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

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August 17, 2005

So yesterday afternoon I ventured down the long and sandy road again, vowing as I turned off the solid surface of the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road that I wasn't pulling over for anyone. Within half a mile I'd broken my vow: there were two cars coming in the opposite direction (etiquette on single-lane roads: one vehicle yields to two, two to three, and so on), and besides there was a handy layby under the trees. A hundred or so yards on, a white van approached. Could it be . . . ? It was: the nice guy in the Our Market (liquor store) van who'd tried to push Uhura loose last week. I recognized him, he recognized me; I hollered out the window, "I won't get stuck this time!" and he grinned.

As expected, the camp was quiet. Rhodry rooted around in the huckleberry bushes and generally went exploring while I moved the gas can away from the solar batteries (board of health dude didn't like them so close together) and went through the bedrooms looking for mildewy and otherwise unsightly linen. Even applying standards considerably stricter than my own, I didn't find much. Four pillows (one with undisputable mildew on it, though no musty odor), a few pillow covers -- that was it. At the moment the first load is hanging on the line and two pillows are stretching the tolerance of the rickety washing machine I share with my downstairs neighbor.

The air was bright, clearer and cooler than last week. A Sunfish sail was up on Larry Jones's little beach across the cove. If I were on vacation, I couldn't imagine a better place to be. I've been trying to imagine myself into the heads of the Tenants from Hell, who were so self-absorbed that they literally couldn't see where they were. I wonder if they'll sue for their pain and suffering, or whatever it is people sue for when they're pissed off.

I was loading my two canvas bags of laundry (the pillows stuffed the bigger bag beyond its capacity) into Uhura's cab when a woman appeared up the little trail from Thumb Cove. (The trail is so short that Thumb Cove is clearly visible through the scrubby trees.) For a moment I thought it was my father's soon-to-be-ex second wife. No: I'd never seen this woman before. I also didn't see her dachshund, who had high-tailed it down the road as fast as his little legs could carry him as soon as he caught a glimpse of Rhodry. We said hello, and she started down the road in sedate pursuit of her dog. I caught up just before the road turns left up a rocky, rutted hill: dog was staging a lie-down strike in the middle of the road attended by the lady from the trophy house next door and, presently, his owner.

I got out of the truck, asking if the dog was OK. Trophy house lady said he wasn't going anywhere without his owner; owner said he was tired, having not been for such a long walk in a very long time. Dog was resisting trophy house lady's attempts to pick him up. Susanna to the rescue -- if I can schlep 60-pound hay bales, not to mention lift 80-pound Rhodry into the truck (which I was doing for several days this spring when the malamutt sprained his coccyx), what's a dachshund? The dachshund was heaver than he looked, but I carried him up the hill to where the road widened enough to let the truck by. The ladies thanked me, and Rhodry, Uhura, and I proceeded on our merry and uneventful way. Someone had smoothed out the deep ruts left last week by Uhura's tires, but I'll have the exact location on my psychic map for quite a while yet.

 

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