This was one hot summer sitting on the beach keeping people from coming onto the beach from the river. Since Stratford is situated on top of 150-foot-high cliffs on the Potomac River, I have to keep people from going up to the cliffs, which could seriously injure people if there were any cliff slides. I’ve had some very interesting experiences with a variety of people coming along the Potomac. While most of them simply don’t realize they aren’t allowed to look for fossils in this area because it’s so dangerous, there are those boaters who come back time after time—but they seem to have finally learned that I’m posted at the beach!
Along with some difficult situations with boaters, I’ve also had some funny incidences. I have fallen down, over, and into more things than you can imagine. Once, I fell from the top of a ridge and rolled all the way to the beach, lost my name badge, and—to top it off—rolled through a nest of ticks. I must have made a lot of noise going down because by time I got to the bottom the people I was going to talk to were long gone. The first thing I did, as most of us probably would, was to look around and make sure that nobody saw me fall. Then, of course, I continued nonchalantly down the beach. After the multiple falls I’ve had, I finally made the decision to bring my jet ski to patrol the beach. That makes the several-mile beachfront much easier to traverse!
While working on the beach, I’ve experienced several severe thunderstorms. The worst one was this past Saturday, the 22nd—the sky got very dark and it began to pour so hard that it was coming down sideways. I sat in the guard shack on the beach until the worst of the storm had passed, or at least so I thought! I began heading back to Westmoreland State Park on my jetski, but little did I know that the wind kicked up the water so much that the waves were between 2 and 3 feet high. A couple of times I went under a wave and then popped back up only to be broadsided by another wave and almost capsized. I finally made it to the ramp at Westmorland Park. After my experience working on the beach, I have a list of things I’ll never do again, and that happens to be one of them!
In the end, though, I’ve met quite a few nice families who come to Stratford Hall’s beach to look for sharks’ teeth and other fossils, or just to relax for a few hours. If you haven’t been to our beach, remember to visit me down there the next time you come to Stratford Hall!