From the Editor

Last year at this time, sitting around a table sharing a home-cooked meal with friends, even close ones or extended family, was pretty much out of the question. Maybe one or two people from one’s personal “pod” might be welcome to bring their own beverage over for a drink on the porch. And maybe, just maybe, they could have their own plate of crackers and cheese, or a private bowl of nuts.

But a meal? A big summer spread of freshly caught fish and shellfish, veggies from the garden or the farm stand, maybe a pie from Pie Chicks? That all seemed like some hazy ritual of ancient history, akin to roasting a mastodon while grandmother put the finishing touches on her latest antelope painting on the cave wall.

For a while, for some of us anyway, it was a fine break from the seemingly nonstop socializing of summer on the Island. More than a few newly liberated Vineyard misanthropes were heard to say how much they did NOT miss driving all over the Island in order to stand around on other people’s lawns “swilling white wine,” as former President George W. Bush famously characterized the usual summer scene “in Martha’s Vineyard.”

But just as many folks on the Island once could not imagine that they would ever find themselves missing old George W., only to find for a few years that they actually did, as spring hurtled into summer we discovered we were terribly, terribly hungry. And not just for food. Or even for the fellowship. We were hungry to serve. There may be no simpler yet more profound pleasure, it turns out, than feeding one’s friends. As every mother and cook knows, food makes people happy. And making other people happy will make you happy too.

So while the named holiday repasts – Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, et cetera – get most of the attention, it’s the informal feasts of summer that I now tend to think of as truly holy days. You know, the ones that get thrown together only an hour or two before they are served and then stretch on and on for hours after the eating, on into the evening, perhaps punctuated by heat lightning, or lightning bugs, or both. The evenings where conversation slowly dwindles as the stars come out. Even the birds in the trees decide they have said enough for the day, but old friends still don’t want to head home.

What we will retain from the year of masked living remains to be fully seen.

But this much is certain: what was true before the pandemic is true today. Life is long and sometimes painful, but summers are short and should be sweet. So make some food, make some reservations, make some phone calls to your neighbors and loved ones.

Make the most of it. There’s not a moonrise to waste.