John Potter frequently walks his dog Rocky through our yard. What is nice about this is that I meet him outside, and we talk. About two years ago on one of these occasions I asked him about his kids, and he let on that Bells was off-Island helping someone with some special problems.

“A friend?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “Just someone who heard that Bells did these things,” and that ended the discussion. I never forgot about it, however, and often wondered what Bells was up to that day.

I found out last week when I ran into the Potter boys at the beach. Bells and his older brother, John, are members of a network of caring individuals who help people with problems of addiction.

“This 28-year-old guy, let’s call him Greg,” John was telling me on the beach. “His life is on fire, and he called me for help. I invited him on the Skipper, and we talked. We never judge or offer advice in these situations. We just listen, and offer our own life experience. I expect we will meet several more times. Whenever he asks.”

“The nice thing about being part of a network,” Bells chimed in, “is that if I can’t help I can find someone who can. We have helped people in prison, people with relationship problems, gamblers who have lost control of their lives, people who are addicted to drugs. They all have a huge void in their lives, and they use their addiction to fill it. We listen, and encourage them when they want to change.”

When I commented that all of their efforts to help others was inspirational, Bells was quick to point out: “Don’t think of us as heroes, Rick. We certainly don’t. We do this work because it helps us. When you help in this way, you get so much back in return. We both feel grateful to be part of the solution.”

I left the beach feeling grateful to know both John and Bells Potter.

At twilight on Saturday, August 6, with gray clouds in a humid though rather pleasant air, a crowd of about 200 people at the lighthouse divided in the middle to allow Anne Hazelton, smiling broadly and looking beautiful in a turquoise dress, to advance rapidly toward the ocean. Susan McDowell soon followed. These two charming women were escorted through the crowd to witness the wedding of Susan’s daughter, Kari, and Anne’s son, Alex. Rick Hazelton, the father of the groom, presided over a ceremony that was informal and yet touching in a very special way. In addition to rather traditional vows, the bride’s sisters, Kelsey Crowell and Kayleen McDowell, and the groom’s brothers, Jim and Tad Hazelton, added some very specific advice on love and marriage for the bride and groom.

After cocktails and a delicious dinner at the East Chop Beach Club, the same pattern was repeated at the reception. Jim and Tad led off with toasts that roasted their brother. Kelsey and Kayleen were not to be outdone. In a wonderful duet, they roasted Kari. Rod McDowell, father of the bride, paid a special tribute to his mother in law, and graciously welcomed Alex into the family. Alex concluded the formal toasts by thanking all the guests for coming and expressing his deep appreciation for the fact that he was able to have an “East Chop” wedding. Many of the young adults there felt the same sense of appreciation because the wedding brought back together old friends who had not seen one another in several years. It was a festive occasion characterized by family warmth, and the enthusiastic support of the couple by all those in attendance.