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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Try topping cupcakes with velvety mocha icing

Survival: A
simple word that can mean many things to many people.


Some merely
try to survive the day-today drudgery of their cubicle or try to make the inane
seem ultimate and extreme. Others are literally fighting for their survival.


Many years
ago after finishing SERE training (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape), I
graduated from Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival School. The attrition
rate made finishing the course commendable and those of us who did complete the
training were joined by a common bond of being able to hold our breaths under
duress for incredibly long periods of time.


Out of all
of the madness during the weeks of aquatic torture, nothing topped survival


For one
competency the instructors had us sit crisscross applesauce and then tied our
ankles together. The same rope was tied around our waist in a manner that left
our folded legs at a complete 90-degree angle to our torso.

This created an unbelievable drag on top of the fact that the legs were no
longer available for propulsion. The candidate was successful only when he swam
20 meters underwater. If he came up for breath even once then it was back to
the starting line.

Needless to
say, the wise among us made sure to do it right the first time. Another
competency was to climb to the top of the 10-meter platform and walk
to the end of the springboard. There, our feet were tied together and hands
were tied behind our back. We then had to jump off, sink to the bottom, grab a
combat boot in your teeth and dolphin-kick to the surface.

To complete the task the boot had to be flicked over your head — a boot
naturally filled with water. Flicking the boot to either side meant that the
candidate had to do it all over again.


The pinnacle
of our day of bedlam was swimming into a circle of instructors and having to
fight our way out. As we finished our training it suddenly hit us that it was
now our job to teach water survival to other Marines; wry and perhaps slightly
sadistic smiles spread across our faces.

I sit here fondly remembering the halcyon days of near drowning under the guise
of survival training, all the while wondering why I can’t get it out of my


And then it
hits me. The Yacht Club pool is supposed to reopen in another week or so and
all I can imagine is the mayhem that will undoubtedly ensue. We have some
reasonably anxious regulars who cannot wait to have their pool reopened and I
can only imagine that the crowds will come in droves to christen the new water
hole and check out the new digs.


If the buzz
of the last few months has told us anything, it has forewarned of a group of residents
who will return to the facility to use it well, and now that we are approaching
Labor Day, I can only imagine that they will hit the pool with gusto in order
to get it in while they can.

And for us that means business, but not just any business. It’s the lunch
business to end all lunch business. The pool bar has always been a good source
of income for the club.

Unfortunately, as students and workers cut back their hours as they return to school
and their other jobs, as is the casein just about any restaurant in our area, full-time
personnel will be picking up the slack.

My mind
conjures the image of someone swimming with their feet tied together and their
hands tied behind their back. I wish I could say that I’m not smiling wryly at
that analogy but that would be a lie.

I am sitting
here hashing out this idea with my wife on our oldest daughter’s 14th
birthday. Naturally, there is cake involvedand fortunate for me she loves chocolate.
I need some chocolate right about now.

I have a
special place in my heart for chocolate, especially when honing in on ‘survival.’
I guess it’s a defense mechanism. For the select few who can’t stand chocolate,
you may not be able to relate. But chocolate makes a lot of things seem just


But I know
the pool is opening and I’m intrigued at what may happen as a result. True, I
know that I can handle just about anything that may come my way in the pool.
But I also know that nothing may have prepared me properly for what is about to


If nothing
else, I’ll just make a bowl of mocha icing and eat it with a spoon. I’ll get a
nice sugar rush and then plan my evasion, resistance and escape should things
go awry next week. It’s what I’m trained to do.



Mocha Icing


• 1 pound
powdered sugar


• 1 stick
butter, softened


• 1/4 cup
Hershey’s Dutch Cocoa, or to taste


• 1 cap


Hot coffee,
as needed In the bowl of a stand mixer, place sugar, butter and cocoa and put
the paddle on.

slowly to prevent sugar from dusting the entire kitchen.
Once mixture is homogenous, whip on medium for a few minutes.

Add vanilla
and then very slowly add hot coffee until it is nice and creamy.

Ice your