The Drive: The Reminiscence of a Young Man by Philip Hoon

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Cedar Point Farm was a hunting club on the Chesapeake Bay, of which my grandfather was president and the only living charter member.

Exceptionally good for duck and goose hunting, Cedar Point was located with about seven other farms on East Neck Island in the northeastern section of the Bay. The twenty-one members of this hunting club used to come from a variety of areas between Washington and Philadelphia and leave the Island with their fair share of the wildfowl to be had. Cedar Point, to me, however, was of somewhat different importance.

I, being too young to go hunting (this was about seven years ago before Uncle Sam bought the Island to make it into a wildlife refuge), I used to spend a couple of weeks in the summer with my family in this paradise.

As I reminisce, I keep finding myself wishing that I could only relive those times and adventures, but knowing that I can only remember them.

There is, however, one part of the annual occasion most vividly remembered. That was the ride I so often traveled on the way to and from the bungalow where we stayed. I would like to describe a typical ride to the house showing how it gave me such a great feeling for the nature encompassing it.

After traveling for 15 minutes, going south from Chestertown, we came to the bridge crossing from the mainland to the Island, a corn field wooden structure about 150 yards long and wide enough for only one car to cross at one time. Almost every time we crossed the straits we could look out over the shallow, sea-weeded coves and see the crabbers with nets in their hands, searching for the Eastern Shore delights of Maryland Blue Crabs and soft-shells.

After crossing the bridge, our car came to the dirt road, barely wide enough to permit two cars traveling opposite directions to pass without one of the two falling into a ditch. For several hundred yards of brown road, we could look over the marshlands, with their cat-tails extending majestically onto the sky and their countless muskrat domes.

Soon the marshes ended and, after passing through a small grove of pine trees, the road was lined with countless rows of beautiful green corn. In the distance, over the corn, we would be able to see the green foliage of the woods surrounded by a field of almost continually cloudless blue sky. Soon the entrance to Cedar Point Farm was upon us, a rickety wooden fence held closed only by a loop of rope and a “No Trespassing” sign. Quickly the fence was opened, and we entered God’s grounds.

On the right, as we continued our slow drive down the dusty road, was a hedgerow, so think that only at certain intervals could we catch a glimpse of the frequently white-capped bay with its sails in the distance. Our experience continued as we passed the mock-orange trees with their greenish-yellow fruit scattered across the road, and the tall old dead tree where five or six buzzards could often be seen meticulously perched. The corn fields lining the left side of the road soon came to an end with a thick head grow surrounding a barley field on three sides. This was a field we always observed with the greatest concentration so that the observer might see the deer which so commonly could be found munching the tender leaves. Across the road was a thicket of the densest honeysuckle I have ever seen, infested with a great number of bees in search of its sweet nectar.

Our short excursion had almost ended by the time we entered the grove of elm trees, where so many times we saw rabbits nibbling the greenery along the edge or a turtle making his seemingly endless crossing. After leaving the shady area, we arrived at a small group of farm buildings, the tenants’ house and our dark brown bungalow.

This journey along the “long driveway”, as a small friend of mine called it, was a trip through the real nature which is almost lost today. I made this journey countless times where for a short period the only signs of civilization were the vehicle I rode in and the telephone lines which followed the road. This excursion was an experience in itself and one which, unfortunately, too many people have never had the chance to see. Often taking only a short 15 minutes, it was a time I often find myself dreaming about.

Philip Hoon is an attorney in Chestertown. He wrote this during his senior year in high school.

Letters to Editor

  1. David Studebaker says:

    Nice read Phil, a step back in time.

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