Wallops Island I Cant Stop Loving You

There was a big shuttle launch out of the NASA station at Wallop’s Island tonight that should have been visible from many hundreds of miles away.  We didn’t see it from our balcony (since we were too busy watching Loren wash dishes in the kitchen for the first time), but the thought of Wallop’s Island brings with it a flood of memories from my childhood and teenage years.

My family has owned a little vacation place just around the bend from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for years.  It was passed down from my Grandfather to my Father and, eventually, will be passed down to my brother Chris (at least that’s what we’re all assuming, since he seems most up to the task and has put enough time and effort in to it that we couldn’t imagine anyone else getting “dibs” on it).  We also all assume my brother Donnie will inherit our childhood home and the place where our parents still live.  I don’t really understand how that came to be.  It just sort of happened, joking over a lot of beers, and now it’s become family lore.  I don’t know what Katie and Steven have their eyes on, but I’d like to go ahead and call dad’s books as well as that secretary/hutch that’s resided in the living room for as long as I can remember.  There’s something about the way the drawer pulls sound when you let go of them that will forever be home to me.

Anyway, my parents are totally healthy and rocking it.  I’ll stop burying them now.

But seriously, the books and the secretary and I’ll sign any paperwork you need, dear siblings…

I digress.  We’ve always known that little vacation spot as “the Place.”  You don’t have to say more in my family to know which place we’re talking about.  It’s always just been “the place.”  It is also the place where I mustered greatest Zack Morris moment of my entire life.  Natalie and I were 15 and IN LOVE.  I can say that in a sort of jokey manner now, but fathers, take heed:  Your daughter might bring home a guy at age 15, and despite the long odds there is a slight chance, however remote, that this ends up being “the one” – the one that sticks around for years, that marries her, that will be the father of your grandchildren, the one that quits his job to be a stay-at-home father to those same adorable grandchildren.  We are living proof of this rare phenomenon.  It can happen to you too.

But at 15 there we were, standing on a dock, just a rock-skip from Wallops Island, hoping to catch the sunset, when Natalie said she was cold.  “It’s because we’re not dancing” said the still-too-young-to-have-any-real-game-author-of-this-blog.  And wouldn’t you know it, the moment those words left my mouth – and I mean the exact moment – from behind the many loblolly pine trees that populate much of the Delmarva peninsula, comes blasting the opening lines of Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

And so we danced.

And I’ve never come close to managing a romantic gesture of that magnitude since.  I kinda think my late grandfather had a part in turning on that stereo that evening.  He and my grandmom had one of those epic, romantic relationships that lasted well beyond their needed years, and I’ll never forget the many times I saw them sitting on the couch and watching as he’d lean over to whisper something in her ear, causing her to blush uncontrollably.

A rocket launched from Wallops Island tonight.  There was doubtless a grand count-down for the event.  But I have to assume that it’s timing pales in comparison to that experienced by me, my old lady, and Ray Charles on that dock 15 years ago.

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6 comments

  1. Bob Davis

    Hi jimmy, I just wrote a very long comment about how I was enjoying your blog but your sign in procedure — very frustratingly — erased it all! I don’t have time today to rewrite it so it will have to wait unti another. Yours, Bob Davis

  2. Bob Davis

    Hey jimmy, just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying your blog. At first I was slightly appalled by the seeming innocence and naïveté of your life stories. But the more I read the more I could see the sweetness and joy that you’ve created in your life and the optimism that sustains you. It is both touching and enviable. (Of course, I can only hope that you’re hiding some skeletons as yet unrevealed :) I started a blog in September to initially chronicle a three-month stay in France and I plan to continue it after I return to DC on December 1. Given my touch of cynicism, I almost feel as though I am writing from the underworld, having been exiled by Zeus, in comparison to your prose. And yet, though our styles differ, I do share a similar optimism — perhaps it’s an inherent Davis trait. I also admire that you are a stay at home dad — it shows both a modernity and a healthy respect for your wife and her talents. When you have a moment, please check out my blog at the-bob-world.com. Keep up the good work. Yours, Bob

  3. thebookofjimmy

    Thanks for the kind note Bob.

    When I first started this blog I made a conscious decision to keep this a relatively happy place. That positivity ends up being a self-fulfilling objective most of the time. The more I reflect on good things, the more I think about them, the more I write about them and so on – it can become a cycle, which is something I’ve realized I am prone to, for better or for worse, in laziness and productivity. So in writing here I get a chance to put my brain back on that positive track. Some people go to yoga for that. I enjoy doing it this way.

    But the feelings and experiences I write about here are decidedly real. It wouldn’t be worth the time if they weren’t.

    As for the skeletons, they probably wouldn’t be particularly interesting, unless you count my years as an ax-murd–nevermind, no, just very tame…

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