When Gulls Cry (Or a trip to Cape May with Momala)

me and momala
Watch out world, here we come!

My mom’s hair has long been a force to be reckoned with. As a former South Philly girl, born and raised, she is most definitely not afraid to tease and spray her coiffure into a billowy, gravity-defying poof.

She also rocks a pretty awesome red, “Goretti Girls Are Still Hot” apron with flames shooting across it. For those unfamiliar with St. Maria Goretti High School in South Philly, it was once upon a time an enclave of badass Italian girls. The school made news in recent years after a pervy flasher showed a group of the Goretti Girls his junk; they didn’t cower — they chased that mofo down the street and beat the living crap out of him.

“Honey, I couldn’t be more proud,” my mom said to me at the time.

So this, folks, is a little glimpse of my mom, or “Momala,” as she’s more commonly called by me and my friends. In September, we took off to Cape May, NJ for a mother-daughter weekend. And lemme tell you the trip started with a bang.

In fairness, no one could have seen the seagull coming. Momala and I had barely been in Cape May an hour — we hadn’t even checked in to our hotel — but we made our way to lunch at the Lobster House, sitting by the water, surrounded by boats and chowing on fried shrimp and clams. She was downing a Bloody Mary, while I sipped a Virgin Mary (because I was driving and she, well, she’s Momala).

All was well in good. Good, quiet folks surrounded us, calmly lapping up their meals.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it: a flash of gray feathers. A seagull moving at warp speed from behind my mom. It made a beeline for her head. I didn’t even have time to warn her, much less blink. And then, chaos hit.

BIRD IN HAIR! The sucker swooped in for Momala’s head, got tangled in her teased-out do, flapped wildly for a second, freed itself, and with its talons, grabbed her container of cocktail sauce, flying into the distance and settling on a nearby pier. Glowering at us, I’d like to believe.

sea gull
When gulls cry.

In that moment, the leisurely lunches of dozens of diners was interrupted by the Rebel Yell. My mom let out a scream that would put the Wicked Witch of the West to shame.

This was still our first hour.

The rest of the trip unfolded more smoothly, though with equal measure of good times, good times.

There we were sipping cocktails at the famed Congress Hall hotel, chortling and taking selfies. Or at the beach, where my mom — still scarred from the gull attack — would scare the shit out of our beach chair neighbors by screeching every time a gull flew near. I mean, it’s the BEACH. Gulls flew near every few minutes.

There were cocktails on the porch at our hotel, The Virginia.

The porch at The Virginia.
The porch at The Virginia.

And after dinner dancing at a bar filled with senior citizens, raising the roof to a band busting out Bon Jovi classics (it is Jersey, after all). “I think I’m too old to be in here,” Momala said. “Actually mom, I think you might be too young,” I replied, looking at her competition.

Raise the roof, Momala!
Raise the roof, Momala!

Like all good trips, this one came to a close, with us vowing to return next year. I so hope that we do. Again and again.

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