The next Chappy Community Center potluck supper will be on Wednesday, April 17 and is hosted by Tom Osborn. I hope that Tom will bring a pot of South Dakota mashed potatoes. Once you have a taste you will never be satisfied with any other. Tom’s signature is in the form of a depression on the top in the exact size and shape of a whole stick of butter that soaked into the potatoes as it melted.
This potluck will be a good way to unwind after the stress of filling out that extension form for your tax return. It will also be your chance to see the results of the great room floor refinishing job that has been going on all this week. Remember how nice the bamboo floor looked when it was brand new so many years ago? The CCC board is turning back the hands of time with this project. The office staff is in search of a wooden two-drawer filing cabinet. Anyone have an extra one cluttering up your house? Call 508-627-8222 if you do.
Last Saturday, the repair work to the Edgartown ferry ramp was completed quicker than I expected. The purpose of the work was to fill in the void under the concrete retaining wall beneath the ramp hinge and protect it from further scouring. Following two weekends of preparation, the day to pour the concrete finally arrived. I lay awake most of the night before, unable to stop thinking of all of the possible problems. The plan was to place wet concrete underwater and force it into the hollow space under the retaining wall. If you just drop concrete into water, the cement washes away from the sand and gravel and you end up with just a pile of loose gravel. So we called on Bill Mahoney, who owns a concrete pumping machine. The pump forces the wet concrete into a hose. The end of the hose can be moved around underwater with concrete oozing out of it like lava without being diluted by the seawater. My son-in-law, Erik Gilley, donned his wintertime scuba diving dry suit, hooked up his breathing air hose and disappeared underwater with the end of the concrete hose. Four yards of concrete flowed through the hose in just 45 minutes, filling up the void and the space just in front of it.
To keep the ferry’s propeller wash from rinsing away the cement, we waited for the tide to drop. By 3 p.m. we were able to resume use of the Edgartown ferry slip and return to regular vehicle carrying service. In the meantime, the ferry had been shuttling foot passengers from the Chappy slip to the south corner of Memorial Wharf.
Although this period without vehicle service was certainly inconvenient for many, there were some pleasant aspects as well. The ferry captain got to navigate a different route and get some docking practice without the benefit of a ferry slip. Without cars and with the longer voyage, passengers were in a more social setting — there was an opportunity for conversations lasting more than the usual 60 seconds. Several leashed dogs, and at least two cats went over in carriers to attend the rabies clinic that coincidently was scheduled for that day. The captain and deckhand assisted the passengers climbing on and off the ferry from the wharf. There was some teetering-on-the-brink and some reassuring hand-holding. Any activity that encourages holding hands is good.
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On Tuesday night at the annual town meeting, we approved the two Chappy articles. The proposal to rebuild and resurface the Chappy Point parking lot, road and ferry staging area passed unanimously. The new Chappy fire tanker purchase was also approved after being amended to address the fate of the old fire truck. But since the fire tanker appropriation requires a “proposition two and a half “ override, it must also win on the ballot on Thursday. By the time you read this, the votes will have been counted. The new fire tanker will be designed specifically to accommodate Edgartown’s limited manpower and the unique environment of Chappaquiddick. Thanks to all who supported this endeavor.
You may have heard rumors of a recent Brad Woodger sighting. I can confirm that upon close inspection it was in fact the sometime Chappy columnist, returned to us big-as-life from the far side of the world. At his side was his bride, Arlene. She shall be called Saint Arlene by those who know Brad well. Brad is eager to get golfers out onto the Chappy golf course. You can email Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 508-627-4216.
A white racing/homing pigeon has been lounging about Pimpneymouse Farm lately. Its pink legs are adorned with green and pink bands. Edo Potter mentioned this bird to Gus Ben David who has his own flock of 80 birds. He says that some pigeons are capable of getting back home after being released 1000 miles away, but they occasionally become lost. This one likes the seed in Kevin Keady’s feeder at the camp and will probably stay until he or she gets lonely for the company of other pigeons.
Speaking of white birds . . . I was fortunate to get a brief glimpse of an adult northern gannet wheeling about in the strong winds several miles east of Cape Pogue while sailing last Sunday. I am only an amateur at bird identification and needed help from Vern Laux, but this big bird really caught my attention. He was as big as a black-backed gull but all white except for his wingtips, which looked as if they had been dipped in dark chocolate. With his slicing and dicing flight pattern and seemingly double-jointed wings, he appeared to be searching out the path of least resistance through the gusts. His agile motion stood out in sharp contrast to my boat’s drumhead taut mainsail and unwavering course.