Do you know that song from years ago, the one that once was enjoyable but became tiresome upon repetition? That song that plays once again on the radio after being long forgotten? I am that song — back to haunt your collective Chappy memory. Enjoy!
I think Peter is away, which is why I’m writing this week’s column. Yet to be determined is whether I will continue some authorship in the weeks, months, years, decades, eons to come — but for this moment in time, I am here, in print, in black and white, before your eyes.
I say that I think that Peter is away rather than being more definitive in my knowledge because my only inkling that I was to fill-in this week was a shouted call from Peter’s car as he drove off the ferry, Sally beside him in the passenger seat. It looked like they were going somewhere — there were bags in the back, but there are often bags in the back of Peter and Sally’s car, many times when they are going relatively nowhere (sorry, Vineyard Haven), so I can’t trust that as evidence. Also, I’m not sure that it is good form to publicize anyone’s long-term departure from Chappy, as there may be cat burglars in the shadows, combing the town column for news of absence. Though I predict there are far more burglars on Chappy that are actual cats than there are the be-masked human versions. And the only thing that a cat is likely to steal here are a few of your mice, and you can probably do without those.
Speaking of houses, and cats, and mice . . . a few years back my beloved cat Nietzsche went missing for several days. He was often out during the day, but would always return to the house via his cat door before 9 p.m. curfew. So I was worried. Very worried. And very sad. He was my sole companion during this time, as Kim was in Taiwan (where all good graduates go). It was the trough of winter, too — not a great time for a cat to be outdoors.
My only job during this period (besides clearing a path with my chain saw for access to one of Chappy’s mysterious electric lines and learning all about the wonders of electrical conductivity) was as the sexton for St. Andrew’s Church. Far less sexy than I had hoped, the job required little more than the opening and closing of its doors . . . and something to do with candles — maybe lighting or unlighting. I took advantage of this unlikely frequency of church-going to pray for Nietzsche’s return. Being neither particularly religious nor nonreligious, I was neither accustomed or unaccustomed to praying, but I’m fairly certain that whomever was fielding calls that week didn’t immediately recognize my voice. I still managed to get through to the main office though, as Nietzsche turned up at my door four days into the ordeal. Apparently he had gotten himself into a neighboring house and was not encouraged to leave until the caretaker showed up with his boisterous dog (thanks, Harold). He didn’t leave without saying thank you (I had taught him well) in the form of many decapitated mice on and about the furniture.
I received a cleaning bill from the caretaker (evidently deceased mouse stuff does not just come out of upholstery with simple soap and water — who knew?). I would have paid many times over the bill to have my dear boy home, safe and sound.
These days our feline in residence, Fon-Fon, is in total lock down indoors, where he can still adequately menace the wildlife outside his windows with some rather harsh and disapproving stares.
Speaking of disapproving stares, I find that I get a very similar reaction from my neighboring deer as I do from groups of teenagers when I stumble upon their presence. My waves are almost always greeted by blank stares tinted with a color of guilt and followed by a deliberate leaving from the surrounds. It’s okay; the crows and old folks like me.
Peter Wells reports the Chappy ferry forum is postponed until next weekend.
That's all the "news" that's fit to print, or fits for print. More to come in future weeks!