Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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Litta Bitta This, Litta Bitta That

August 04, 2005

I blew this day last year having retina surgery #1, so the in-your-face ordinariness of this day this year was more than welcome. The writers' group met at the Daily Grind, which has become our breakfast joint of choice since the passing of Bon Go. Convenient places with good coffee, cheap but decent food (if you can get past the fact that your coffee costs almost half what the rest of your meal costs), and adequate seating are hard to come by. Daily Grind occupies a building that has gone through at least five incarnations in my twenty years on the Vineyard; when I moved here, it was a florist shop. This morning it was doing a bustling business, which we remarked with considerable hope. Sure, it could just be August, but the crowd looked pretty year-roundy, as opposed to the designer breakfast crowd at the ArtCliff and the Black Dog.

Headed up to Leslie's afterward, the drug store on Main Street, where I found a knockoff version of the stuff I'm supposed to be cleaning my contacts with. I compared and contrasted the ingredient list with that of the Name Brand; it wasn't the same but it looked close enough, and, at $4 less, worth trying. At the cash register we had a mini chorus reunion: me, the alto who works there, and a passing bass who doesn't. We assured each other that September -- with the departure of the worst traffic and the resumption of rehearsals -- was indeed coming. Outside, Rhodry had, as usual, stretched out on the wood-slat bench in front of the store, where he was charming passersby, also as usual. Two of them wanted to know what he was and, when I began "Malamute, samoyed, and border collie," volunteered that they'd had a Malamute, so we talked about dogs.

After pausing at Sports Haven but not finding the kind of exercise ball I wanted (and don't get on my case about me wanting an exercise ball, OK?), we headed home, across Veterans Park and up Causeway to the other side of Skiff. Worked, did midday barn chores, picked up mail, looked for exercise ball at health food store (don't get on my case about patronizing a health food store either; besides, I didn't buy anything, and nobody recognized me anyway), ordered exercise ball online, worked some more, returned to barn later than usual, having decided that Allie was due for a day off and my bridle badly needed cleaning. Fortune smiled: belatedly I realized that I was cruising down the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road at 4:45, around which time the traffic from the blinker light is often backed up to the Oak Bluffs town line. (This is A LONG WAY.) This afternoon it only took a few minutes before I could make my right turn in to Head of the Pond Road.

I had the barn to myself, me and the horses and Rhodry. The temperature had dropped, the air had lightened up; cleaning tack, watching horses, and drinking a beer had to be the best possible way to pass the last of the daylight hours.

Worked some more, playing the Lightfoot tribute CD Beautiful at least three times through, stopping each time to repeat Jesse Winchester's cover of "Sundown," the Tragically Hip's cover of "Black Day in July," and (big surprise) Keelaghan's cover of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." The only remote I own is the one for my boombox, and I make good use of it.


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