Oh good grief – ya’ll know I can’t stay away from the laptop when I’m on this island! Everything I see I want to share with you, so needless to say, you’re getting more than one photo today!
I had to make a deal with myself though: Unpack – write a little, take a walk – write a little, unpack some more – write a little more, go downtown – write. It worked out pretty well.
Here are a few notes and pics from our first day back, or maybe I should start with Monday right after we arrived – the bad stuff first.
You remember last year when we got to the condo and didn’t have any hot water? Guess what. Repeat! Only this time, instead of the element being burned out, we had water standing under the hot water heater where a drip pan overflowed. When our caretaker turned on the hot water a few day ago, he noticed a small leak and placed a catch-pan under it, thinking it would be fine until we got here on Monday. It wasn’t fine. So just like last year, our first call was to our plumber friend, Jerry. Jerry was here first thing this morning checking it out and fixing the leak. Ted has already decided we need to replace the whole thing because it is original with the condo (1989), but he is hoping to wait until winter. We’ll see.
This morning we sat out on the porch drinking coffee and watching the Carriage Tour wagons come up the hill. I cannot tell you the feeling I got in my heart watching that daily routine for the first time in six months. The sound of horses’ hooves clip-clopping over pavement is one of the most soothing sounds in the world to me. But – today I had lots to do, so I couldn’t sit around long. I unpacked one suitcase, then got ready to walk downtown.
I wanted to go with Jill at 10 a.m. to meet other friends who were arriving on the ferry this morning. Nothing makes you feel more special when you dock than to see smiling faces waiting for you, and it’s an island tradition to meet friends when they arrive and see them off when they leave. As I was walking across the hill by the horse corral, I noticed one lilac tree about to be in full bloom. Don’t panic if you are planning to be here for the Lilac Festival. That was the only one I saw – no clue why it is so far ahead of the others.
Jill met me at the bottom of Turkey Hill, and we walked into town together. Our friends who were arriving at ten called to say they were running late and wouldn’t get here until 12:30. I knew I couldn’t stay downtown that long, so we just ran some errands. I stopped in at the Arnold Ferry office to purchase commuter tickets for the season and ran into one of my favorite people on the island – Richard, who Ted and I met several years ago. Richard lives on the island during the summer and spends most of the day either in the corner park across from Doud’s or on the Arnold dock. Richard is retired and is an avid “people watcher”. We exchange Christmas cards every year and either Ted or I (or both of us) see him just about every day downtown. Richard is a character, and I mean that in only the fondest of ways.
Several chapters of the Red Hat Society were staying at the Grand this week, and the group below was waiting for Carriage Tour tickets. The Red Hat Society was founded by artist Ellen Cooper, who gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red fedora purchased at a thrift shop. She also gave her friend a copy of Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning” which opens with the lines, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple. With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t fit me.” Cooper repeated the gift several times on request and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party. Now there are 70,000 members and almost 24,000 chapters in the U.S. and 25 other countries. It is the largest women’s social group in the world.
We visited several shops and said “hello” to the owners we knew. Last year when I arrived on the island I knew practically no one. Today, I spent the morning visiting friends all around town. Amazing!
I can’t promise this much for the rest of the week, but we’ll see. Since I wrote the paragraph above about the hot water heater, it has begun to leak again, and Ted has ordered a new one. Enough with hoses running from the third floor to the second floor sink, draining water out of that tank – Ted wants it fixed! Me too – I am not a fan of cold showers!