Of the five days that have passed since we last touched base, three of them were driveway-bound, while the other two were right out of a Bobby Bushong painting.
Good chance you’ve never heard of Bobby, who was a neighbor and good friend of my grandfather, Warren Cummings, on Nantucket Island back in the 1970s. As was his twin sister Polly, Bobby was a prominent Nantucket artist, and both were colorful figures from my childhood summers, during which our family would annually visit the Island. Polly, Bobby and my grandfather have all since died, but the Bushongs’ paintings (like one of Bobby’s there on the right) always give me a little reminder of salt water and kites on Smith Point and cobblestones and my grandfather’s Siamese “Mr. D” and the two-tiered backyard where my dad and I would play catch.
Yes, I just sighed.
It had been about 15 years since my dad and sister LJ and I went back to spread Grampy Warren’s ashes on one of his favorite beaches, and probably 12 years before that since we had been regular visitors. But there’s a new Nantucket connection now, and it was our 11th wedding anniversary weekend, so The Beautiful Heth lined up a stay at the House of the Seven Gables B&B on Cliff Road (right down the street from my grandfather’s former place) and an extended visit with two of the Island’s newest (and coolest) residents, Mike and Martha Cozort.
Mike is TBH’s former boss, from her time as a teacher and then curriculum coordinator in the Shaker Regional School District in Belmont, NH, where he recently resigned as the school district superintendent. I’m pretty sure it was originally planned to be a “retirement,” but when you make the kind of educational impression that Mike has made, you tend to get invited places anew, to make more impressions …
Such as Nantucket.
Mike isn’t the kind of superintendent who makes an impact just on a district as a whole, but on individual students as well. He goes to games. He reads to elementary school classes. He dresses up in goofy costumes. He knows the kids’ names. He acts in the school plays. (This is where I might pass along a story shared by Belmont High’s drama coach Alison Charbeneau Bryant, about the time he was in “The Wizard of Oz,” as a singing and dancing apple tree in the haunted forest, and during which he was so enthusiastic that he ended up stealing the lines of another apple tree … but I won’t share that story, because it might embarrass him.)
He’s a former New Hampshire Superintendent of the Year, and Nantucket is fortunate to have him.
Oh, and he can rebound, too.
Soccer’s his real sport, but Mike’s a jock, so catching a basketball and tossing it back wasn’t exactly going to baffle him. And on the home court of the Nantucket Whalers, just down the hall from his new office, he got it back in a hurry for two consecutive days … 1,500 made in about an hour and 44 minutes on Saturday, Aug. 7 (our anniversary day), and 1,500 more on Sunday, Aug. 8, in about an hour and 41 minutes.
Mike’s known for his efficiency, and he sure lived up to that.
So that’s the basketball part. The rest was the vacation part. We arrived by high-speed Ferry (an hour from Hyannis) late Friday afternoon and spent Friday night, anniversary eve, enjoying the best dinner of either of our lives at Galley Beach restaurant (We’re told Oprah called it the best place in the world to get married.), toes in the sand, like so …
That dinner was courtesy of Mike and Martha (aka The Most Gracious Hosts on the Planet), and it’s probably about now that I should tell you that Martha — third from the left in that very top photo and among the dinner slideshow photos, too — is every bit as wonderful as her husband, if not even wonderfuler. You meet her, and before knowing anything else, you’ll think two things: 1. What an incredible second- or third-grade teacher this woman would make (in fact, she recently retired from that very job, in Gilford, NH); and 2. Is anyone really that nice? The answer is yes, someone is. It’s her. For real.
I’m trying to think back on the weekend and picture a time when Martha wasn’t smiling, and damned if I can think of one. I mean, you can kind of understand feeling that way when you’ve recently retired to paradise, but even so … always that happy? Yes, always that happy.
What a couple. What a place.
Heard of The Cobbletones? It’s an acappella singing group of seven 20-something-year-old guys who, each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, perform on Main Street.
Check them out on Facebook. We stopped in for their show after dinner on Friday night, then TBH and I made a late-night stop at Brotherhood of Thieves downtown pub before calling it a night.
Saturday was breakfast in the backyard garden at our B&B, then shooting with Mike, then lunch downtown, some shopping, then another great dinner with the Cozorts in their temporary home village of Siasconset, on the eastern coast of the Island, then on to a final hour or so at The Summer House, down on the beach. On the way back through town to our B&B, we happened to cruise by the Cobbletones again, and we couldn’t resist pulling over and heard their final song or two of the night.
The weather was perfect again on Sunday, so after breakfast and shooting, TBH and I made our way to the northwestern shore of the Island, Madaket, and walked south and south and south along the beach before coming across these guys …
Those little dots in the surf, by the way, are seals (“Is that driftwood?” I asked TBH at first glance). We’d heard that we might find a few, and we also heard that where there are seals, there might just be sharks, so we made the decision not to swim in this particular spot.
Drove back to town, went east to Siasconset for one last visit at Cozort Cottage before Mike and Martha brought us back in and kindly deposited us onto the ferry, heading back to America, as they say on the Island.
Not much more to say about everything, except that we can’t wait to bring the kids next time. See you again soon, Mike and Martha. See you again soon, ACK. We miss you already.
And as for the hoops, with those 3,000 on the island and 1,000 more on Monday, we’re now at 379,507 down, 620,493 to go to 1 million made foul shots.