One day
on the bench
in front of the
Dock Street Coffee Shop
Bob Hathaway said
“When my maker
comes for me
I want him to find me
out on the flats”
Old guys
like Bob
often tend to end up
scratching for quahogs
out on the flats

When I heard
that Ed Jerome had died
at the Big Bridge
I thought how good
he went fishing
doing what he enjoyed
In our small town
on our small island
most everyone knew Ed
Knew he had heart trouble
Knew he had gone through
a lot
Knew he had fought his
way back
when I head Ed had been
I though of Ralph Case
Ralph and Kathie lived
next to the school
where Ed worked
Ralph had heart trouble too
Ralph had fought back
Ralph was able to die
deer hunting
Living his life
the way he was used to
What a blessing

Ed was
quite a guy
Edgartown school principal
for years
He ran the Fishing Derby
for years
He was active in all sorts
of town affairs
for years
A great
champion of young people
all his life
In all my time
knowing Ed
I can’t recall him scowl
I’m sure he had a few
tucked away somewhere
I’m sure Maryanne
Nick or Joe
or closer friends
had a clue
but I never saw
that side
I can’t recall Ed
bad mouthing anyone
I’m sure he
wasn’t perfect
He wasn’t the
tallest guy in the class
He wasn’t the
shortest either
but I’ll say this
Ed was definitely
one of the biggest
guys I know

After I head about Ed’s passing
I pulled out a little closer
to the end of the wharf
His charter boat
was sweetly swinging
out on her piling
in the soft
early evening rain
I think she knew
Ed wasn’t going to be
coming back
to sit high
on her bridge
to guide people
out to share in his joy
The joy of the island
the water
the freedom
that we all share as we
live out our lives
in this beautiful place
Ed’s boat swung
free and easy
as if to say “goodbye
my friend
we had our run”
and I thought
when my time comes
Like Bob and Ralph
and Ed
and so many
many more
Sign me up
Come and get me
I’ll be out there
on those
shallow sandy flats