Nantucket Essays

Sweet Memories
Nantucket Essays

Sweet Memories

My wife and I were married in Key West in 1997. This blissful occasion took place in a beautiful little garden at the Chelsea House, a really neat little B&B. The ceremony, such as it was, was performed by a guy who did weddings as a side gig from his main job as a hotel concierge. He buzzed up on his moped, and five minutes later the deal was done, witnessed by Beth’s sister and brother-in-law, Cathy and Tim Lepore. Ah, sweet memories.

Fighting the Battle
Nantucket Essays

Fighting the Battle

Take a look at the young lady in blue pictured holding the striped bass. I saved this picture in my favorites album because I truly believe it’s the best photo I’ve ever taken. Everything about it is perfect: blue bucket hat, blue tie dyed shirt, blue sky in the background, and the windswept beach of Coatue arcing behind her. Her bemused expression—is she really happy that she caught this fish? Is she trying to find her place in this family or maybe even this world? There’s so much going on here! Even though I’m mad at myself still for not remembering this young lady’s name, I consider her picture to be on par with the Mona Lisa.

An Island Point of View, Nantucket Essays

America: a Promise, a Hope, & a Dream

America can be hard to see.

Oh, we can see the flags. On the Fourth of July, we have the red, white, and blue on every bicycle, tricycle, and baby carriage. The bunting hangs off of buildings and wharves. We celebrate the country in a rollicking, rolling carnival of hot dogs, ice cream, and beer. Somebody will host a firecracker fun run, somebody else will win a pie-eating contest, and then, in the evening, fireworks will guide us through the night with the light from above.

An Island Point of View, Nantucket Essays

Biking through the Mists of Memory

I follow a boy to the beach. He pedals a brown 12-speed Univega with red panniers hanging off the rear rack, as if he were pedaling across the country and needed to bring everything he would ever need. The boy is bent over the racing handlebars, with his hands resting on the lower handles and his butt raised by a fraction of an inch off the seat. He wears a Campagnolo bicycling cap, although his bike has no rat traps for his feet nor is he wearing a helmet.

An Island Point of View, Nantucket Essays

Siasconset Ghosts

She had come down to open the house for the summer, again.

When the boys were younger, they had all come down over spring break to take the shrouds off of the chairs, stock the pantry, and restart the water and the electricity. Her husband, Benjamin, was a marvelous Professor of Economics and a force to be dealt with in the Faculty Senate, but he was not particularly handy. A degree in economics and a hand full of thumbs meant that he tried to turn the water on himself, broke something, and she always called a plumber to make sure it was done right.

Stand by Me
Nantucket Essays, Nantucket Voices

Stand by Me

There’s a scene at the start of the fantastic 1986 movie “Stand By Me” where Richard Dreyfuss is sitting in his car, trying to come to terms with the death of one of his childhood buddies. As this character looks up from the newspaper article that had delivered the bad news, he sees two kids who look about thirteen pedaling by on their bikes. We see the Dreyfuss character immediately taken back in time, back to that age, back with his neighborhood gang. It’s a poignant moment that starts this brilliant coming-of-age movie (based on the Stephen King novella The Body).

An Island Point of View, Nantucket Essays, Nantucket Voices

You’ll Need a Bookcase

I can’t buy a decent bookcase. If I want, I can get one on Wayfair or from Ikea that looks like a bookcase, but the shelves won’t hold anything heavier than a take out meal. I can find one created by a craftsman made of walnut and sturdy enough to hold the Harvard Library in leatherbond, but the bill is roughly what you would pay for a used Toyota. And it won’t buy the groceries.

Nantucket Essays, Nantucket History & People

Spreading the Fishing Bug

Not every type of fishing involves rods and reels. Nantucket has an abundance of quahogs, hard shell clams that live in the shallow sandy areas around the island. When I was in my early teens, it seems that once or twice each summer I’d end up on a trip with Oscar Bunting, a commercial fisherman, to go with him and scratch up those tasty morsels. Oscar looked like he was from central casting’s selection for “The Old Man and the Sea.” He was a very strong guy with forearms that rivaled Popeye’s, a real-life Cap’n Quint. Oscar had a steely look in his eyes that told you he was a serious man but he softened that look with a frequent and wonderful deep laugh. I loved those quahog digging trips with him!

Go Bucktails!…
Nantucket Essays, Nantucket Voices

Go Bucktails!

Yikes—it’s the second week of May and no Nantucket anglers have caught a striped bass yet! The first striper of 2023 showed up on May 3. I remember this well as my wonderful, crazy wife Beth landed it! She didn’t know that it was a big deal at the time. I certainly did. So here we are, us Nantucket fishing types, waiting in anticipation. Antici-paaaaaation…it’s keeping me waaaaaaaiting…