For several years, Skipper and I went sailing with Hugh and Elsie Wallis during the month of October. Hugh had his own business so he could get away and because Skipper worked for the government, he had long vacations. We took our boats many directions to explore Chesapeake Bay. Hugh kept a log of our trips. When he had a life-threatening operation and I wanted to do something for him, I made twenty five copies of a book of his logs. So much has changed on the Bay today that the book probably has historic significance. Even more important, the logs vividly report the natural beauty we found along the way, the many interesting water people we met in remote places, and most of all, the pleasure we found in sharing the experiences with such good friends.
One of our most interesting adventures was sailing up the Nanticoke River, located far south on the Eastern Shore, to its source. This is so far from the Bay that it is in Delaware. The waterway we took is used for heavy boat traffic rather than sail boats. We passed through several bridges on our way. using the common three toots signal for the bridge tender to open the bridge so a sail boat can get through. This was no problem until we reached a bridge, just below the town, where no one was around. Obviously no one heard our signal. We finally tied up between two holding posts near an abandoned fertilizer plant. While we were anchored, two engines and a caboose crossed the railroad bridge, but the bridge did not open. We fixed and ate dinner, played our customary game of UNO to see whether the men or the women would do dishes, (the women won). Rain started and we talked until bedtime.
When we woke up the next morning we found the railroad bridge was open. We powered through the bridge area and slowly up the river and into the town of Seaford. We tied up at the city dock so Hugh and Elsie could go to church. Paul and I explored the town. We all came back to the boat to have lunch. While we were eating someone came out to visit us. It was the mayor of the town! He was very friendly. He had come to welcome us to the town of Seaford and to bring us a present. He gave us a marble paper weight with the city seal on it.
We shared our concern over the bridge that seemed to have a mind of its own. The mayor assured us that he could get it open for us anytime we wanted. That turned out to be very important because it was closed when we were ready to leave the next day. We called the police and they got it open for us. Everywhere we went on the Bay (and we went all over it during the many years we held our October Fetes) we found people were very friendly and helpful. Never, however, were we feted as much as we were when the Mayor of Seaford came down to our boats to greet us.