Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Our family has vacationed annually on the Vineyard for most years since the mid 1970s, so we think we know the Vineyard fairly well, though maybe not. Also, we have subscribed to the Gazette for many years during which time we read many stories about Vineyarders lending a hand to persons in some kind of distress.

Now I can report a firsthand experience. We rented a house on Bayes Hill Road and discovered a footpath nearby that led through the Southern Woodlands, which I decided to explore late one afternoon. My intention was to walk about a half hour toward Featherstone, and then retrace my way back. I managed to lose my way homeward and eventually came upon a wide, open expanse that appeared to be an abandoned development encircled by a paved road with no human activity within sight: no cars, no people. Good grief, where was I? Two hours had elapsed since I began the walk and it was approaching 7 o’clock, and I was not about to re-enter the woods. I am in my 80s, so I knew my family would be concerned (as they were: two family members were looking for me in the woods at that point). Eventually I sighted a person, caught up with him and explained my circumstances. He immediately offered to call my family on his cell phone (which I neglected to bring), but did not succeed in reaching them. He then offered to drive me home, along with his dog and the person accompanying him, which I reluctantly, but gladly, accepted.

I learned that he was a native of the Island and the owner of Biscuits, the popular restaurant located in Oak Bluffs, and that he and the other person had worked a long day at the restaurant and were in the area to relax and walk their dog — a daily routine that I had managed to disrupt. Where else would one find people so willing to lend a helping hand, especially in these disruptive circumstances? My heartfelt thanks once again for your kind help, sir. The Vineyard is very special and the humane attitude of the native Vineyarders is one of the reasons why.

Bill Becker

Princeton, N.J.