Last Saturday was a glorious day to do anything. But it was a very special day for the family — plenty of family — and friends who gathered at the East Chop Beach Club to salute the life of recently-departed John D. Miller Sr. John was a son of a Boston College legend, the late Eddie Miller. Both displayed beaming smiles on the program cover for the celebration.

John was a true renaissance man as an athlete, real estate executive, and as a father who loved his family, his Catholic faith and his alma mater, Boston College. He knew how to enjoy life.

Emotional speeches by family members, guests in groups of three or four sharing war stories, tales of good times and plenty of laughter and some tears were sprinkled in along with cold beverages and plenty of good food.

A moving speech given by John D. Jr. at the funeral services this past March was featured in the program booklet, charting the entire trajectory of his father’s life. In particular he focused on John’s love of the Vineyard. Playing lots of tennis and golf, throwing his kids off the beach club jetty, walking the dogs around the Chop...all told the story of his eclectic life.

Michelle Miller penned a sonnet in John’s memory. Family pictures were everywhere, displaying love and fun, simply enjoying life in all its dimensions and in all the seasons of life.

East Chop will miss one of its bright lights never to return. But now that John has joined his father Eddie in heaven, look for some real excitement in their new home.

On a personal note: my wife Kathy was a Boston College cheerleader and knew Eddie Miller decades ago. While I was further down on Commonwealth avenue at Boston University, we both spent time with Eddie, who was the sports information director and public relations director at Boston College.

John and I became real estate partners on a large life science building in the Seaport and our families live around the corner from each other on the Chop. Our reunion with the Miller family has been a cherished relationship. John and Eddie, may you rest in peace. You have left big footprints in the sands of life for us to remember for the rest of our lives.

Over the July Fourth weekend in recent years, many have observed a large group of individuals gathering near the Inkwell Beach, dressed in uninterrupted white, in a circle and seeming very somber. My dear friend Bobby Edwards is part of this gathering and I asked him to share its origins and purpose.

The first meeting at the water took place in 2008 when Kevin Ray and Wayne Leland, frequent visitors to the Island, transitioned. So Bobby and his dear friend Michele, known as Meechie, led a small group in organizing this occasion to speak the names of the departed during that year and release balloons that have the lost inscribed on them. Bobby shared that it was also symbolic of generations of African Americans who sought the water over the generations.

It reminds me of the 1921 poem by Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In this poem, Mr. Hughes charts African-American history using four rivers in the Middle East, Africa and America. The significance of everyone wearing white is that all in attendance are stronger in unity and that no one person is better than the other but all are part of humanity.

I look forward to this new Oak Bluffs tradition in 2024 when perhaps those in attendance will exceed the 83 people who attended this year.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as time is fleeting. Randall Taylor, rest in peace.