Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celebrating My Dad's 100th Birthday in Authentic Cape May

Opposing traffic in the Delaware Bay on a hazy July day
It's hard not to think about him in this house that he modified and added to, and furnished with woodworked objects he made while at sea. The fig tree (it had a rough time this winter) and the magnolia he planted are still thriving outside in the yard, but his vegetable garden is gone. Today would have been my Dad's hundredth birthday, and as he wasn't around to celebrate, I tried to imagine what he might like to do.

Albert Montet, ca. 1966
He liked ships and boats having been a career US Coast Guard guy, so I figured I should spend time on some kind of vessel. I selected the Cape May-Lewes Ferry because he liked that particular fleet of ships. He lived in Cape May before the ferry came in 1964, and enjoyed cruising on it once it started running. It was more like a bus on water then, and I think he'd be amused by the newer, more comfortable ferries that run now.

The ferry waits for me to board. (From the Skywalk)
I brought my camera because Dad liked to shoot photos (SLR) and so do I (DSLR). He'd have liked these Osprey chicks I caught at the Lewes (Delaware) Terminal--he was a nature guy, too.

4 chicks
The dolphins were out today, but not exactly posing for photographs.

Dolphins frolicking near the ferry.
One thing I wasn't able to do is swim in the Cape May Canal. Dad used to love to do this, and I remember going with him and the rest of the family. It used to be a big-deal, right-of-passage to swim across and back, but I never did that. At some point in the 1970s they widened and deepened the canal (built during World War II) and there was no more beach and no more swimming. There's way too much boat traffic anyway.

Canal traffic

It just so happened that Dad's 100th birthday fell on a full moon, and even better, a SUPER moon! The Friends of the Cape May Lighthouse (and I am one) open the lighthouse on summer evening with a full moon so that visitors can climb to the top to take in the moonlit view. I think Dad would have liked this because it's an authentic nautical Cape May thing combined with a natural phenomenon. He would not have liked the crowd, and neither did I except that two-way traffic on those narrow spiral wrought-iron stairs slows traffic down a bit, and it would have been impossible to "run" up and down as I posted (tongue-in-cheek) on Facebook. Anyhoo, without a tripod and with all of the other folks, it was difficult to shoot clever photos. I resorted to some quick iPhone snaps.

7-12-14 Super Moon over the Atlantic Ocean with the CM Lighthouse beam

Cape May Lighthouse
I think Dad would approve of his birthday festivities. In just under eight years, it will be Mom's turn: shopping and ice cream, I think (also in Cape May).

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