Nantucket Bound

22 04 2021

“Well I’m on the Downeaster Alexa
And I’m cruisin’ through Block Island Sound
I have charted a course to the vineyard
But tonight I am Nantucket bound”

-Billy Joel

On to the journey! Gotta do some errands and such and awaiting a package but other than that my mind is ready to leave this home. I got a comment yesterday that said it was sad that I don’t have a “home” where I can feel comfortable and secure and “at home”. I know it’s hard to understand but I do feel completely at home in both SF and Nantucket, I think it’s harder on the people that I leave waiting for me while I’m on the other side. Of course I miss them and my other home a lot when I’m away, but the alternative would be to leave forever, and just occasionally visit. Now I leave knowing I’ll be back soon enough. I guess it’s hard to understand!

I used to cry, weep, every time I had to leave Nantucket, but now that I have a home there I’m reassured that I’ll be back. The island has always had that draw for me since I visited fir the first time. I came across a poem I wrote from my first trip… I was 11.

Not my most profound poem but the memories were deep. It was so great. We stayed at a tired little beach cottage right next to the Wauwinet Hotel. Now a grand Relais & Chateau property, it too needed some care at the time. It was my grandparents on my Mom’s side, My Uncle Dan and his son Josh and wife Sharon.

It was an ideal setup for me. Raw wood walls in the drafty upstairs bedroom with the howl of the wind blowing through the beams. A teeny window looking out towards the harbor and the vast ocean just behind us over the dune.

My mother being somewhat “fancy” looked at the place somewhat disapprovingly. It was homey to me, homely to her. It took that first trip to the bathroom where she saw the “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” sign taped to the toilet fir her to flee to the hotel to find more suitable accommodations. The hotel wasn’t even up to her five star standards at the time, so we never went back to Nantucket despite my begging.

Fast forward to my junior year at Cornell. I was in TCAB the teaching restaurant class as a teaching assistant. I think that meant I worked the pasta station, dipping par cooked pasta back into a hot water bath to refresh it… my advisor Chris Muller and chef instructor Brian Halloran would hang around chatting with me on the line as the night went on. At one point the topic of Nantucket came up and I told them how much I wanted to go back. Suddenly I was inundated with tales of the island and the escapades of their youth out there where they’d had incredible adventures. They would not stop until they’d convinced me to go out there fir the summer. They introduced me to Susan Tate and Doug Wolf and somehow I was able to get a coveted host job at the iconic Brotherhood of Thieves. I even got housing with my friend Cindy and a random assortment of young men, chefs, carpenters, very great guys. I had the quintessential Nantucket summer, and I remember a party the night before I left, I don’t think it was in honor of me, but I recall how I sobbed wondering if I’d ever be back, because it was the best summer I’d ever had.

Life’s like that though, you wonder, was that the best? Could it get any better? And I guess it can, it does. So it’s important to be ok with goodbyes, and make them more like “see you laters”.

Recently I’ve been thinking about that… I think I’ve been holding on too tightly to permanence. To loss to goodbye. Grieving the passing of my father in particular. I’m learning that holding onto despair doesn’t serve me well, or in fact his memory. These connections, the people you find in this lifetime are so important, but you have to appreciate that they will come in and out if your life at times. I feel like if we are at peace with this ebb and flow we can better enjoy the connection even if it seems fleeting. I feel like we have soulmates, many in fact, and we are put together at critical junctures so we can reconvene and learn from one another. How else can you explain live, friendships, and bonding tightly to people you never knew before. My tribe is a motley assortment of people from all over, and so I’m always surrounded by this family no matter where I am in the world. I’m always home.

I’ll leave you with some lyrics of mine from Missing Someone All the Time…

“It’s hard being friends with me, cuz I just have to roam, you see my heart is so carefree it just has lots of homes…”

“Not tryin’ to complain, I love the thrill of the road, but I just hate to say Goodbye. These boots weren’t made for staying, so I gotta get goin’, but I’m missing someone all the time.”

So I’ll see you later…