The island finally looked like winter on Monday morning — and sounded like it at my house, with the wind whistling through the windows where I hadn’t finished winterizing. The snow blew up some good-sized drifts on open sections of the roads, but there probably was not much more than about six inches. Bob Fynbo finally got a chance to use his plow in his official capacity clearing the town roads, which were ready well before the time school opened two hours late.
On Sunday before the snow started, the town sent over an ambulance to the fire house, in case the ferry couldn’t run. At their Sunday morning meeting, the Chappy firemen made a list of all residents likely to need assistance if the storm were serious and the power went out — it’s nice to know someone is thinking about these things. Annie Heywood reported that a neighbor came by and cleaned the snow off her car on Monday morning, and how that made her glad to live in a place where people look out for each other.
The ferry, following the postman’s creed (Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor dark of night . . .), ran as usual through the storm, thanks to the dedication of our ferry captains: Charlie Ross, Brad Fligor, Bob Gilkes, Liz Villard and Walter Streeter (listed in order of seniority on the job.)
On Tuesday, Cap’n Bob brought in a cake made in the shape of a ferry, with blue wave icing on the sides and gummy bear passengers, from all the captains, to celebrate Peter Wells’s first day at the ferry. Donna Enos made a double chocolate cake — Peter’s favorite — and people stopped in all day at the ferry house for an ad hoc celebration.
I didn’t speak to everyone, but according to the results of my informal survey about the sale of the ferry, Chappaquiddickers are generally quite pleased to have Peter Wells on board. People are glad the new owner is someone from the island because that means he already understands the concerns of those who use the ferry, and they think he is fair and has the best interests of Chappaquiddickers at heart. We’re also glad for his experience as a captain and his expertise in keeping the ferries running. The captains seem happy with Peter as their new boss, too, and Peter is glad to have a willing and experienced crew.
We all seem pretty cheery about the whole situation, except of course for the people who wish the town or the Vineyard Transit Authority had purchased the ferry. But even those people seem to feel Peter will do a good job.
For his part, Peter certainly seems to be enjoying himself. He is often to be seen working on the second ferry, his head popping up like a gopher from the engine hole, where he’s learning the various systems and finishing winter maintenance.
Brad told me that one day last week when he was driving the ferry, Peter emerged from inside the other boat, with grease on his clothes and hands, and called over to him, “I love this.” When I mentioned this to Peter, he said it didn’t happen quite like that. He said he’d climbed out from below deck and called to Brad, “I’ve got a bad cramp” — from hunching over working in the bilge. It’s hard to hear with the ferry engine running and, misunderstanding what Peter said, Brad called back, “That’s great.”
When I said to Peter, “But you must have been smiling,” he replied that it may have been more of a grimace. Nevertheless, Peter does enjoy the work of taking care of the ferries — he says it’s his idea of a job.
Once this fall when Peter, covered with grease and soot, walked off the ferry after working on the boat in dry dock in Vineyard Haven, Alex Jacobus saw him and said she wished she had a camera. Peter told her she didn’t need a camera because, as he said, “If I get my wish, I’ll look like this every day.” And he got his wish! It almost seems as if he should be paying us for having so much fun.
Happy belated birthday to Ted Dewing whose celebration was on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Evidently, Will Geresy is already planning his garden for next summer, with the community center farmers’ market in mind, and he’s making sure his Trustees of Reservation work schedule will have Wednesday afternoons off. He and Sharlee Livingston were the mainstays of the market last year.
The next potluck at the community center will be on Wednesday, Feb. 6, beginning at 6 p.m., with Claire Thacher and Roger Becker as the hosts. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the good food and company of their neighbors.
When Bob Gilkes received a copy of the new Chappaquiddick Island Association membership list, he did some counting. According to him, there are 370 members. Of the 78 names on the assisted passage (formerly “resident”) ferry ticket list, only 40 year-round residents are members — which may be proof that we don’t all agree on things.
However, probably any Chappaquiddicker would be interested in seeing the photos and reading the recollections in the new expanded version of Chappaquiddick, That Sometimes Separated But Never Equaled Island, first published in 1981. Hatsy Potter, who is the main force behind getting the new book into print, sent out a letter asking for financial support to help with the editing and publishing.
The association has set up an account and funded it with $10,000 to get the project under way. The total costs will be about $22,000, and donations are needed to break even and make the book available at a reasonable cost. Anyone donating $30 or more will receive a book, to be published by July. Contributions may be sent to the CIA, P.O. Box 1292, Edgartown MA 02539, earmarked Chappy book fund.