Letter from the Vineyard 7 December 2019 A different kind of Thanksgiving…



It is Wednesday, the 4th of December, as I sit down to write this letter.  I’m pretty sure it will take me a couple of days as I am extravagantly tired after 14 non-stop days at the bookstore, stretching myself more than I usually do, amusing myself as much as usually do, and always a bit bemused at the wonderful turns life takes me.

My Thanksgiving is usually spent at my friend Larry and Alicia’s farm in Stuyvesant, NY, a tradition which has evolved from shared Thanksgivings over the last almost twenty years.  It is special and was very hard for me not to be there.

This year, I spent Thanksgiving in the bookstore, unpacking fifty boxes which had come in, working to make the store look a bit like Christmas for the Black Friday crowds, which came, the biggest day the store has had since summer.

Misha, the barista from BTB, the restaurant behind the bookstore, swooped in to help me, cementing friendship.  He made me food so I would have sustenance; my Thanksgiving dinner was his delectable goulash, consumed while sitting at the counter, surveying the store, eating, checking off a mental list of things still needing to be done.

It was not my usual Thanksgiving; unique, not regretted.

Misha is now gone, five months of travel before returning for next season, through Europe before heading to Rwanda, his special place, Madagascar, then back to the Vineyard, readying himself for yet another summer.

Because of the bookstore, I am meeting people, learning about island writers.  The bookstore is a member of the Chamber of Commerce; I attend meetings, good for the bookstore, good for me.  At the latest meeting, a gentleman told me he and his wife had a hoot buying some books from me.  They had just spent a weekend at the Charlotte Inn, one of the island’s premiere places, and somehow the bookstore came up and my name and the people at the Inn said, oh yes, we know Mathew, he came in the other day and introduced himself.

It’s my time of introducing myself as I know very few people on the island and, while I am here, need to make a life for myself so introducing myself is the order of the day.

Janet Messineo, wrote “Casting Into the Light,” about her life as one of the island’s premiere fisher people, and we had a lovely conversation Sunday morning after she had done an event at The Grange, signing books at an author’s table, selling out all the books we had given her.

Saturday morning has now rolled around; I’ve reveled in two days, mostly, away from the bookstore, taking myself out to dinner as a reward to my own self, after raiding the Boy’s and Girl’s Club Second Hand Store around the corner for ornaments, now hanging in the windows of Edgartown Books, as well as Santa in a sleigh holding a doll and Mrs. Kringle singing in red velvet. There are still a few things to be done and I now know, I will actually get there.  The store looks festive and think I haven’t let Joyce down, who is great at displays.

The town of Edgartown is preparing for “Christmas in Edgartown,” several days of festivities drawing people back to the Vineyard.  We will have authors signing books.  Jean Stone will sign on Saturday, autographing copies of “A Vineyard Christmas,” which I read last Christmas to get me into the spirit of the season.  And, on Sunday, the indomitable Janet Messineo will be ensconced in the “Sea” section, signing her books and doing a demonstration on knots.

Life could be much worse.


Now, “back in America,” as islanders sometimes say, the President looks to be impeached.  Only the third time in our country’s history.  No matter what your political views, it is a sad day when a President is impeached.

It is now December 7th, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. A deep bow.


Until next time…

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