I’m not much of a gardener. Don’t know the practical difference between a shovel and a spade. Can’t figure out what to do with a hoe – seems like after I use one, my back aches, and while I use one, I look like I should be strapped into a straightjacket and sent to a loony bin. Maybe there’d be some nice gardens there.
Okay, I admit it. I like stuff. I like having it. I like finding it. I’m the kind of person who follows the fliers all the way to a yard sale in Aquinnah and wants to buy the whole yard. Island yard sales are a tempting combination of musty old Vineyard stuff (“Hey, Mabel, why does this chair smell so weird?”) and a wide assortment of other objets that have seen two or three owners, the Bargain Box, a short stay at the Thrift Shop, and finally...“3 Family – Something 4 Everyone!”
Last summer, a few friends received a phone call from an Island woman who had found a message in a bottle with their names on it. Years before, these friends had spent the summer working and playing on-Island. One particularly memorable evening, they buried a bottle in the sand, and quite positively forgot about it. They forgot about it, that is, until that phone call. And soon they were reunited with this piece of a summer past.
It’s been twenty years. I can talk about it now. In fact, I can even laugh. But trust me, when it happened I didn’t exactly see the humor.
In 1986 the two major events in Joyce’s and my lives converged: the building of our Vineyard house and our wedding.
By early spring, the house was framed and progressing nicely, so we asked our contractor if he thought it would be done in time for our wedding in October; we thought it would be great to have our reception there. He didn’t see any problem with the plan, so we forged ahead.
We were young and in love.
Dear Summer Person:
Fear not, this is not a good-riddance letter. I’ve lived on the Vineyard year-round for eight short years and still relish the Island summer and the people who come with it.
(With apologies to Billy Joel’s Piano Man):
It’s nine o’clock on a Wednesday mornThe regular crowd’s shuffled inWe’re fifteen strong in the Mansion House poolTrying to work off our tonic and gin
Well, Leslie C. Grimm is a friend of oursShe teaches aerobics for allBe it stretching or strength’ning or pumping the heartEveryone’s having a ball
Splash, splash-splash, de de splashSplash splash de de splash splash splash
It finally happened the other day. Four people in line at the coffee shop, and I knew every one of them.
Like so many ambitious enterprises, it began on a whim. In February of 2002 my canary yellow – I called it Tweetie Bird – Dodge Colt died. It was a typical Vineyard car, meaning that to take it off-Island practically assured you of getting stranded far from home with either a defunct car or a massive mechanic’s bill. I’d bought it from my sister, who’d already built up a good 100,000 miles on it. So when Dave at Cars Unlimited came out of exploratory surgery on Tweetie Bird’s transmission shaking his head, I knew I needed to make a new plan.