If I did my job right,
a lot of you are going to recognize
at least two of these
ladies of Menemsha.
The one in the middle is my favorite, Jane Slater.
This is the fortieth year for the shop that she and her husband Herb
have owned in the little fishing village on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Her dear sweet swordfisherman of a partner Herb
was called to the fleet in heaven
a couple years ago,
and their even sweeter companion of a pup Lucy
soon thereafter to be by his side…
she’s a Yankee through and through,
and the island needs her
around for a good long while yet,
thank you very much.
But…40 years of being a shop-owner,
behind that desk, that chapter is about to close.
The sign comes down when the leaves start to drop this fall.
40 years of telling everyone who walks in that she’d be happy to answer any questions,
while Herb puttered back behind the curtain,
and Lucy’s tail could be heard thumping at his side,
and the good folk of the island wandered in and out,
only the truest among them
being offered that one extra chair
for a set-a-spell chat.
Some of my fondest memories of spending time with Ted
were the visits we made there.
Ted got the seat.
The three of them, Jane, Herb and Ted
had a lifetime of island stories to tell,
and my heart aches with the desire,
for one more afternoon of just listening to them pull on a good yarn.
I painted this mostly for me.
So that I could invite her into my studio,
so far away from that island…
to spend some time
sitting in the chair by my easel,
and listen to more of her stories
as I tried to capture
the elusive sparkle
in those beautiful eyes
in that smile
at the edge
of her heart.