A Trip Down Memory Lane

by Bryan

I just returned from a week-long trip home. I left during the fury of the Rainstorm of ’07, plugged up I-95 on the Peter Pan (née Bonanza) Bus and headed to Vineyard Haven on the brand-spanking new Island Home ferry, a vessel so advanced that it features televisions and free Wi-Fi (which wasn’t working). I played some travel Yahtzee on the boat with Grant and two friends we ran into. Grant and I split the two games. And then I was home.

My house is no longer occupied year-round, so it has a very unlived-in feel about it, and I actually kind of like it. Instead of stepping into the past, it feels like I’m stepping into a world of my own making. That may have sounded strange. Basically, instead of falling into my old childhood habits like watching TV, fighting with my brother and going to the pool it seemed a lot easier to relax in my new, adult style: reading, going to the beach and merely receiving broadside verbal and slightly physical assaults from my brother.

But seriously, it was a good time. I saw my uncle and his family for the first few days, as we went to a great meal at Alchemy* the first day and had a barbecue at his house the following evening. I can call it a barbecue because they are from Texas and there were ribs. I have come under fire lately because of my tendency to conflate the term “barbecue” with “grilling” or “cook-out” from a certain southern foodophile, but we even had actual smoked woodchips to add flavor, all down home style.

Friday was a gloomy, rainy day and I achieved my goal of having coffee with Louis and Ben while engaging in an exceptionally wide-ranging conversation; it was precisely as I imagined it would be. The rain having spirited away our energy, we bought pizza and watched the Red Sox lose a nail-biter to the Orioles in my rec room. The following day was the Chilmark Road Race, some beach and some basketball — it was chock full 0′ outdoor activities, and Sunday was rest day at the Joiner house where we did some honest to God grilling.

Monday I went for a run with my Nike+, as I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase, and played some more basketball with the old crew and followed it up with a Toots and the Maytals show in the evening. Grant got up on stage. Then he stayed up until four in the morning while I tried to sleep — the third straight year he has kept me awake on my final night on the island. Some things never change.

* I starred Alchemy** here because it is one of the five pretentious/cloying one-named restaurants on the Vineyard. The other are Atria, Détente, Water and Balance. From what I understand, they’re all excellent (I’ve been to two of them). But seriously, can we do something about the names?

** The first time I wrote this I confused Atria and Alchemy, as you can see from the comments. That’s my bad. But it’s a symptom of the one-namers. And my stupidity.