We’ve had house guests leave everything from a bottle of wine to a box of designer chocolates to a card as a thank-you. I’ve been fine with all of these. Okay, truth be told, at first I was a tad peeved about the card, but that’s only because relatives stayed for an entire week, treated our guest house like a frat house, and left us with dozens of empty beer cans; but after I used the redemption money from their beer cans to buy scratch tickets and won enough to pay for a deep tissue massage and a facial, I was no longer irritated about the card.

Kate Feiffer


Scully didn’t like to chase cars.

He preferred to get out front and lead them like a dog-track hare, ears pinned back, jowls flapping, legs pumping like pistons in an old flathead Ford.

He was a big dog but he could motor.

Geoff Currier


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the greenest lawn of them all?

The grass is greener in front of everyone else’s house. This isn’t some woe-is-me sentiment. It’s pretty much true. Our grass isn’t green. Well, it starts the season with a greenish hue, but the color generally bleeds out by mid-summer. The brittle, sun-stroked, dandelion-infused grass that poses as our front lawn might not look particularly green, but in fact, it’s actually the “greenest” of all. Or so I’ve convinced myself.

Kate Feiffer


I do not ask for much in life (and friends of mine say that sometimes it shows), but this springtime I do ask why the Vineyard staged Jaws Fest, the all-Island hullabaloo over the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Jaws three summers ago, but – at press time anyway – shows no sign whatsoever that it’s going to hold a Jaws 2 Fest to honor the 1978 release of the first of the three sequels to follow it.

Tom Dunlop


The Pilgrims didn’t think much of Cape Cod. “A hideous and desolate wilderness,” William Bradford called it. “Full of wild beasts and wild men.” Rather than stay, a small party from the Mayflower sailed ahead, searching for a winter haven. In December 1620, they reached Plymouth, a place “fit for situation,” Bradford wrote. “At least it was the best they could find.”

Tony Horwitz


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.

HJ Bernstein


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!”

Niki Patton


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.

Meredith Downing