick and Dixie had gone there under duress, and not by druthers but forced by circumstance: drenching rain and fading daylight. They ran aground just inside the creek's tricky entrance, and Dick had to strip to his skivvies, jump in and literally muscle the boat off the sand, in the pouring rain, with nettles stinging. . . . So, when the nasty bits were over, Brooks Creek seemed all the more cozy and perfect. "Sautéed zucchini, fresh tomatoes and tuna salad never tasted so good." Dick writes, recalling the incomparable bliss of at last being tucked in belowdecks, all dry and well fed.

Funny thing is, this is not one of the stories you'll read in our feature this month on the Goertemillers' memorable hidey-holes ["Cruises Down Memory Lane," page 33]. Itshouldhave been one of them, but a certain editor--who shall not be named here, though his photograph is somewhere on this page--didn't quite make it to Brooks Creek last fall for the requisite modern-day visit. And that was the whole premise of the feature. For the feature that follows Marty LeGrand's lovely profile [see "Perfect Partnership," page 30] of the "First Couple of Bay cruising," we had asked Dick and Dixie to pull a few random gems from their vast trove of cruising memories, and then we sent one of our trusty writers (staff included) to the site of each said memory for a modern-day look-see.

And we nearly pulled it off. Everyone did their part--Dick and Dixie, editors Jody Schroath and Ann Levelle, plus Jane Meneely and Diana Prentice. . . . Everyone, that is, except ol' Sayles, ol' Cap'n Ne'er-Do-Well. Indeed, I missed by a whole river; I wound up on Balls Creek off the Choptank not Brooks Creek, off the Little Choptank. Don't get me wrong; I know where Brooks Creek is--I can read a bloody chart, thank you. But on the appointed day I just didn't have enough daylight, or a fast enough boat, to get there. Yes, Ishouldhave left earlier in the morning (what are you, my mother?), but I didn't, and I didn't have a fall-back day to . . . well, to fall back on. And the next thing I knew, it was winter.

I tried to sell Jody and Ann on the idea that my experience had in fact been an "interesting parallel" of Dick and Dixie's--that impending darkness had forced me to choose the closest available creek, which, after a quite stressful single-handed anchor-drop in the near darkness, I found to be quite lovely. They weren't buying it though. The whole boss thing goes only so far with them, because, democratic fellow that I am, I've encouraged them to challenge and debate me on such things. That was a big mistake.

So that's my story, or lack thereof, and I'm sticking to it.