Are you tired of hearing about Comcast? Well, I’ll tell you how you can get us to stop bugging you about it. Send in your “commitment letter” to Comcast. Then, next time one of us asks you to support the effort, you just say, “I sent my letter in already. Leave me alone!” And we will leave you alone, at least until spring when the next phase begins.

If you have lost or thrown away your “commitment letter” we can help you with that. It’s important that you know your assigned account number and that it gets mailed to the correct address. Contact Dennis Goldin at 774-310-1020 and or Woody Filley at

The reason that I’m putting “commitment letter” in quotations is that it is not a financial commitment. Mary O’Keeffe, the Comcast representative, said several times at the July CIA meeting that you are not making a financial commitment by signing and sending in the letter. You are just showing an interest in seeing that the Comcast cabling effort here on Chappy will continue.

You have all heard about the requirement to get 270 residential properties signed up by October 1. If we can reach this number by that date then Comcast starts its house-by-house assessment of the total cost of connecting to your home. A few months later they send you a letter telling you just exactly what the final installation bill will be. It will be at least the $2,139 that Comcast wants from each of us to put in the main wiring. Since this amount may be difficult for some folks to come up with, a fund has been started to help with this expense. Many of your fellow Chappy citizens feel that this project is so important that they are willing to pay more than their fair share to make it happen. If you want to contribute to the fund or if you need help with the installation cost, just tell Dennis or Woody and they will put you on the list.

But let’s just suppose that you are sure that you won’t hook up to Comcast ever. You can still help the rest of us by sending in the “commitment letter” anyway. When Comcast sends you the next letter telling you the total installation fee, you just say, “No, thanks.”

As of Tuesday, 161 homeowners had said that they would sign the “commitment letter.” So don’t be thinking that you are not needed in this community effort. Your neighbors are depending on you. Many people have spent many hours wrangling with Comcast to get us to this point.

Come to the CIA meeting this Saturday, August 3, to get your questions answered. Coffee and donuts at 8 a.m., with the meeting starting at 9 a.m. sharp. First check out all of the information at At the meeting you can get a replacement copy of the “commitment letter” and we will look up your account number for you. We will also give you an addressed envelope to mail it in. How could we make it any easier? If you can’t make it to the meeting, get in touch with Dennis or Woody. This is a community effort and your neighbors need your participation.

The TTOR tour season is in full swing. See their website or visit any of the gatehouses for up-to-date information. Remember to use your head when swimming from any of the island beaches! Just last week 11 swimmers needed rescuing off Wasque. Check out the direction of the current and look for jellyfish before jumping in.

Even though August has arrived things are still hopping at the Chappy Community Center. Check the website or bulletin boards for details on the many activities. Friday, August 2 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dr. Richard Bierregaard will present his ongoing research on the Vineyard’s ospreys. He has put satellite tracking devices on a dozen ospreys. On his website you can see on a map where local birds have been. They seem to be pretty restless critters.

Next Wednesday, August 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. is the last CCC ice cream social of the summer. Help us empty out the freezer. The following Wednesday, August 14, is the final lobster roll dinner. Remember to place your order the day before. The 2014 calendar photo contest is underway. Dozens of photos are on display at the center. Cast your vote by Friday, August 9 at noon.

Mark your calendar for the CCC annual meeting Saturday, August 10. Learn what goes on behind the scenes to keep the CCC building in good shape and all of those great programs and activities alive from year to year. It is the most civil meeting you will ever attend on Chappy. The current board of the CCC is all female and serves as an excellent example of a matriarchy. They, however, are not perfect. One day I noticed that the lock on the men’s room door was busted. There was no one around to report this to and I figured that they had it on their list of things to do anyway. So I just forgot about it. Then a week later while setting up for the CCC fair, I noticed that it was still busted. I took it upon myself to fix it, which is really what I should have done in the first place. But I’m amused that this bunch of otherwise very observant and pro-active women didn’t put privacy in the men’s room as high up on the priority list as I do.

The Chappy Book Club is now reading Jenny Wingfield’s bestseller The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. Susan Phinney will lead the discussion on August 27 at 10 a.m. at the CCC. Wingfield’s 1950s family saga has been described as reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. September’s choice is William Boyd’s Restless.

Every year one of the Chappy ferries must be hauled out of the water in Vineyard Haven for hull maintenance and Coast Guard inspection. This year it will be the On Time III, which is the longer of the two ferryboats. There is never an ideal time to have one of the boats gone. In the past we have waited until after the derby ended and winter schedule began. By that time though, the shorter days and the lower temperatures hinder our painting and epoxy repairs. I have noticed over the last several years that the two weeks following Labor Day are very quiet down at the ferry. It seems that the builders and landscapers take a breather after the hectic summer. This year school doesn’t start until September 9. With these and many other factors taken into account, we have determined that the best time to take the On Time III out of service will be September 3. I expect the ferryboat to be away for 10 to 20 days. All of the major repairs have been done to both boats and all that is required at haul-out is new bottom paint and cutlass bearings, as well as the Coast Guard hull inspection. We will have the boat back in service for the busier part of the derby and for the next round of road paving on Chappy. Someday we’ll have a third ferryboat and this will no longer be an issue. Remember that you can check on the length of the waiting lines by looking at the ferry webcams. Just Google Chappy Ferry.

One day in August a couple of decades back my brother Chris and I were motor boating out toward the Gut. We came upon a family of four floating in the water a few hundred yards offshore hanging onto a big plastic cooler. They waved their arms and shouted for help. After hauling them safely aboard, we learned that they had tried to swim from North Neck across the Gut to the point of Cape Poge Elbow. Of course the current was too swift for them and they were swept into outer Edgartown Harbor. They were too exhausted and couldn’t make any headway back to shore. Luckily for them, they had the buoyant cooler to hang onto. We put them back ashore under the North Neck bluffs where they had started. They hugged us and thanked us profusely for saving their lives. The dad told us that they owned a helicopter sightseeing company in New York city. He said we should call him if we were ever down that way and he would take us for a helicopter ride over Manhattan. We thanked him for the offer and headed back out on the water. Once we were out of earshot, my brother, a Fed-Ex pilot, turned to me and said quietly, “I’m not so sure that I want to go up in a helicopter over Manhattan with that guy. He doesn’t seem to have very good decision-making skills.”