A year following our wedding, the creaky white frame building of the Fairfields Methodist Church in Burgess, of which Mr. Beatley was treasurer, burned and collapsed into the smoking hole that used to be its basement. The investigation revealed that the treasurer had been embezzling church funds and knew his misdeeds were about to be discovered by the church authorities.

The solution? Burn the books! Mr. Beatley ended up doing a couple of years in the Northumberland County Jail. The county sheriff later worried, as Beatley's sentence was coming near an end, that the elderly gentleman had adapted quite well to jail living and might have trouble taking care of himself following his release.

Beane Family Cemetery, Miskimmon VirginiaMr. Beatley died in 2000 and rests in the Beane Family Cemetery because the Fairfields Methodist Church didn't want him in its own graveyard. The Beane Cemetery, near the town of Miskimmon, sits in the middle of a farm field. In years when the field is planted in corn, the stalks grow tall over the walls and the cemetery essentially disappears for the summer. The harvest occurs in October, when the corn is cut down and the graveyard reappears just in time for Halloween.

11 Long Days - 9/27/13 - Trees, even those with enticing fall color, and waterfront living were over-rated by Ted and me when we first aspired to waterfront property. We had recently purchased a sailboat, you see, a tiny one, just 11 wet feet in length. The little lateen-rigged boat was lots of fun and hooked us on sailing like a Marlin on 130 lb test Dacron line towing a head boat. Anybody so enthralled with boating sets his sites on a bigger boat and starts shopping for a place to keep it. We found 3+ acres on deep water north of Heathsville, Virginia, bought it, and let the property sit for 13 years.

Chafing gearDuring that time we sailed from rented slips in Alexandria, Annapolis, Edgewood, Mayo, and Cobb Island, where somebody else was responsible for making sure the boats were secure. The marinas were miles and miles up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River from the big water farther south. Big storms left these rented harbors mostly unharmed and our due diligance when storms threatened consisted of having good insurance on the boat, stowing all the canvas below deck, stripping off anything else that might blow away, tying on extra lines and protecting the lines with chafing gear. If a storm shredded trees, or if ice uprooted the piers, somebody else cleaned it up.