Letter from the Vineyard 08 23 2018 The season ends, the moon is full and truth isn’t truth…


It’s evening and I am in “The Best Most Exotic Marigold Hotel” of guest houses, sipping a martini, listening to classical music and pondering my world.

I drove up to Oak Bluffs on Tuesday to a printer to pick up bookmarks to promote a couple of book signings this weekend.  It was a grey day, the air warm, perfect for a light sweater and shorts.  It seemed as if at any moment, fog would roll in, but it didn’t.  As I drove to OB, I crossed the bridge from which young people throw themselves into the water; it is known as the “Jaws” bridge as it was featured in the film. Some of the island’s ethos is shaped by the film being shot here even though set somewhere else.  Every Sunday night the local cinema has a 6:30 screening of “Jaws,” winter, spring, summer and fall.

As I drove to Oak Bluffs, the windows of the car were open, and I felt the sea salt breeze as I drove, and I realized I sort of, kind of, live here.  And it felt good.  The road was familiar.  The sight of young people throwing themselves into the water was familiar.

The people at the printer know me as the Edgartown Books guy.  There is a man who comes to the bookstore and looks to me for approval for his reads.  He wants my opinion before he tosses down his credit card.

The owner of Edgartown Pizza knows my name and what I like.  The lady at Lapels, the only dry cleaner on the island knows me by sight and name.  One of the young waitresses at Edgartown Diner occasionally runs and gives me a hug in welcome.  Certainly, I know the staff of BTB, the restaurant behind the bookstore.

Landry Harlan, who writes for the Vineyard Gazette, came in to chat today before going to the courthouse to cover a story about the estuary.

It makes me feel a part of this community.

And the reality is, I will be leaving in three weeks.

There is a change happening; people are acknowledging “the season” is coming to an end.  Colin, the wonderful mixologist at BTB, is leaving September 21st – he has booked his flight, home to San Francisco.

Me? I’m back to Columbia County, a quick trip to Minneapolis, then Europe.  This is now the vagabond part of my life.

And wherever I vagabond to, I will watch how events unfold here.

There is a phrase in the television business, based on an episode of “Happy Days,” when Fonzie was in Hawaii and jumped a shark.  It now means a plot twist so unbelievable that you just don’t know what to do with it.

And that’s what Tuesday felt like, that the Trump reality presidency had jumped the shark, plot wise.  In the same hour, on the same day, Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight charges, with a mistrial on ten and Michael Cohen pled guilty to eight charges in New York.  A wag said if this were an episode of “House of Cards” or “West Wing,” we would have jumped the shark.

All quite stunning.

One columnist equated Omarosa with Martha Mitchell.  The painful part of that is not many people remember Martha Mitchell – she was the wife of Nixon’s Attorney General and had a lot to say.

In the late 1970’s, I went to a photo exhibit at St. John the Divine in New York and many of the photos were of Martha Mitchell in her death throes, battling cancer.  She was a bit of a “whack job” but she also spoke truth to power.

We are, once again, living in stunning times.

Michael Cohen’s guilty plea included some stunning points that indicated he was doing illegal things at the direction of the man who is now president.

There is an excellent article in “Fortune” about why half-speak is more dangerous than doublespeak.  I suggest you read it here. It was inspired by Rudy Giuliani’s statement, “Truth isn’t truth.”  Even listening to it several times in context I was left reeling.

In the meantime, at this moment, the classical music is playing, my martini is finished. I am dealing with the fact I screwed up something at the bookstore and that’s not easy and I need to head to sleep because the last three weeks will be hard as all the wonderful young people who worked at the bookstore are leaving, heading off to college, graduate school, back to their countries of origin.

Ah, sweet summer on the Vineyard, such a mix of things.








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