Guest Columnist

“The Chappy Ferry Book” has gone off to the printer. Chappaquiddickers will be the first to get a copy at the book signing on June 30 at the Community Center. I got a sneak peak at the manuscript. Tom Dunlop has done an outstanding job unearthing historic photos and researching the two-century history of the ferries serving Chappy. Tom’s subtitle to the book is Back and Forth Between Two Worlds­­—527 Feet Apart. Alison Shaw’s photos are fabulous. Dana Gaines drew a map of the old ferry routes and a cross section of the On Time II showing what makes her tick. There’s even a 15-minute DVD filmed by Floyd Norton’s nephew, John Wilson, with a narration by Dick Ebersol, and a closing song written and sung by Kevin Keady. All of this was orchestrated by Jan Pogue of Vineyard Stories, who also brought you the Morning Glory Farm book and Edo Potter’s Last Farm on Chappy book. (Your dilemma of what to give everyone for next Christmas has been solved.)

Now for the “small world” department: Flash back to Tropical Inconvenience Irene. The Islands hardly got a breeze, but remember what happened in Vermont? They got deluged with rain. Roads and bridges were washed out across the state. Jack Livingston and his son-in-law, Curtis Chandler, headed up that way to help process salmon at a fish farm that had been overrun by floodwaters and silt. They had to take a few detours. At one of the road blocks was a police officer. He came over to the car and stuck his head in the window. Big as life and still among the living, it was our own Jude Bishop — probably just as surprised as Jack.

My daughter Nearess’s birthday is on Saint Valentine’s Day. We’ve always made a heart-shaped birthday cake for her. She was here for a visit recently, bringing my grandsons, Isaiah and Bailey, all the way from the West Coast. My three granddaughters live just across the road here on Chappy. The week was pretty lively with all five here at once.

Annie Heywood wants to thank the person who left the chocolates in her mailbox last week. She says she only ate two so far but every time I see her she’s got a little bit of chocolate on her lip.

I’ve purchased an Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book every year since sixth grade. It’s a tradition for me, even though I don’t depend solely upon it for the tides. I look at the Gazette tide table to see what time slack water occurs at “Wasque Point (2 mi. SW).” By my own nonscientific observations, time of slack water out there very closely matches the change of direction in the current at the ferry crossing. The tide book that we carry aboard the ferry is my favorite, and it almost didn’t get printed this year. The California family that had published the TIDELOG for three decades decided to call it quits. I was sorry to hear that. These tide tables use a graphic illustration of the times, as well as the varying heights, of the tides. The drawings are based on the style of M.C.Escher. It’s easy to figure out when the tide will be high enough to carry cement mixers. Fortunately a couple in Georgia has offered to keep the book going.

I like the folklore as well as the science of our sky. The past full moon has several traditional names: Snow, Wolf, Storm, Hunger, and Bony Moon to name a few, and in rare cases a Blue Moon. There are two accepted definitions of blue moon. The month of August will have a second full moon this summer, called a blue moon per the new definition. Think about why our current month of February can never have two full moons even in this, a leap year. It’s because a lunar cycle is 29.5 days and February at it’s longest is only 29. However, February can have a blue moon according to the ancient definition, which is the third full moon in a season which has four full moons. The moon has a complex relationship to our calendars, and to the equinoxes and solstices. People used to be a lot more concerned with the phases of the moon. While studying celestial navigation at Maine Maritime, I realized this: That if our planet didn’t rotate, the moon would go across the sky the other way.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the scheduled Wasque beach cleanup was postponed because of the weather. Watch this column for the new date. Chris Kennedy of TTOR says everyone is invited, the more the better. The erosion of the bluff has left a whole lot of debris on the beach, and it would be good to get it picked up before it gets buried.

Remember that potlucks at the Community Center start at 6 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

One of my neighbors has suggested a tour of the lesser known Chappy grave sites. Let’s plan it for the first Saturday in April. Watch for confirmation here.

Margaret Knight will be back writing the column next week.