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Doug Nabham’s Coming Here

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Getting ready for spring and summer

Those of us who live in Virginia, in part because we have four seasons, really yearn for that time of year when we know “it” is really here. It is not just a fluke of a warm day, but spring is here and summer is on the way.

This means one thing for those of us fortunate to “take to the waters” of the Chesapeake Bay—we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready. Get ready for boating season. Get ready for the myriad of guests dropping hints: “Do you still go to the River a lot?” “I heard you have a lovely home, but I have never seen it.” “We’ll get down there when we get an invitation.” “How lucky you are to have a second home.” And my favorite, “That weekend last summer was the highlight of our summer.”

My wife is constantly telling me not to write any more pieces about guests or dining invitations because the last time she invited some friends down their response was, “You have got to be kidding me—do you think we are crazy? We’re afraid of becoming fodder for one of Doug’s articles!” I have had to draft a legal agreement now that promises I will not write an article that references any of our guests.

This is the first year that we actually have a guest room over the garage. My hypothesis is that if I do not have to be with my guests all the time, maybe it won’t be so bad. In theory, I could go the whole weekend and just bump into them once in a while.

It is kind of like my “Thanksgiving Theory.” Thanksgiving used to be a great holiday when you hitched up the wagon and went to the next farm over to be with your family for one meal. It got ruined when the entire country had to board airplanes to spend four days with their in-laws sleeping on pull-out sofas and sharing a bathroom with 10 people.

Not only do we have commitments to bring people down as guests, but we have people to socialize with who also have River homes. My favorite invitation is from people from Richmond. I have a friend who lives two blocks from me in Richmond and all he ever talks about is getting together at the Bay. Our rules are simple, but there are a lot of them: (1) If the total driving time from our River house to their River house is longer than the drive to Richmond, you can forgetaboutit; (2) If the total driving time is in excess of 10 minutes or involves a bridge, you can forgetaboutit; (3) If it entails putting on “clothes,” you can forgetaboutit.

We also get teased because we bring a lot of “stuff” when we are guests. We bring our own wine and booze. My idea of a fun evening is that I do not want my host, who is doing all the cooking, to have to worry about my drinks. I can handle that. We love socializing with friends, but most have said our rules are simply too complex for them. A few close friends somehow manage to tolerate me.

Actually, the only reason we get any invitations is because my wife is so nice. She is so nice that her presence outweighs the fact that I am part of the package. Every time we get an invitation and accept, I get a lecture about my behavior. “You cannot wear a bathing suit. You cannot wear a t-shirt that says, ‘Quit your bitchin’, go back to Richmond,’ (seen at Tee’s t-shirt shop). You cannot say, ‘My, it’s getting late, it is almost eight o’clock.’” But when all is said and done, I am so happy to be at the Bay that I just try to remember how lucky I am to be at such a special place.

Douglas M. Nabhan is a lawyer with the firm of Williams Mullen in Richmond and has had a weekend home in Deltaville for 18 years. 

posted 06.17.2010

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