Sixty-five years ago Eddie and Irene Pacheco left Rhode Island in pursuit of a dream. They wanted to own a grocery store. They chose to locate the store in Oak Bluffs because they believed it to be a special place. East Choppers have greatly benefited from the fulfillment of that dream.

The original Reliable Market was located a block away from its current site in the building that houses Basics, next to the Edgartown National Bank. Eddie purchased three adjacent stores in 1960 which, when combined, provide Reliable Market with its present location ­— and the fact that everything slopes downhill. The floor is not level.

Irene and Eddie ran the store together until Eddie’s death in 1965. At that time, son Bobby stepped in to fill his father’s shoes. Bobby had just finished high school, and although he had planned to attend college, he settled for an advanced degree in grocery store management under the expert tutelage of his mother, Irene.

For 65 years Reliable Market has been a family-owned business. Bobby’s wife, Donna, is the business manager. Their two children, Eddie and Jennifer, also work in the store. The idea of family extends to their employees. “We don’t lay people off in the winter,” Bobby responded with pride to one of my questions. “We reduce hours. Most of our employees have been with us for years.

“It’s a good, steady business. People have to eat, even when times are bad. In the last three years we have sold less premium ice cream and soda. People buy down, more Shurfine [the generic brand] than specialty items, but they are here buying.

“The business grows on you. I love the fact that my decisions are not dictated from some far-off corporate headquarters. When I want to try something different, I just do it.”

This freedom comes at what some might consider an expensive price. Bobby works six and a half days a week. His day begins at six-thirty in the morning, and he often doesn’t leave the store until eight-thirty at night. He can’t remember when he had his last vacation.

“Why do I need to leave the Vineyard? All of my friends come here.” Reliable Market is his social life, too, as I learned first-hand throughout the interview. Bobby never missed an opportunity to greet a friend.

There were lots of Bobby’s good hamburgers, chicken wings, steak and ribs on the barbecues at the Beach Club for the July 4th celebration. It’s the best party of the year. One old friend I ran into was Bill Haefeli. Bill and his sister Barbara Haefeli have joint ownership of the family home on Winemack avenue.

Bill is a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine. He loves working for The New Yorker because he has creative control over his work. “They do not edit or fiddle with what I send them,” he said.

“Creating a cartoon is a form of self-expression. Cartoonists see the world a little differently.”

“Do you choose a certain topic, and then try to say something funny about it?” I asked.

“Not me. Maybe some do. I can’t be funny on demand about a specific subject. I go through life and see what comes. My research involves random encounters with real life. The idea for a cartoon just pops into my head.”

Funny things must continually pop into his head. I always see him with a pleasant smile on his face.

There’s a well-known maxim in the newspaper business that controversy sells. With this in mind, there’s no need to report on what happened at the July meetings of the Beach and Tennis Clubs. The affairs of both clubs are in excellent shape, thanks to dedicated boards, capable managers and many volunteers who fill in important gaps. The health of our clubs speaks to the strength of our community.