So many sailboats. For an hour or two on Saturday morn, they huddled like bored school children in the doldrums by the gut. I mustered as much sympathy as I could for their stagnant state, before continuing my sweat-infused toil on the bluff above them.

There is a certain mystery, an intrigue I dare say, to being a columnist. To many readers, our appearance remains shrouded in a veil of mere conjecture. You may ask yourselves, “Is he tall? Tiny? Spritely? Slumberous? Dapper? Dowdy?” To which I can only respond, “Whoa people, settle down!” I can tell you this however: I am very, very good looking. Very. Beyond that, I’m not comfortable discussing my appearance. Very.

Kim’s parents, Bob and Jean, arrived this past Thursday from Florida, after a four-day pilgrimage north. We stay with Bob and Jean at their Florida residence every winter for a month or so. We return the favor by accommodating them in our expansive 800-square-foot (AC-less) cottage for a couple months in the summer. They then re-return the favor by bringing with them an incredible skill set which includes, but is not exclusive to: small equipment repair, large equipment repair, McGyver-ish ingenuity, strong backs, nimble minds, saint-like patience, good humor, culinary wizardry, and love. To date, four pieces of equipment have been repaired, and I’ve broken one, a pretty decent ratio. I suspect though that Bob had far greater challenges from his days at NASA and the Smithsonian Astro-Physical Observatory in Cambridge, working and living around the globe — fixing a massive telescope that a camel had bumped into (or the like).

Bob is recovering from an aggressive form of bladder cancer, and also from one of the delightful effects of chemotherapy: rheumatoid arthiritis. Jean is recovering from Bob’s recovery. I’ve been informed that perhaps I should lessen Bob’s workload this season (suggested by Jean and Kim), but I’ve also been informed that Bob is “just fine” (by Bob). Great to have them both back in residence!

A lot of stuff happened on Chappy this past week, all of it worthy of mention in these pages. Unfortunately, I can only relate what I’ve personally experienced. So I apologize to the first-steppers, the law school graduates and the hollyhock explorers — your news remains new. This is not to say that I am unavailable to apprisals.

It can be a tricky bit of diplomacy though as to what goes in and what stays out of the column. Some people abhor any publicity (the Wacks) while others find it quite alright (everybody else). In fact, I find that the only things that most people love more than themselves are their pets. So in an effort to make most of the people on Chappy happy (those two words rhyme — I’ll be danged,) I thought I’d spend some time writing about the island furred friends.

Over the years I’ve come to know a large percentage of Chappy’s pet population through my vocations as lawn boy and bug man. Peoples’ pets are often the first to greet me (many times, the only) when I arrive at one’s house. I’m in my work clothes, so the slobber, smeared fish bits, and/or skunk perfume that are deposited on my pants by affable dogs is no discouragement to my pleasure at seeing them. The Wetzel’s Baccia is the eternal optimist; the tennis ball at the ready. The Monterossos are not content with three dogs (one of whom sneers in an oddly menacing way when he’s happy). They add to the mix: chickens (eight? they’re always shifting places like a game of eight chicken monty), two horses, two sheep, and two miniature burros. All in one house. I kid — the horses are outside. I’ve watched the Goldsteins’ Mary grow from a pup to a lovely young lass. I feel not unlike the kindly (yes, kindly) uncle who visits his nephews and nieces once a week. Except my girls and boys are dogs, and I don’t bring gifts but bug spray. The Reusch’s Chappy (yet another golden) has the most beautiful eyes. I imagine that she has many suitors. The Chappy cats are less enthused by my arrival, thus their appearances are few. The Morash’s large (okay, huge) orange cat will, on occasion, regard me suspiciously from behind a window — but has yet to make himself available for patting. Which is too bad, because I love cats. Kim and I once picked up Ginny Murray’s chocolate-point Siamese, Hilsen, hitchhiking. At least he appeared to be, as he ambled along the side of the paved road by the Chappy Store. He hopped right in the truck and chatted to us (Siamese are not shy) the entire way to his home. He was an avid Chappy roamer.

Of course, many of my favorites have passed: Maddie Thurston’s Rumford, smaller by a foot than our dogs, but bigger by a mile in attitude. My Gram’s Choco, whose favorite game was to stand directly behind Gram as she called and called for her. My family’s four goldens, all lovely.

And of course our most beloved cat/child/confidant/friend, Nietzsche. A big boy, he roamed North Neck with abandon. We’d go searching for him at night (he had a 7 p.m. curfew!), and we’d find him sitting a half a mile down the road, staring at nothing at all, covered in road dust.

But he had his metro sexual side as well. He was a fastidious groomer. In the rare times he let me brush him (his fur was softer than a bunny’s) he’d complain bitterly throughout at the miserable job I was doing. I’m also pretty sure I’d catch him checking himself out in the wall mirror as he walked by (“not bad, not bad at all...”) He was a skilled hunter but had a strict no-kill policy (spiders, flies and crickets being the exceptions — he lost his Jain credentials early on). Mice, birds, chipmunks would all be brought into the house via his cat door, cradled softly in his mouth (seriously, softly). Quite alive. He’d release them indoors to entertain us as he settled in for a nap.

He, our little man, passed away a year ago and the space he occupied in our hearts remains untouched, like a vacant room, with the memory of the occupant the only presence. That, unfortunately, is the fate of the pet lover: a mournful emptiness in a spot eternally reserved for our beloveds. But we’d have it no other way.

In other news:

Annie Heywood is headed to the mecca of culture: Pittsfield, my home town. Tanglewood will be visited. Relatives and Yo Yo Ma be forewarned.

Ann Brine reports that the “house” they built for an osprey family is occupied — some 20 years after construction. Apparently another osprey house contractor beat Ann and Bill to the punch, and provided better terms on the mortgage, so the intended residents moved in next door instead. All’s well that ends well.

My dear friend and fellow senator, Kevin Keady, will be performing at Featherstone Monday, August 2 at 6:30 p.m. A brilliant songwriter, Kevin is a treat to witness live. And he likes hugs.

Wasque resident Sharon McCann Daly will have an art opening at the Old Sculpin Gallery on Sunday, July 25 and Sunday, August 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Show runs from July 24 to August 6.

At the Chappy Community Center the week of July 25 to 31: The 2011 calendar photo contest opens on Monday, with punch and cookies from 4 to 6 p.m. Come and vote for your favorite. The show will continue until Friday, August 6 at noon. The kids movie night on Tuesday at 7 will be The Tooth Fairy; free with popcorn. On Wednesday, the Chappy Book Club meets at 10:30 a.m. to discuss The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Visitors are welcome. The Craft and Farmers Market is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sellers welcome — and buyers, of course. Lobster rolls can be picked up on Wednesday between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.: pre-order the rolls by Monday at noon. On Thursday, our second talent show takes place at 6 p.m. You can sign up your act on the board at the CCC. Don’t miss this show! Mary’s Friday night film is The Last Station at 8, free.

One night only: the community center will be transformed into an Elegant Dessert Cafe Monday evening, July 26. Cake, pie and cheesecake will be served from 8 to 9 p.m. by reservation only and seating is limited to 40 diners. Come early for the best selection. The cost is $10 per person and coffee or tea are included. Please call Sue Phinney, 508-627-3780 for reservations.

This week’s horoscope: Dive in! The time is right for some fun! Unless you were born after 1943, in which case the time isn’t so great after all.

This week’s lotto number picks: 12, 22, 27, 31, 34 (20 per cent of all winnings will be donated to Brad Woodger. Without complaint.)