by Susan Yerkes Cary
When I was asked by the Yesterday’s Island owner if I would like to contribute a weekly column this year, I was flattered and honored. I have known the Daub’s for decades, our kids grew up together, and their love of this island and it’s people is immense. BUT…..my head spun around a couple times. Are they nuts? A column? Me? On what? What could I possibly contribute? I might be considered a chatterbox, but writer I am not. And then the names Carrie Bradshaw and Maureen Dowd came to mind. Yes, that’s it! A cross between feminine armchair advise and political junkie spouting. And what could be better than a platform to write a weekly Facebook status update longer than Mr. Zuckerberg allows.
That was when the negative cloud arrived overhead. 700 words? Not possible. And the horror of admitting my failures in spelling and grammar came to mind. And even worse, thinking that I could possible be censored or edited was like a sharp stick poked in my eye. My head stopped spinning long enough to learn that a column (or is it called an article?) on island life was the idea. Yes, I’ve been a year ’round resident almost 35 years, and was a summer person prior…..so the concept presented seemed somewhat plausible. Especially since my mind is in constant motion…..always looking at my personal gratefulness to be able to live on this spit of sand out in the Atlantic. Then, the other side of the coin presented itself, and I immediately wondered if it was a volunteer job, and if not, would the “position” be able to afford me a glass of wine out of the deal each week. I agreed to think about it.
It took me 3 minutes exactly to put conscious thought into words about this lovely topic. Because here’s the simple definition of island life. Those of us who live here year ’round are the VIP club members, and we know it. Oh, there are the occasional whiners……those who get that cabin fever and need their fix of the Cape Cod Mall and MacDonald’s….but even the whiners want to be living here, rather than Camden, New Jersey. Sorry, Camden…..(I just picked a name out of a hat.)……Nope, this column will not be a Chamber of Commerce plug….but visions of the slices of life that make our island living so special. If you are reading this, you must know what I mean. You are either a visitor to the island, a summer resident, or a “local”. That makes all of us special and bonded. And believe it or not, I was thinking of you last night as I sat in the island’s brewery warehouse on a cold windy stormy night here on the rock. I was thinking about how special it was to be with 50 or so people on winter potluck Friday, looking at beautiful shiny kegs, eating homemade comfort food, communally sitting with friends and neighbors and sharing antidotes about the winter storm that caused Nantucket to be severed from all boats and planes for three days. We all agreed that we loved the reality that we were “on our own”. Yes, I was thinking about all of you out there who were not seeing my island at that moment.
It was quite magical, really. I thought about how I was looking at a beautiful patchwork quilt of hardy, colorful, souls all brought together on this blistery night, with the wind howling outside, and the bluegrass music howling inside. There were hipsters, babies, kids, dogs, grandparents… all convened…..we were one. The base player was my daughter’s band leader in high school, the guitarist is another school instructor whose wife is a beloved bartender on the island, the harmonica player is a very talented local musician who was petting his dog with his foot as he played. And the food……Oh, the food!….bacon wrapped jalapenos, scallop pizzas, pork ribs, whoopee pies, cheesecakes…….it could not have a more perfect night for me, sitting with an accomplished fine artist, a carpenter, graphic designers, a bookkeeper, and an emergency room nurse. And that was only part one of this fun March evening. My night continued with the weekly trivia night at a local pub. Lucky me to be sharing Friday nights throughout the grey winters months with an ad guy, a computer guru, a thespian, a hairdresser, a doctor, and a Grammy winning musician. (BTW, I love the color grey)…..A dissection of a roomful of geeks with heads full of useful and not-so-useful knowledge each Friday night in the winter could probably be fodder for another column. Remote we are in the winter. Bleak, we are not.
I think you catch my drift on how this column is going to work. I will do my best to be honest and thoughtful about how much I love living here. Not everyone wakes up and consciously thinks about how much they love the town where they live. You will read a myriad of reasons why you might want to pack your bags and become island dwellers. There will weekly glimpses of my “home and hearth”….and yes, there will be some outbursts at time regarding problems that plague us, too. That will just have to go with the territory. No place is perfect. But you will read more about perfection and happiness than discontent. And hopefully I will never be edited.
If you are reading this now, you might be traveling to Nantucket to enjoy our lovely Daffodil Weekend, or you might be on island opening your beloved summer home, or you might be a Nantucket year ’round laborer on his lunch break happy to finally be outside in the sunshine on a Main Street bench on a gorgeous spring day. OR you might be someone who loves the tranquility of January and February and March, and is dreading the onslaught of summer tourists. The commonality is that we all love Nantucket and are here because we want to be here. Not because we got off at the wrong stop. And for me, that makes it easy to live here. Warts and all. Or maybe I should say, cobblestones and all. I hope you peeps from Boston, Greenwich, and Hooper Farm Road on Nantucket all have a wonderful spring! And thank you for loving MY Nantucket so much, too.