No Man Is an Island; Not Even a Chappy Man - written by Brad Woodger

  • Monday, April 23, 2018 - 3:39pm

I’ll be returning to Chappy shortly to reopen the Royal and Ancient — Chappy’s premiere golf course. I’ve set foot a few times over the past month, but like the cat testing its paw in the snow, I’ve decided that it is best to try again at a later date to set up camp in the great unknown.

I think that later date is now.

There was a day when I didn’t really plan my trips to Chappy since I was already there. I’d pull up the shade, survey the sky and ground and then dress appropriately. But I’m no longer already there. I’m here. In Plymouth, a lovely town. But distinctly not Chappy.

So now I check my weather apps, then check them again, and then once more before making a reservation on the boat. Then I change my reservation. Rain has become snow as my iPhone charged.

My last trip to the Island was in March to retrieve my VW bus from a kind West Tisbury neighbor’s garage (pity was taken — the relic’s forlorn ice-coated figure beneath an angry oak too much for him to take). I brought a new battery with me to avoid the stalling and jump starts that plagued my trip on Vineyard roads from Chappy to said garage.

The return trip was less eventful, though I still avoided coming to any full stops, choosing instead to glide through intersections as safely as possible with the clutch depressed and the gears in second.

On Chappy, I set to the task of mowing the greens, which was more an exercise in collecting goose poop than the cutting of any grass. Clumps of hardened snow still remained where the pines discouraged the sun, and twigs gathered in conspiratorial groupings — leftovers from February storms.

Next I cleaned the clubhouse money box of mouse droppings and spider legs, dumping the coins into a bucket of soapy water, letting the detritus drift to the top. I stopped short of scrubbing — the dimes and quarters would surely see more tough times down the line.

Later I made notes of more to do, and then built shelving to house golf shirts and belts and other products of the world’s smallest pro shop.

I searched for a carport/tent that I’d ordered online and had delivered to Chappy, with all intentions of putting it up the following day. It had been delivered (or so my email said) but I could not find it. Perhaps the crows had borrowed it for a banquet.

All this time I was alone, as I often am on Chappy. Untethered, unbothered, free to get stuff done. I talk to myself a great deal, mostly admonishments or reminders.

I am generally good company to myself. And there is a comfort in my aloneness on Chappy. But also a melancholy and a longing. I’m a father now and a husband. The rooms that I had carefully furnished in my heart for one have expanded to accommodate others. I leave the lights on, but the corners remain dim in their absence.

Etienne is three now. He speaks in full, if somewhat halting sentences — searching for the right words to just maybe convince dad of the veracity of his argument. He is toddler concentrate.

I suppose I am like any other man or woman who has ever loved anything. Rarely are the places and the people in the same space at the same time. I miss Chappy when I am home with my family. I miss my family when I am home on Chappy. But life is nothing if it isn’t ever missing something.