Back in mid-April Captain Bob Gilkes retired from the Chappy ferry after two decades of ferryboat driving. His retirement party last week was as well attended as the annual ferry captain and crew appreciation dinner! The Chappy Community Center was filled with cheerful Chappaquiddickers young and old celebrating the beginning of a new era for Captain Bob. Now he is free to pursue his avocations in photography and wood sculpting without having to stay up until midnight five nights a week driving the ferry. We still see Bob occasionally bringing dinner to the very well-fed broken winged gull that has taken up residence on Chappy Point.

Captain Bob’s retirement brought to mind the old timers of recent ferry history who were fixtures on the waterfront for many years. John Willoughby and Dick Hewitt have both passed away. Those two drove the ferry back in the days when the winter schedule was abbreviated and they each worked three full days and one half day a week. Captain Willoughby used to say that any landing was a good one if you could walk away from it! Floyd Norton still makes regular appearances at his father’s fish shack adjacent to Memorial Wharf. Nelson Smith still offers to come down and show us how it really should be done whenever I run into him at the post office. Charlie Ross returns to the Vineyard for a couple of days every year to check in with his former crewmates and to attend the annual Chappy ferry company dinner.

Just a reminder that the Chappaquiddick ferry is now operating on the summer schedule. Weather permitting, the ferry runs continuously from 6:45 a.m. through midnight. Also remember that if you have an emergency on Chappy that involves the hospital emergency room, the ambulance, the police or the fire department, dial 911 for help. The folks at the communications center will contact everyone necessary including the ferry captains. We are all part of the same emergency response system. We all wear pagers when driving the ferry and are among the first to know when there’s a problem on Chappy.

The Slip Away farmstand will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting this weekend. They have meats and vegetables to satisfy your every desire.

If your name is on the Chappy Community Center mailing list then you have already received your package of sign-up sheets for summer activities like sailing, tennis and TTOR field trips. Sailing starts on June 27. Tennis starts on June 28. TTOR Summer Naturalist Program starts July 1. Summer comes on fast. Those dates are a mere couple of weeks and a couple of days away. So get signed up. If you didn’t get the mailing, log onto the CCC website for a complete listing of activities plus all of the forms.

The CCC Chamber Music Program has returned with two performances scheduled. July 30 hear a quintet from the Manhattan Chamber Players play Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. On August 13, hear the Omega Ensemble perform Arensky and Schubert. Ticket sales alone will not foot the bill for getting these musicians to Chappy. This program will require donors to step forward to support this program and to keep ticket prices affordable. You can get your name in the program by becoming a concert sponsor with a gift of just $100. $250 gets you rights to call yourself a festival patron. This will look real nice on your tax return. And if we can pry more than $250 out of your wallet you will be known around the island as a festival benefactor. That has a nice ring to it. When I see you at the ferry I will include that title in my greeting to you.

You can also help out big time by hosting a musician or musician couple in your home the night before the concert and the night of the concert. Let the CCC office know if you are able to help out. Call 508-627-8222. This is a wonderful opportunity to get some culture without even leaving Chappy.

You may have been wondering about the little red pickup truck that has occasionally gotten the whole ferryboat to itself. That’s the vehicle that transports the explosives used to destroy the bombs unearthed out at Cape Pogue. The likelihood of the truck blowing up is zero, but just in case, you will be much happier as a witness to that explosion rather than as a participant.

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