Eleven years ago, on the afternoon of July 12, island-wide alarms sounded. The USCG Station Menemsha boathouse was on fire. Every year since, I take a moment to reflect on that day and, despite the devastation, I think about how lucky we were that the wind was blowing the way it was. I take a moment to reflect on the teamwork of emergency services and community members alike and note that it was virtually seamless.

I also think back to the woman who pulled up to the pumps at the Texaco as burning embers were falling around her. She wanted to fill her tank. She was angry and confused about why I said no. When she asked me what she was supposed to do, my answer was one word. I said “run.” I still wonder who that woman was.

The genuine camaraderie between the folks at Station Menemsha and the inhabitants of the town of Chilmark was re-inforced that day.

Each time a station member departs for a new assignment, it feels a little like the day you send your kid off to college. This past week, Joshua Boytek and his wife Fatine Othman, along with their five-year old son Logan, made the rounds and said their Menemsha farewells. Josh has been reassigned to USCG Station Hatteras Inlet. Although the surfing may be better in North Carolina, they hope to find as welcoming a community there as they did here.

Jessi Polishook Hirsch wandered up to the Texaco with her stroller-riding son Zev and immediately took me back to nearly 30 years ago when she was just a tad bigger than her son. Jessi was one of our Texaco hangout kids who could often be found browsing the candy selection or rolling around on the floor with whatever dog would come by and shower her with affection. Somewhere I have photographic evidence of Jessi and Jonathan Mayhew’s Jack Russell, Spur, shaking hand and paw. Zev, a goldfish cracker aficionado, had his first nibble of Cheez-Its while we reminisced. He seems quite pleased with both the flavor and crunch.

Ryan Oullette, former Station Menemsha coast guardsman, stopped by for an unannounced visit. He, a Florida native, is calling the Sunshine State home once again. He sat a spell on Squid Row with an ice cream in hand alongside some of his favorite brothers: Patrick Shanahan, Seth Ford and Jacob Waters-Maciel.

Jennifer Burkin shared that the July caucus of the Chilmark democratic town committee will be held Saturday July 18 at 10 a.m. under the tent at the Chilmark Community Center. All registered Democrats are welcome to attend this free get-together. For more details, you can contact Jennifer at jenburkin@hotmail.com.

I had a nice little catch up with Stella Frank the other day. She’s in town for a spell, taking advantage of being able to work remotely. Her folks, Jennifer and Scott, are at their Sheep Hill home, where Jennifer celebrated a birthday on July 13. Happy day, friend!

I also had an opportunity to quickly chat with Arne DeKeijzer, who is happily at his Larsen Lane home with his lovely bride, Helen. They’ve had some company in town, which always livens up a summer day.

The Martha Rose has returned to Menemsha with Captain Wes Brighton at the helm. Sea scallops are plentiful in the markets this week, courtesy of the local team of fishermen.

Bigeye tuna is also plentiful this week, courtesy of Captain Mike Hamilton of F/V Sinful. Brooks, my 18-year old, had the opportunity to join the crew for a multi-day trip out to the continental shelf. It’s not easy watching him depart the harbor, knowing he’s headed out to what seems like the edge of the world, but it’s always a thrill to see him return standing just a little prouder.