I have been thinking about this blog post for a long time now. I knew it was coming. I knew it was coming and I didn’t have a clue what to do about it. What was I going to say? Almost every single post so far has touched on a Martha’s Vineyard experience that was fresh in my mind and heart. I would sit down with a drink placed on the table a relatively safe distance from my lap top and recount a recent sailing adventure, an incredible lobster roll, or a hike on Menemsha Hills. Sometimes, I would write about the history of a particular lighthouse, agonizing over which of the five was my favourite and why. I’d let you all in on my favourite spots to watch the sunrise and the sunset, which beaches held the most memories for me, and why I had worked them all into my Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries. Whatever I wrote about, each story would paint a smile across my face with broad strokes until, at the end, I was coloured with a mural of happiness that stretched from ear to ear. I hope with all my heart that my articles did the same for you. This past year has been very different.
Martha’s Vineyard March 2020
Last year, having missed Christmas In Edgartown 2019, I decided to jump on a plane and head to the Vineyard for a short five day trip in March. There were a lot of rational reasons why I shouldn’t go but I couldn’t help it—I had to. I knew if I didn’t, I would never forgive myself. I had no idea just how right I was. I couldn’t have had a better time. My trip started with dinner at my friend Lisa’s house with my friends Laurel Redington of MVY Radio and Captain Kurt Peterson of Catboat Charters! The four of us ate a lot, talked a lot, and laughed a lot. That evening was exactly what I had needed. Even if I left to go home right after dinner, I would have been grateful that I went, but I didn’t go home.
The next day, Kurt and I ate breakfast at Art Cliff Diner and then toured around Cape Cod. Kurt showed me places I had never seen before. I don’t drive and I’m always so quick to get to the island that Peter Pan Bus Lines usually takes me from Logan to Woods Hole and that’s it. The weather was perfect. I love a car ride and I could have driven the coast, watching the waves crash against the beach, all day.
We had dinner with Kurt’s family—a family I love like my own—and I can honestly say that I have never had so much fun eating ice cream in my life! Ice cream was not new to me—obviously—but I have been eating it wrong for the last fifty years. Different flavours were passed around the table from person to person, each sampling every cold, sweet morsel. A spoonful of birthday cake ice cream, a spoonful of chocolate, a smattering of chocolate mint—there was another brand of birthday cake ice cream? A better one?—cookie dough, oh yes, gotta have the cookie dough. What’s this? Vanilla? Oh sure, why not. Just like the night before, I talked and laughed so much. I also learned a valuable lesson: if friends and family are the cake of life and the Cape and Islands are the cherry, don’t forget the ice cream.
After a couple of days filled with Chappaquiddick, hiking Great Rock Bight, and general shenanigans that only great friends can get up to, I went home and just as I stepped back onto Canadian soil, they slammed the Canada/USA border shut. It’s still shut.
No Edgartown, No Oak Bluffs, No Nuthin’
A couple of weeks after they closed the border, Canada shut down completely. I mean completely. No one left their house except for groceries. The highways were empty, toilet paper became worth its weight in gold (I’m still not sure exactly why) and at 7:00pm everyone was banging their pots on their balconies in support of essential workers. In other words, things were weird—really weird. Nothing this weird could last right? Then gyms closed, including condo gyms, and for the most part, I was out of a job. I applied for grocery in a local grocery store and I got it. Minimum wage but it was money coming in. It would keep a roof over my head if nothing else and I figured, as did my bosses, that this would all blow over by summer and I would be back in action and planning my usual June trip to Martha’s Vineyard for The Best Of The Vineyard. That didn’t work out. So July then…Okay August? September? It’s been thirteen months since I have been on Martha’s Vineyard soil. I haven’t waded out into the waters of Edgartown Harbor to get a better shot of Tigress, I haven’t had a Dirty Banana at Nancy’s Restaurant, or walked the beaches in Aquinnah. Most of all, I haven’t seen my friends. I miss my friends…a lot. One very special friend, I will never see again. We all lost Kathy O’Sullivan this past winter and that’s a hole that will never be filled. So much loss.
There have been catastrophic losses over the past year. It is not lost on me just how lucky I am. My heart goes out to every individual who has lost a loved one or been otherwise affected by the pandemic. I hope this is the worst global tragedy that we have to endure in our lifetime. Nothing can and will change what is past. All any of us can do is look forward and that’s exactly why I am here. I’m looking forward and there is a lot to look forward to…
Martha’s Vineyard Summer 2021
Vaccines are being rolled out at a fantastic rate in the United States. The government’s vaccine plan has been nothing short of astonishing. My own country is not doing as well but we didn’t make our own vaccine so we were a little slower on the uptake. Having said that, we are picking up speed and more and more people are being vaccinated at a faster rate every day. There has been talk between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden about opening the border between our two countries as early as July 1st. If I could hold my breath that long, I’d be doing it. That’s not that far away, is it? A week in July, a week in August, and a week in September—that’s my plan!
There are a lot of goings-on in august on Martha’s Vineyard that I have yet to experience! Did you know that I have never been to the Agricultural Fair? I’ve never been to Illumination Night either! No really! These are just a couple of the things I am looking forward to this season. These thoughts keep me going when I struggle with not seeing my friends and not being a part of my island home.
I miss doing things that I have done hundreds of times already. I miss eating a Loretta breakfast at The Black Dog; I miss being in the cockpit of Catboat Charters’ Tigress and feeling the wind rippling over my Vineyard Vines polo. I miss the rumble of the Chappy Ferry‘s engine. I miss… I miss… The longer I am away, the less I can feel her salt water coursing through my veins and the sweetness of her wild roses in my nostrils. My brain keeps telling my heart that I will be back and that I’ll be back soon. That keeps me going. I can still hear the sound of a sail being hoisted and my mouth still waters with the tang of a lobster roll. Everyday, I get closer and closer to my spiritual home. It helps to remind myself that no matter what happens, the waves are crashing at the base of the Aquinnah Cliffs. Of course they are. Hey, it’s the Vineyard!