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One Woman's Opinion

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Summer, 2018

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— What a summer! Terrible heat, torrents of rain, a month of dry hot weather, damaged corn crops, and worse than usual mosquitoes and chiggers. But, no stinging nettles! In the midst of it all, husband Chip turned 80, quite a milestone. 

We enjoyed so many memorable Middlesex County events including hearing “The Virginians” sing at Urbanna Baptist Church, and attending a memorable dinner party overlooking the Rappahannock River where we watched the flaming red sun setting in the west along with many delightful luncheons with girlfriends.

Urbanna did its usual Independence Day boat parade, monthly farmers markets, and Concerts Under the Stars at the town marina. A really special event was a first annual Book Fair celebrating local authors at the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette. Publisher Elsa Cooke turned her newspaper building over to over 80 regional authors with a turnout of hundreds of avid readers. Great fun for all! 

An interesting program sponsored by the Mathews Branch of Daughters of the Confederacy featured a talk on General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. I was flattered to be asked to join the group, (even if I did come from Ohio and a great-great-uncle fought on the side of the Union!) I learned because of my so called “Yankee background” I could only become an “associate member” even if my husband’s great-grandfather, Samuel Napoleon Buxton, fought on the side of the south. I just might join the group. A little Yankee blood in the group would be a good idea all these years after that tragic war.

In July, Chip and I represented Christchurch Parish in welcoming Pastor Bruce Powers to Urbanna Baptist Church. We were thrilled to see favorite Urbanna persona Rev. John Upton return to his old church for the event. He had turned grey but so had I! He reminded us in his sermon to be kind to others, especially important in this polarized and rude society today. He also said it’s time for churches to put timidity aside and “cut loose” with the message of love and forgiveness to others.

Everyone in the congregation “laid hands” on the new Baptist preacher to wish him well. I formally “apologized” to Pastor Powers for the Anglicans locking up Baptist minister John Waller in Urbanna several centuries ago. Waller was jailed for “preaching without proper license.” We laughed over my “apology,” yet we were both mindful religious freedom is really a backbone of our republic. 

I believe we must confront our history honestly. We must not ever try to rewrite history in order to feel good but rather forgive past wrongs of our ancestors and come together today with love and respect for each other.

My two sisters, Alice Wakefield and Georgia Huger, and families gathered with us on several occasions to celebrate happy occasions. Great families learn to quickly forgive and forget petty arguments and hurts and laugh a lot at all the various “slings and arrows” of life. Never let an argument cause a break in family relations.

Alice and her husband, Angus Murdoch, hosted their annual “Treasure Island” (Allen Island in the York River) trip for grandchildren to dig up a buried treasure, an experience our children will never forget. Chip’s 80th birthday took place in Annapolis with children and grandchildren. Daughter Liz baked the birthday cake, which came with 80 candles. We needed a fire extinguisher.

In August we took a cruise on the American line for a week exploring the beautiful rugged coastline of Maine. We also celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary.

Then, chocolate ice cream cones enjoyed at Bethpage Miniature Golf Course, crab sandwiches at Virginia Street Cafe, pizzas at Colonial Pizza, daily swims at Urbanna Harbour pool, bike rides through Urbanna, and walks with best dog “Dandy,” but only one sail this summer on the river. Too hot.

Speaking of Dandy, he met his future wife this summer, a sleek black and white Cocker Spaniel from Mathews. We hope for a litter of pups next spring.

I thought I would spend the summer completing a new book, “Nimcock Chronicles,” fictional stories based on life in Middlesex, but I never wrote a word. It just goes to prove that man is innately lazy and would rather loll about the house than work, and woman is no different. But I’m back online now and hope to work a little harder on my book this year. 

Always a book to finish or column to write, a writer’s life is filled with deadlines. I give thanks every day for my life in Middlesex County, family, friends and loyal readers.

Here’s hoping for another fruitful year staying with positive messages, sharing life experiences (sometimes painful lessons learned), ever optimistic and doing our small town best to improve conditions in the world.


Note: A few copies of “A Middlesex Morning” are still available. Contact the Sentinel to get a copy while supplies last.

posted 09.06.2018

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