Today is an open the windows and let the papers blow off the table type of day. Gone on the wind is any trace of humidity or trouble.
The beach plums have declined an appearance this late summer. The bumper crops of years past must have fulfilled their obligations for the foreseeable future. Expect an early winter though, because as the saying goes, “Beach plums on the wood, mild air in the hood. Beach plums at a loss, in creeps the frost.” Perhaps that is not true or even a saying, but it sounds as if it could be — which is good enough for me.
The absence of plums has not discouraged Annie Heywood from her annual pilgrimage to the plum bushes of Chappy. As fate/luck would have it, many of said bushes are located in close proximity to my being. So I was not surprised to run into her on Gerry’s back road by my clubhouse, her nose in the brush. Nary a plum to be found though. Perhaps they heard her coming. Not all that hard to do. The ferry line on the Chappy side was longer than usual this past Tuesday when the On Time III was taken out of action for repairs. According to two of my lady golfers, there was a bit of a hubbub due to the confluence of impatience and close quarters. The Chappy lady golfer blamed the Edgartown folk, while the Edgartown lady golfer blamed the Chappy folk. Ultimately we agreed to blame Chilmark. Peter said he had enough people mad at him for one day and put the ferry back in service. It will now undergo repairs after the derby finishes, on Oct. 18.
I hope that all involved in those couple of weeks of uni-ferry service will keep in mind the importance of the task at hand. I liken this patience to that of a sports fan’s understanding when management rests its star player for the playoff push ahead. Pete works rather hard if you ask me. Rather really, really hard.
Speaking of patience, Mom’s been visiting. She’s a bit like a beautiful summer day — I always feel a bit disappointed when I don’t get the chance to enjoy her company. I tell myself that there will be many more opportunities, but realize that time doesn’t wait for anyone. So with this in mind, Arlene and I took the time to dine with her whilst we watched Baz Lurman’s The Great Gatsby on pay-per-view. I forget how busy life has been for many, many years — the frenetic pace of 1920s New York city in stark contrast to the waves patting the shore outside our dining window.
I read the Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sterile Cuckoo and A Separate Peace all in one 1979 summer on Chappy — left behind in the Big Camp’s bookshelf by Edie Warren. To this day, I need only read the opening paragraphs of each to be transported back to that time of long blond hair and salty dreams of surfing girls. Such is the power of prose — setting a moment in memory’s granite. Of course, the smell of Prell has the same effect too.
I received this note from Cassy Kloumann last week and thought I’d include it here, as it speaks to the temporal Chappy:
In the throes of trying to obtain 21st century electronics access for Chappy and the fact that the island is experiencing erosional shaping, there is still an almost timelessness about the lovely island. Some of the vistas along the main road haven’t changed in 43 years, and some of the inhabitants have returned seasonally for 43 years. For decades the Albrights of Voorheesville, N.Y,. and the Coens of Simsbury, Conn., have summered at the Beach Barn. Karyn Kloumann and Luke Cushanick are enjoying their ninth wedding anniversary at the Beach Barn, a place where Karyn has been connected for 43 years. Such are small examples of the timelessness of this beautiful island.
Chappy is a meditation. A practice. One that heals if allowed entry.
I believe two weeks henceforth will be my last column. I’d like to say “ever” because it lends drama to the statement, but I’ll probably be back next summer. Like a bad penny.