I picked up a hitchhiker last Friday morning while driving down my extremely long dirt road. It was the first time I have seen someone thumbing it on a dirt road that was more than a mile long. He was dressed head to toe in camouflage and had an obvious limp. His name was Jay.

Jay is a fisherman and was walking towards the ocean but needed to get to the main road, which was in the opposite direction. He had been fishing for monkfish, cod and skate for the last three days on a boat out of Menemsha. Jay had been staying at his captain’s house, located on the same road that I live on. After three days on the open ocean the captain had gone to see his girlfriend and never returned.

It was 9:15 a.m. and I was headed to the boat with a few errands to run on the way. Jay was a decade older than me and hurt his knee the week before by riding a bicycle — a pastime he had taken up only after his drivers license was suspended. Jay was recently caught in a storm offshore that made for what he called a “confused sea” and his boat was continually submerged under giant waves. Then he went for a bike ride and now he limps.

Jay needed to get to the mainland and asked for a ride to the nearest road. At this point he would have no shot at catching the 9:30 a.m. boat and I was headed to the 10:45 a.m. ferry, making my way to New York city in my sister’s car. Her car is much nicer than mine. Jay told me he was headed to Tiverton, R.I., then he said maybe New Bedford was better and he finally settled on Providence. I would be passing by Providence so I offered him a ride the whole way. Jay bought me coffee. I saved him $35.50 by helping him forgo a passenger ticket on the ferry and a bus ticket from Woods Hole. In return I asked him to help me with a few chores before heading down-Island. He agreed, so we headed to the farm.

I cleaned my rabbits’ water bowls while he fed them. Jay’s father kept rabbits, as many Portuguese Americans did, and he had fond memories of them from his childhood. I gave my grandmother a dozen eggs because their healthy cholesterol helps keep her going strong. Her age is three digits in length.

The next task was to tie a deer to the roof of the car. We both agreed that there must be something illegal about transporting a deer over state lines, but neither of us knew what the charge might be. Jay had been to jail before. I have not.

We wrapped the deer, a fawn, which a friend estimated was three months old in burlap hoping the disguise would look like a rug. Instead, it looked a dead animal wrapped in an old piece of used burlap with two hooves sticking out. Jay tied the knot by standing on a saw horse next to the car. He was a better knot tier than I am because he is a fisherman and I am a farmer.

I had hit the deer while driving the same car three days earlier. I was on the phone with a friend in California. We had been talking wine pairings while in the process of planning a meal in February that would highlight his wine from Sonoma and food from this Island. The conversation was not going well then I hit the fawn. The deer was injured and wanted to die, which it did in my arms as I patted the back of its soft neck. I borrowed a rope from a friend down the street and hung the deer for a few cold days. I won’t return the rope.

With the deer secured on the roof, we headed to my cousins so I could pack some dinner with me. Jay met some live pigs there, which are very sweet tempered, and a pet peacock, which is very mean. I settled on a rib eye which I defrosted on my dashboard while driving down 95 South.

We made the 10:45 a.m. boat with ample time to spare, and once the boat pushed off Jay went outside and leaned on the railing and looked out to sea. He was more comfortable at sea than on land.

I wonder what it looks like at sea, when you can’t see land in any direction and it’s snowing out. That must be beautiful.

Later that evening I shared the meat in a Greenwich Village apartment, forgoing utensils in favor of our hands. We licked our fingers clean afterwards while enjoying some oysters from Rhode Island in Jay’s honor, a few hours after dropping him at the Seaplane Diner in Providence.

Gazette contributor Chris Fischer lives in Chilmark where he operates Beetlebung Farm. His book, The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook, came out last year.