From Pine View Farm

Firebugs 2

I grew up on Pine View Farm in Northampton County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the bit of land that makes the Chesapeake a bay.

Shoremen do not forget the Shore. It is part of us wherever we go.

You know the peninsula.

It’s the one that Virginia Tech left off its map of Virginia on its helmets for one game many years ago. (For only one game. The Eastern Shore alumni–and they are many–were not happy. They protested with their wallets. Virginia Tech may not remember, but we do.)

The world is divided into two parts.

The Shore and “across the bay.”

You are from one or from the other.

We always joked, “Virginia forgets about us except for taxes and elections.”

The Shore has two counties, Accomack and Northampton. (Southampton is on the Western Shore, that is, “across the bay.” We used to play them in high school sports. It was a damned long drive in a school bus to get to the games with the cheerleaders in the back of the bus and no canoodling–too many kids for canoodling and I would have missed out on any canoodling anyway. Dammit. If I knew then what I know now . . . . oh, never mind.)

Accomack is on fire.



  1. George Smith

    March 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Ever read Faulkner’s ‘Barn Burning’? There was actually plot and motivation to that, while there isn’t to this. We had a similar phenomenon, not as widespread, when I was a junior high schooler in Pennsylvania.

  2. Frank

    March 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I read something by Faulkner once, Absalom, Absalom, assigned by my Freshman comp teacher–a great teacher but a real jerk, the kind of guy who slept with his grad students.  Being raised a good Baptist, which means lots and lots of Sunday school and Bible stories, I asked him a question about its relationship to one of the Abalom stories (there are two) in the Bible.  He didn’t have an answer; he’d never read that one.  Never could bring myself to read Faulkner again . . . .
    Anyhoo, nothing like this has happened on the Shore before, so far as I know, and I’ve read a lot of Shore history.  One of my great uncles (a descendant and namesake of Henry Alexander Wise), used to compile and publish collections of Shore lore.  There’s been plenty of weirdness, but not like this.  
    It’s either determined vandals or a pyros with high sex drives or a combination of the two.  If it gets solved, dollars to doughnuts it ends up on TruTV.