a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building
Suddenly, though, the
steeple of the Methodist Church will leap from the Bay, dragging up a cluster of white board houses.
affectedly dainty or refined
Next door, but standing
primly aloof in a coat of fierce green paint, is Kellam’s General Store with the post office inside, and behind them, on a narrow spine of fast land, the houses and white picket fences of the village.
remote in manner
Next door, but standing primly
aloof in a coat of fierce green paint, is Kellam’s General Store with the post office inside, and behind them, on a narrow spine of fast land, the houses and white picket fences of the village.
an outward appearance that is deliberately misleading
It is the excess of snowball bushes that lends a
semblance of green to every yard.
the frame or body of a ship
In the belly of the
hull, fore and aft of the engine are a dozen or so barrels waiting for the next day’s catch, a spare crab pot or two, looking like a box made of chicken wire, and a few empty bait baskets.
near or toward the bow of a ship or cockpit of a plane
In the belly of the hull,
fore and aft of the engine are a dozen or so barrels waiting for the next day’s catch, a spare crab pot or two, looking like a box made of chicken wire, and a few empty bait baskets.
near or toward the stern of a ship or tail of an airplane
In the belly of the hull, fore and
aft of the engine are a dozen or so barrels waiting for the next day’s catch, a spare crab pot or two, looking like a box made of chicken wire, and a few empty bait baskets.
a lifting device consisting of a cylinder turned by a crank
winch that pulls the line of pots up from the floor of the Chesapeake is a large washtub.
look for and gather
Into it each crab pot will be emptied and from it the legal-sized crabs—hard, peeler, and soft—will be
culled from their smaller kin as well as from the blowfish, sea nettles, seaweed, shells, and garbage, all such unwelcome harvest as the Bay seems ever generous to offer up.
a broken piece of a brittle artifact
I chose the spot with care, for cordgrass alone is rough enough to rip the skin, and ours often concealed a bit of curling tin or
shards of glass or crockery or jagged shells not yet worn smooth by the tides.
ceramic dishes used for serving food
I chose the spot with care, for cordgrass alone is rough enough to rip the skin, and ours often concealed a bit of curling tin or shards of glass or
crockery or jagged shells not yet worn smooth by the tides.
In my nostrils, the faint hay smell of the grass mingled with that of the
brackish water of the Bay, while the spring wind chilled the tips of my ears and raised goosebumps along my arms.
a small boat propelled by oars or by sails or by a motor
During the summer of 1941, every weekday morning at the top of the tide, McCall Purnell and I would board my
skiff and go progging for crab.
a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
“Do you suppose,” I asked, as I poled the skiff, the focus of my romantic
musings shifting from my own wedding day to Mr. Rice’s, “do you suppose her parents oppose the marriage?”
right side of a ship or aircraft to someone facing the bow
I shifted the pole to
not secure; beset with difficulties
Call jerked his head around to give me one of his looks, but the washboards of a skiff are a
precarious perch at best, so he didn’t stare long enough to waste time or risk a dunking.
give free rein to
I stuck with him not only because we could work well together, but because our teamwork was so automatic that I was free to
indulge my romantic fantasies at the same time.
marked by active interest and enthusiasm
I was an
avid reader of Time magazine, which, besides the day-old Baltimore Sun, was our porthole on the world in those days, so although psychiatry was not yet a popular pastime, I was quite aware of the word, if not the fact that the p was silent.
forceful and definite in expression or action
“How can it be a joke? There ain’t neither funny about it.” He had broken into a waterman’s
Call’s cuss words were taught to him by his sainted grandmother and tended to be as
quaint as the clothes she made for him.
a crosspiece spreading the gunnels of a boat
I shipped the pole and moved up with him to the forward
thwart, where we put the oars into the locks and rowed the boat out of the eelgrass into deeper water and around to the harbor.
put on clothes
Immediately, the breeze took them straight out, as though Peter Pan had
donned them to fly across our yard toward never-never land across the Bay.
intending or showing kindness
Caroline was shelling peas at the kitchen table. I smiled at my sister
a small crude shelter used as a dwelling
“Mercy, Wheeze, you stink like a crab
It meant that I had made enough money that she could
splurge and make she-crab soup for supper.
unshaken in purpose
My grandmother always complained that no good Methodist would ever put spirits into food. But my mother was
derive or receive pleasure from
I was sitting there,
basking in the day, thinking how pleased my father would be to come home from crabbing and smell his favorite soup, bathing my sister and grandmother in kindly feelings that neither deserved...
shell containing lead pellets that explodes in flight
If my father had not gone to France in 1918 and collected a hip full of German
shrapnel, Caroline and I would never have been born.
deficient in amount or quality or extent
He worked on other men’s boats as strenuously as his slowly healing body would let him, eking out a
meager living for himself and his widowed mother.
a woman skilled in aiding the delivery of babies
When my mother and grandmother told the story of our births, it was mostly of how Caroline had refused to breathe. How the
midwife smacked and prayed and cajoled the tiny chest to move.
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
When my mother and grandmother told the story of our births, it was mostly of how Caroline had refused to breathe. How the midwife smacked and prayed and
cajoled the tiny chest to move.
disabled in the feet or legs
There are few jobs in this world more physically demanding than the work of those men who choose to follow the water. For one slightly
lame man alone on a boat, the work was more than doubled.
the comfort you feel when soothed in times of disappointment
When I was six my father taught me how to pole a skiff so I could net crabs in the eelgrass near the shore. That was my
consolation for not being allowed to go aboard the Portia Sue as his hand.
the probability of a specified outcome
likelihood he was the only waterman on the Chesapeake Bay whose boat was named for a woman lawyer out of Shakespeare.
a wheeled handcart for moving heavy objects
She says she remembers meeting it at the dock and following while six men helped my father roll it on a
dolly to our house, for there were no trucks or cars on the island.
My mother not being an islander and the islanders not being acquainted with pianos, no one realized at the beginning the effect of damp salt air on the instrument. Within a few weeks it was
lugubriously out of tune.
having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value
For food, a night’s lodging, and the use of our piano, he tuned it and gave Caroline and me free lessons. The rest, children of the island’s slightly more
affluent, paid fifty cents a lesson.
lacking refinement or cultivation or taste
Whenever I am tempted to dismiss the poor or uneducated for their
vulgar tastes, I see the face of old Auntie Braxton, as she stands stock still in front of our picket fence, lips parted to reveal her almost toothless gums, eyes shining, drinking in a polonaise as though it were heavenly nourishment.
do without or cease to hold or adhere to
Not only did the man agree to take Caroline on as a private pupil, he
waived the fee.
make resentful or angry
I was proud of my sister, but that year, something began to
rankle beneath the pride.