Letter: Thankful and proud
Posted on Nov 26, 2013 - 02:14 PM Printer Friendly View
On Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, our neighbor and friend, Margaret Ann Haywood, arrived at our home. This was pre-arranged as she had requested an “audience” with our computer to view the christening of the USS Gerald R. Ford. This was a pretty big responsibility for us. While we are familiar with technology, we are not sophisticated users. The thought of us “capturing streaming video” from a “live feed” is pretty challenging stuff for our level of competence. We were determined to make it work. We got the right screen up and with great anticipation we tapped the arrow. Nothing happened. Minutes passed. We tried everything.
Not to be defeated, we went to plan B which was to call our son-in-law in Richmond. He describes himself as a techno nerd with social skills. He advised us without success. He then said he could access our computer remotely (That’s scary.). Finally we solved the problem.
Perched precariously, clutching an iPad, the grey haired, eighty-something wife of a beloved waterman, Jesse Haywood, sat in our living room. A living room in a recently purchased waterman’s home just yards from Jesse’s dock. A dock where our children grew up on weekends and we all learned about the Bay and the culture of the men and women who worked the water.
For many years Captain Jesse’s Chesapeake deadrise operated out of their Davis Creek dock. Thousands of pounds of fish and untold numbers of crabs were weighed in at that dock and simple values and a strong work ethic were nurtured in our children and ourselves. We are thankful for our friendships with the many watermen of Bavon, New Point, and beyond and all they have taught us. They have enriched our lives and we will always value their contributions.
Now, some 40 years after we first met Margaret Ann and Jesse, their son-in-law, Kevin Stewart, was selected to escort President Gerald R. Ford’s granddaughter to the viewing stand for the christening of the largest, most technologically advanced aircraft carrier in the world.
What a tribute, and what a credit to the Mathews community and the generations of men and women who have made their living on the water. And, what a contrast. This was a historic moment in a land beginning with log canoes. This advanced to building the finest boats on the Bay, among them the Chesapeake deadrise. Ultimately, men and women from Mathews have contributed to building the finest Navy in the world and a nuclear powered aircraft carrier designed to protect our country’s freedom and the freedom of the free world.
This is a fitting Mathews legacy for which we can all feel proud and thankful.
Brenda and Dennis Baker
Port Haywood, Va.