Life in the town of Chilmark has slowly begun to make its evolution towards fall. The air has cooled slightly and the leaves are no longer the vivid green they were a short while ago. The sun has begun to creep back in the sky setting now before 7 p.m. And goodness, have you smelled them? Topping the list of soon-to-be fall excitement is my first whiff of grapes. They’re a telltale sign fall is nearly upon us.

The 2020-2021 school year has begun in some way, shape or form for Island students. For most, virtually is the way the students will reconnect with their teachers and classmates, at least for the time-being. Just like in the spring the program will work for some but not for all ,so now is the time to continue to show compassion for our youth and continue to think of creative ways to continue their education. It takes a community to shape and mold them into well-rounded, productive and positive members of society.

The Derby has seen nearly a week’s worth of action. Although striped bass are not being fished this year, the triple crown of bonito, bluefish and false albacore have given our anglers an excuse to spend a little extra time on the water seeking out weigh-able fish to eventually transform into dinner for the table. At the time of my writing there were many familiar names on the leaderboard including 18-year-old Aquinnah kid Gregory Clark with a 10.81 pound boat bonito. Also topping the board was Chilmark stonemason and avid shore fisherman Casey Elliston, with a 5.43 pound bonito.

The daily winners included our shellfish constable Isaiah Scheffer’s boys Matteus and Brayden with a couple of nice boat bonito. Jeremy Scheffer made his way into the daily board, between tending his Spearpoint Oysters and daughter Vera, with a bluefish.

Four-week-old Henry Coutinho strolled Menemsha the other day and stopped by the Texaco to pick up Derby buttons with his mom, Jenna, and grandmother, Linda. Isn’t it amazing how the presence of a baby can just stop you in your tracks, erase all of the madness that surrounds you and, somehow, give you a perfectly reasonable excuse to simply stare? My staring revealed that he has very cute little toes. Thank you for the visit, Henry.

To mark the celebration of Bridget and Matt Tobin’s 40th wedding anniversary their daughter, Emma, blasted out a flurry of photographs from that very special day in 1980. Although the styles have changed and the faces have aged just a little bit, the couple looks just as happy and joyous as they were four decades ago.

Life doesn’t always bring joy. Sometimes it brings sadness with the passing of friends. In less than a weeks time we have lost some true Island treasures.

The carefree and tirelessly upbeat Teddy Howes always had stories to share about, among other things, manning the pumps at Menemsha Texaco. My thoughts go out to Sarah and their family.

Life on the Vineyard won’t be quite the same without John Early navigating the way. He was a man with such a positive character and genuine grace. He has left his mark. My condolences go out to Shakti, his family and all the member of the JGE team.

Although he moved to Kingfield, Me. after selling The Homeport, Will Holtham was somehow still present in Menemsha coming up in conversation almost daily. It wasn’t that long ago that Marshall and I reminisced about getting an overflowing pint of fries, a warm load of bread, plenty of butter from the back door and nestling in on Lorna Flanders back steps on Harbor Hill out of the wind to enjoy them. So, it came as a wave of sadness over the town when news of Will’s untimely death traveled to us. I send a caring hug to Madeline, Jess, Mike, Meghan and the rest of the Holtham family.

The face of our community keeps changing. Continue having those conversations about warm buttered bread from Will, and conversations with Lynn Murphy and terms like “old lady bing-bong” that David Flanders used to use when he couldn’t recall someone’s name. Help retain the character and preserve the history. We are here as stewards not as changers. Remember that. I do.