Tales from Gosnold: Ask Not for Whom the Chopper Calls
Will Monast
Sometimes a person is awakened from a dream by the very thing he is dreaming about. For some veterans I know, the deafening chop-chop of helicopter blades takes them back to Viet Nam. For us, the din of the blades and the intensity of lights so bright they bathe the island in daylight means someone is in trouble.
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When All Else Fails, Take Stock of It All
Will Monast
Around late January the holiday cheer begins to run thin. The harbor might be frozen over which means no boat. No boat!? Damn, I’m out of booze.

You’d think that by now a little planning would have been appropriate. Hell no. On the island, planning is just not part of the fun. In Dickie’s case, planning ahead wouldn’t matter and in fact could be fatal. Whether Dickie buys a bottle or a case, he just sits down and drinks it until it’s all gone. Five cases would be fatal and he knows it.

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Because Island Eyes Are Everywhere
Will Monast
The other day Cam Bergeron was standing in line at the grocery store on the Vineyard talking to a friend about Gosnold town business when he was interrupted by a man standing behind him. The soft-spoken gentleman asked if Cam was from Gosnold and Cam told him that he was. The tall, stately black man said that he had never met anyone from Gosnold but had wanted to for a long time. He needed an explanation for something that had happened to him near there. He then told this story.
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Tales from Gosnold: On an Island No Man Is an Island
Will Monast
You probably want to know a little more about the hermit, Alfred. From the start I’ll tell you that it’s very hard for the islanders to talk about Alfred, although we all carry him on our conscience. On the day that Alfred died just about everyone on the island passed by his house and saw him waving from the window. Although most unusual, we all waved back and continued on our way.
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Tales from Gosnold: Kindness and Kids Are Heart of Christmas
Will Monast
Children are everything to this island. It doesn’t matter if there are just one or two, or as many as eight or nine, a place is set at every table at every meal for every one of them, no matter who their parents are. There are always eyes swelling with love and protection, ready at any moment to jump in and become a real pain. The island kids think they are free spirits. True, they have no limits, no traffic, no extortion, no bullies and no boundaries except the sea and only two rules. The first is that no one goes onto a dock without a life jacket until they’ve learned to swim.
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Tales from Gosnold: Politics and Potlucks, Much the Same
Will Monast
Rule number one: An islander does not ask another islander over for dinner. We already know far too much about each other to open ourselves up to the possibility of revealing what few mysteries there might be left. So aside from the occasional potluck supper, there isn’t much social life. The suppers tend to be pretty quiet, with one faction on one side of the hall and the other faction on the other side. If you like casseroles, Rice Krispy treats and a knot in your stomach, you’re in for something special. Conversation is kept at a pretty low burn . . .
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Living in the Fishbowl Not So Simple
Will Monast
My first description of Dickie Becker as a fisherman who works when it’s light and sleeps when it’s dark and that’s why he only needs one outlet, might have given you the impression that he is a simple man. Dickie Becker is not a simple man. The truth is that Dickie passes out in a  chair well before it gets dark. Same diff, I guess. Dickie is a lobsterman which, when you think about what happens to a lobster, being caught, cooked and ripped limb from limb actually requiring a bib to catch flying body parts, could put him in the category of aiding and abetting a monster.
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Tales from Gosnold: Pillows of Comfort in Arms of Old Souls
Will Monast
When I can’t sleep I take long, late-night walks, mostly in the winter when I’ve got the place to myself. On quiet nights I usually head down Broadway past all the unlighted sleeping houses of people I know now and those I used to know, to the pier where the boats are sleeping, too. I stand perfectly still, listening to the sound of the faint gentle kiss of piling and rail, the strain of the stretching line, the barely audible lullaby of breeze through rigging.
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There Is a Balm in Clambakes, Tasty, Too
Will Monast
We weren’t sure that we were ever going live this one down. It was the biggest scandal in island history or at least for a month or two. We still call it Clamscam.
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Let Us Now Praise Infamous Grebes
Will Monast
And the cry rings out, “A.P. did it!” I think he’d be tickled. It’s an honor bestowed on each and every one of us on our way down to the cemetery. A.P. built most of the houses on the island. For 40 years he was the town builder, mason, plumber, architect, electrician and building inspector. Since his death he has become solely responsible for every single piece of bad building ever perpetrated on this rock. He has singlehandedly absolved every one of us of our sins. He is a saint, the patron saint of scapegoats.
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