For June Manning there is no replacement. Grandma Purple, as grandson Noah referred to her when he was a wee little boy, is a wealth of information when it comes to genealogy, tribal happenings, the comings and goings of friends and neighbors and, yes, everything else that you could possibly imagine is somehow perfected by dear, sweet June. For now, I will stand in for, or perhaps we can call it “pinch hit” for, June.

Although Aquinnah is not my home town, I will certainly strive to collect and share as much newsy goodness as I can pull together.

What is the most noteworthy event that has taken place in the town of Aquinnah this past week? I’d have to say celebrating the 50th birthday of Paul Manning. Yes folks, Sergeant Manning has completed half a century walking this earth. Happy birthday, Paul.

Right up there in the noteworthy department is the bittersweet first day of school. There is both joy and sadness associated with the first day of school as it is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends who travelled different paths over the course of the summer yet it also marks the waning days of bright sunlight and warm breezes. There is often both excitement and apprehension, as it’s a day that marks a change in pattern for many of our youngest kiddos. The first few days often end with a sleeping child in the backseat of the car.

I had a chance to chat with Ona Ignacio, who mentioned Skyler was making the change from the charter school to the regional high school. She made her way to Oak Bluffs early Tuesday morning to assist Skyler in working out a few scheduling glitches. Fortunately the day went off without a hitch and, according to his buddy Colin Hickey, a great first day was had. At the time of our conversation, there was no report from Riley so one can assume he, too, managed to pull off a reasonable first day.

Another mom I had the opportunity to catch up with was Nancy Benoit. Laina’s first day of fourth grade went off without a hitch but she must have been tuckered out as she turned down the opportunity to partake in an after-school ice cream treat.

I also managed to bump into Mimi Trimmer. She shared that she was headed home to Connecticut to join her youngest son, Matthew, as he walked through the doors on his first day of school. She will return this weekend with daughter Lily and share her home with two of Buddy Vanderhoop’s daughters who are coming for a visit.

Amy Vanderhoop of Kauai, Hawaii and Nicole Vanderhoop of Agoura Hills, Calif. will enjoy a long overdue visit home. Captain Buddy will, of course, act as the quintessential tour guide, taking his gals fishing, out to dinner, for seafood at Larsen’s, and what would a visit be without a glorious Vineyard sunset in the mix surrounded by family and friends? At the end of the month Buddy will once again enjoy another dose of daughter. This time, youngest daughter Emily will travel from her home on the island of Kauai with Buddy’s only grandson William Haoa who will celebrate his fourth birthday. Emily is counting down the days for their six-week stay and is thrilled to be here during derby time. Haoa, or maybe we will call him Captain Buddy Jr., will partake in his very first Derby.

Sunday at 12:01 a.m. marks the moment the MV Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby will commence. Anglers have been scoping out fishing spots and perfecting skills along Dogfish Bar, under the Cliffs and at the tip of the Menemsha jetties. I’ve had reports from Lew Colby and Giles Welch, among others, that the albie (false albacore) blitz is on. These tuna cousins aren’t known as a palatable fish but they certainly are known as thrilling to watch as they appear to make Vineyard Sound boil as they swirl, chase and zip through the water. When you hook up on one and hear your line sing through your reel it is an exhilarating experience. Thus far, I haven’t had any input on tasty false albacore recipes so if you have one, please, do share.

Speaking of recipes, for those of you who choose to dine out, September marks a change in the pattern of opportunity. The folks at the Aquinnah Shop are ready to take your dinner order Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through September. Additionally, you’ll find them ready to serve breakfast and lunch most days through September. The Outermost Inn is open for dinner Thursday through Sunday with Columbus Day weekend marking the end of their season.

I would be delighted to hear from you if you have Aquinnah news you’d like to share. Drop me an email at with any tidbits you’d like to see in print. I’m relying on you all to contribute while June is taking her, let’s call it, sabbatical.

As an aside, today is Sept. 11. Find a moment in your fast-paced life to reflect on one of the most difficult days our nation has had to experience. Find another moment to appreciate what you have today and never take your family, friends, the smell of rosa rugosa, the feel of warm salt air or the clear, and crisp starlit sky for granted.

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