When I was about 8, my favorite book in the world was Misty of Chincoteague and King of the Wind both by Marguerite Henry. One of the things I always wanted to do was go to Chincoteague and see the ponies.
Last Friday, we finally did it. We got the whole family (and Uncle Bill and Grandma) to Chincoteague along with our friends the Johnsons. We missed the pony swim by two days, but got to see the ponies running wild on the marshes of Assateague later in the week. How beautiful they were.
The entire week was a great success. The beach, the NASA museum, the ice cream (ah, sooooo much ice cream!), the charming Pony Express Trolley ride. The incredible playground at Memorial Park with the spinning thing that only Ping-Ping could master (after 20 minutes of relentless trying.) The Cherubim and Juss got to ride a pony (who was either a descendant of the real Misty or standing near a descendant of the real Misty. )
We swam in the most interesting surf…it was really brutal for about ten feet. Just beyond that was a nice zone, where one could stand at neck level and bob. The kids bobbed on their boogie boards. They loved it, especially the Cherubim, who has learned the word "need". As we were walking in the marshes Wednesday night, he told me, "I need more beach!" We visited the lighthouse and discovered that the reason it was so far from the sea was…it had been close to the sea when they built it in 1866…but the island had moved around it (as sand is carried on the current.) We saw snowy egrets and ibis (very appropriate, as we were reading Red Pyramid, which includes the Ibis-headed Thoth.)
We stayed in a lovely little house called Summer Breeze, which we adored. It fit our needs perfectly and we could see the lighthouse and the Assateague Channel. Our friends, The Johnsons, stayed in one of the most lovely buildings I’ve ever seen. It was a "trailer" in a trailer park, but someone had tricked it out. The thing had been built around until it looked like a house that was half-cabin/half-Victorian. It had five porches and a coy pond. Calling it a trailer is like calling Buckingham Palace a house.
Orville’s favorite thing was the many, many ice cream places (we became experts.) Ping-Ping conquered the ring and took good care of The Cherubim. She did not care for the beach at first, but it grew on her. Finally, one day, I was out with her on her board in the past-surf place and she said, "This is fun!" Probably the most enthusiastic comment I’ve ever got from her. The Cherubim loved the beach and the water. He was helpful and good natured about everything. Juss’s favorite part was probably talking to Steve Johnson. After that was the many games we played. He even won a Risk game against Daddy and Uncle Bill. (John and Bill stayed half the week and returned to work. Grandma was there Tues night to Thurs afternoon.)
Which brings me to the best part of all! When we arrived, I did it. I put my foot down. I said "no" to turning on the TV. We were there a week, with two TVs in the house and they were never turned out. The result was WONDERFUL! The kids played games, Risk, Before I Kill You Mr. Bond, Flux, Uno, Chinese Checkers, more Uno (Ping-Ping’s favorite. Apparently, she’d played in China.) It was great. And we read books. Juss read Hop On Pop. I read Red Pyramid (by the guy who wrote the Percy Jackson Lighting Thief books) to the boys. And Ping-Ping, finally, read the Chinese copy of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I had gone to some effort to buy her in China.
The only one who did not get a chance to read anything was me.