Fall has always been my favorite season. The air dries out, the bugs stop biting and you don’t have to get up so early to see the sunrise. The pressures of summer are behind us, there is little chance that a hurricane will hit the Vineyard and as long as I’ve got a year’s worth of firewood under cover, I can breathe a sigh of relief. This is the time of year when the Virginia creeper, which has been climbing up through the green pines, reveals itself by turning bright red. Maples and poison ivy are just beginning to turn brilliant reds and yellows. There is a sea of goldenrod in full bloom at the ferry point and once in a while the scent of ripe wild grapes comes in on the breeze.
The community effort to obtain Comcast service for Chappy has reached another milestone. More than the required minimum of 270 homeowners had sent in their commitment letter to Comcast before the Oct. 1 deadline. The next step in the process is for Comcast to calculate the cost to run the wires from the road to the individual homes that have indicated an interest. We should have that answer in the spring. Once you know the total price tag then you can decide whether to write a check and sign up for service. Thanks to all who helped out by sending in the commitment letter.
The next potluck supper is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30. The folks from Slipaway Farm will be hosting. If you have been to any of their events at the farm you know that we’re in for a treat.
This weekend Amanda Cohen will be conducting an Autumn Yoga Retreat at the Chappy Community Center. For more information, see her brochure on the CCC website, call 508-274-9570 or email her at email@example.com. The retreat takes place both Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m.
Remember that Ellen Gurnitz will lead the Chappy Book Club discussion of Ayana Mathis’ novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. at the CCC.
We are now coming to the end of week four of the derby. There is one more week of focused ambition to go. This is the 68th derby. Those who observe derby participants from a distance may be baffled by this activity. I suggest that you visit the derby website, where you will find a comprehensive accounting of the history and mission of the derby. Their fillet program is well known and appreciated across the Islands.
I pored over the derby rules. You will be pleased to know that the derby has given out thousands of dollars in scholarships and holds a healthy respect for education. I quote from their rules, “The MV Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby strongly discourages parents from taking children out of school to go fishing.” When you see the delighted smiles of whole families headed out to fish on the weekend, you get an idea of how difficult it must be for everyone to get to school and work on time Monday morning.
During the derby a very special parking scheme materializes in the Memorial Wharf parking lot. Once the spaces around the perimeter are full, vehicles park nose to tail in several rows in the middle of the lot. Apparently, the desire to get here and fish is greatly outweighed by the ability to leave. I imagine that this provides a ready excuse for not getting home on time. “Honey, the other guys had me blocked in. So, I figured I might as well keep fishing. I just want to win that boat for you.” This could just as easily be spoken by a woman as by a man.
Remember, beginning Sunday, Oct. 20 only one ferry will be serving Chappy. The sign at the ferry reads, “Expect Delays.” My songwriter friend Kevin Keady says that doesn’t really tell the whole story. He says that I need to use an adjective with “delay” so that travelers can visualize just what that means to them personally. If you recall what happened the Tuesday after Labor Day when I attempted to get the Coast Guard inspection out of the way early by taking the bigger of the two ferries to Vineyard Haven for haul-out. Some possible adjectives might be: insufferable, interminable, unbelievable, unendurable or appalling. But I realized that I need to be more specific. Mathematically, the On Time II by itself will carry only one third as many vehicles as both boats working together. Therefore you can expect to wait three times longer than usual in line. During the normally quiet periods of the day, this won’t amount to much, but during the busy times your usual half hour wait will become an hour and a half. One of my advisors said, “Tell them to bring a book.” Check our webcams by googling “Chappy Ferry” and see daily updates on our Facebook page. Remember, trailer hitches take up valuable space, so if you don’t need to use it right away please remove it. Hopefully the “One Ferry” experience will only last 10 days.
Also, just a heads-up for Wednesday, Oct. 16. The U.S. Coast Guard will be coming to Chappy to do the safety inspections on both ferries. Starting at around 10 a.m. the ferries will take turns showing off their rescue, fire and safety gear to the C.G. inspectors. Each inspection should take no more than one hour. Traffic has been very light during that time of day but it would be a good idea to give yourself an extra half hour getting off of Chappy Wednesday midmorning.
I’m saddened to report that Margaret Knight is stepping down as Chappy columnist. Here is her farewell in her own words.
“In December 2005, Varian Cassat asked me to fill in for her, writing the column when she had to go into the hospital. She had written the column for 10 years and somehow she convinced me to take it over. I never thought that I would last more than a year. Several members of my extended family had been Chappy columnists and I’ve felt honored to follow in their footsteps. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to share my version of life on Chappy and would like to thank all who read and/or contributed to the columns.”
So now you’re stuck with me and Brad Woodger. We will alternate weeks. If you have news or information for the column please don’t hesitate to contact us.