I miss having Francesca Kelley’s Marwari horses as neighbors. They were fascinating creatures, and their occasional escape from their post-and-rail confines would at least be newsworthy. One or two of them could be seen sauntering through the Cape Pogue salt marsh, a contingent of Ms. Kelley and Indian groomers not far behind. I was always tempted to take out an elk horn and trumpet their liberation, but I sadly misplaced my elk horn, oh so many years ago. The only escapees of note we have these days is Arnold, the tightly-cased-sausage-on-legs that lives next door. He is more than happy to squeeze his fat little body through any screen door that is not adequately springed shut. I’ve found him many times on my bed, passed out, his butt on my pillow (where I lay my head!), his face drooling on my sheets. He is also keen on accompanying me on golf cart work rounds, leaning into every right-hand turn against me with the full weight of his immenseness. Can something be considered to have escaped if it was never confined in the first place?

I will say, however, that there is very little menacing and much endearing about Arnold. The Marwaris, though astounding in their beauty, could however give one pause for thought as to what might be considered a safe distance from their seething hides. One of the stallions (can’t remember his name — Dilrage? Thor? Cuddles?) enjoyed waking Kim and me some mornings, by fogging our bedroom window glass with horse air. His nostrils would flare as if they wanted to swim up his long snout. Would I sacrifice Kim to save myself, I’d think, pondering how easy it would be for the stallion to bust through the aged shingles of our sidewalls. No, I would die with dignity, or at least as much dignity as one might have screaming wildly while being chased by a horse.

Kim’s brother, Todd, and her twin teen nephews, Oliver and Gabriel, are visiting from St. Petersburg (I assume that I don’t have to add the Florida part to St. Petersburg — I am easily irritated by people who need to add the England or France to the end of London or Paris). They are delightful young men, who like my nephew, Andy, are available for rental (okay — free!) to any home that finds itself woefully lacking teen boy joie-de-vivre. No takers on Andy (he’s presently in therapy from the rejection — thanks Chappy), but these boys are a good deal! You like!

We do have some activities planned for them: a week-long golf tourney with rotating partners, movie nights, stand-up paddle boarding, and some trips in the Whaler. All of which are, and will be, enjoyable, but I can’t help but be stricken by a combination of severe ennui and dread whenever someone mentions a boat trip to the jetties. I end up enjoying the event, but there is something about boating that sits on my shoulders like a Biggest Loser albatross. So many details. Chips, soda, not that soda, that one, towels, more towels, sand, life jackets, waves, rocks, props, sun, salt, carrying, lifting, dragging . . . my life is very, very hard. Anyway, good kids — unreasonably tall, but good.

I was wishing I had a pipe and an old worn fisherman’s sweater handy the other day. Then I could have adorned the sweater and taken puffs on my pipe whilst standing on the porch, looking out at the sea and proclaiming in regular intervals, “That was some storm, that was. Rolled in like old John Flannigan on his steam engine.”

I know neither John Flannigan nor steam engines, but I imagine their mention would impress those behind me on the porch, barely moving or speaking in reverence of my words.

As it was, I was face down behind our pile of woods chips on the ninth hole, lightning bolts almost as common as raindrops falling from sky to ground. Moments before, I had assured Kim, via iPhone, that my experience told me that this was a blow-over storm, of little consequence to a stoic like myself.

Nay, I would continue to mow the greens — work to be done, Mother. I thought of this conversation as I abandoned my hollow and made a mad, flip-flop-losing dash in the opposite direction of the storm and its anger. Dumb, came to mind. Never again, I can assure you will I mock lightning. Seriously. So. Terrifying. Both the bolts and my stupidity. The good news was that the sudden deluge added a water hazard to that day’s tournament, at no cost to me!

I realize that I’ve been remiss in mentions of cousin Annie as of late. I envision a loyal Gazette subscriber in Provo (Utah), racing back from their mailbox, unwieldy Gazette in hand, only to be bitterly disappointed on first glance of the Chappy column at no mention of Annie. My apologies, Jedadiah. So, let’s see . . . Annie is not a short woman. She’s average height in fact, but behind the wheel of her silver Volvo sedan, she looks as if she’s four phonebooks shy of the windshield. She really hunkers down for her drive from Jeremiah Way to the ferry.

The Lady-Gaga-as-neighbor rumors continue to circulate like a virus through the dirt road bloodstream (that sounds negative — I like you, Lady — in case you’re reading. Really). We have personally consulted with said home-sellers and have been assured these are just the tall tales of inebriated framers retold by English Jack Wills salesgirls. But just in case, I’m upping my sit-ups to 50 a day. Yes, I’m 47, but such a young 47!

Dick Johnson stopped by to do some tick surveying on our property as part of an Island program — sort of a tick census. I told him to have at it, but that the ticks I knew never answered their doors when folk came calling. Poor Dick, he probably had his fill of me in his capacity as Sheriff’s Meadow director. But, in his capacity as one of the nicest guys I know, he just smiled politely, brushing sand off his well-worn feet.

Kim and I took part in the Friday tai chi class offered at the community center. Total beginners, we had to first learn the movements of tai chi, a study not unlike my failed efforts at ballroom dancing, capoeira, and square dancing. But our gentle teacher, Jack Pardee, assured us the cognitive would soon become submissive to muscle memory. Lis Pike wasn’t so sure: “What’s this move called again?” Shhh. Less talk. More action.

In other news:

The fifth annual Federated Church House Tour will be held on Tuesday, August 9. This year, four beautiful and historic homes are included in the tour, all within two blocks of the Meetinghouse, and they have added the expertise of Edgartown historian Mary Jane Carpenter, who will speak about the houses and the 1828 Federated Meetinghouse before the tour starts.

Tickets are available on the day of the tour starting at 11:45 a.m. in the courtyard of the Meetinghouse.

Luncheon starts at 12 noon, lecture at 1:30 p.m. in the Meetinghouse and tour from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

For reservations for luncheon, please e-mail requests to

And from the esteemed Margaret Knight come these delicious CCC tidbits:

This week at the Chappy Community Center: The film tonight is Last Train Home (China) showing for free at 7:15 p.m. Next Friday’s film is The Window (Spain). On Wednesday, August 3, there will be an Ice Cream Social from 6:30 to 8 p.m., sundaes are $4; and an Otter Talk at 7:30 p.m. given by Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin, who are studying otters on the Vineyard including Chappy. They have great shots of otters, and will give a lively and informative talk about them.

The 2012 Calendar Photo Contest is hanging at the CCC through the week. Final vote is on Friday, August 5 at noon. Come by and vote for your favorites, and pick up an order form for the calendar which will be printed this fall. The Craft and Farmers Market continues on the porch from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, August 7, there will be a Kahoots concert at 7 p.m., and Wednesday, August 10, Vineyard Sound will sing at 7 p.m.