When you go to the same place every year, it allows you to measure change in a particular way. Not just in your girth, but in your growth. Peter and I came to the Vineyard for his birthday the first year we met. It was romance gone wild. And while we were already in love with each other, we added a third party: Martha. That was 29 years ago. We’ve come here in all kinds of conditions since then. As newly married’s, with cousins, friends, family. We’ve celebrated all of Peter’s birthdays, toasted accomplishments, nursed losses, and walked miles. We beat infertility, drove our babies around to make them stop crying, snuggled our puppy, watched restaurants and shops come and go, became addicted to the spring rolls at the farmer’s market and the treasures at the flea, eaten the thick english muffins overlooking Aquinnah, fat steaks at the Tavern, ambrosial scallops at the Bite, pizza on the porch of the Chilmark Store, veggie burgers and fries at the Galley, lobster at Larsen’s, spied celebs, watched the sun set over Menemsha, the crowds soar, the fourth of July parade, where our daughter’s love for candy almost got her killed by the giant wheels of a firetruck. We’ve shopped ourselves poor,eaten til we’ve almost popped, scored clothing that reminds of us this place while we are freezing our asses off in the middle of winter.
You’re not considered an “Islander” unless you’re born here, but what about if you’ve been re-born here? My family has been coming here for all its life. In sadness and grief, good times and happiness. We take a little bit of Martha home with us when we leave, and we leave a little part of ourselves here when we stay. The beauty of this place goes so deep down into the fabric of our souls, even if we never graced Lucy again, or set foot on Squibby, we would still feel it underneath our feet. Scenes of a marriage, a childhood, a family. Here on this island. Again this year. It’ll always be ours.