I enjoyed Skip Finley’s Nov. 1 column that gave your readers insight into one of the Island’s true characters. I met Wayne in 1974 when I washed ashore as a newly-minted college graduate. I was a Vineyard Haven summer cop that season and I was introduced to many of the more noteworthy Island families.
The next season my position as a Lampost bartender opened many new Island doors and produced a number of memorable acquaintances, one being Wayne Coutinho. Lampost assistant manger Peter Tillson and I quickly realized that Wayne was the answer to our fishing addiction dilemma. In the next three years we fished from Long Beach to Cape Pogue and everywhere in between. The cost was a few free beers and the ability to withstand Wayne’s often annoying personality. The stories are unforgettable. Crashing my Rover through the South Beach brush only to find ourselves driving through a formal garden party. Listening to Wayne threaten to burn down an elderly lady’s Cow Bay house when she haughtily told us to leave her private land. On and on the stories go and Peter and I still laugh like they happened yesterday. We stayed seasonal friends through the mid 1980s when marriages and young families diminished our fishing times. I was greatly saddened to learn of Wayne’s illness and his passing. Although we rarely saw each other in his final years, we remained friends until the end.
Peter and I bought an Oak Bluffs bandstand brick in his memory as a way for us to remember one of the Island’s true characters which are few and far between these days.
I enjoyed your recollections a lot. Thanks.