I kid summer people, but the truth is that we miss you, especially when the sight of your empty houses, or a frozen stretch of beach, or closed-for-the-season cafés stir memories of times past. Often a walk down winter lanes brings out the sentimental side of us. You may even feel this tug, far away as you are in your cineplexes with a choice of 14 movies, or seated before heaps of chicken vindaloo in your favorite Indian dive. Hang on! Am I talking about n ostalgia or jealousy?

Nevertheless, now that the bumper car ride of the holidays is over, we can take the time to feel a pang for absent friends and neighbors. On a recent balmy 50 degree afternoon, I walked my dog down to Sea View avenue to gaze out at the temporarily placid sound, then we rambled up again along one of the many streets with Queen Anne gables and wrap-around porches, sturdy as Roman aqueducts, and dainty as icing on wedding cakes.

I thought about my sister-at-arms Bettye Baker, who writes this column in the summertime, and lives in Pennsylvania the rest of the year. Bettye and her husband, Bill, a retired major at the Pentagon, have a house down one of these fabled O.B. lanes, theirs tucked only a few doors from the ocean, and I was reminded of how, at the end of each summer, the Bakers have me over for cocktails on the porch, which inevitably leads to a dinner invitation, which I inevitably accept.

Then there are the pink shutters of Jessica Harris’s cottage, which Huxley and I pass by daily. Nothing like a set of pink shutters closed tight against a window to remind you that someone is long MIA. Of course, Jessica will be back, probably as early as June, from Brooklyn and New Orleans, to either work on her next book or, better, having finished said book, to celebrate by raiding farmers’ markets and cooking jambalaya for friends.

Often our winter steps lead us to remembrance of those we can no longer summon in real time, teaching us the “beauty” — if that’s the mot juste — of impermanence. A recent ride along the sea and snowy tundra of East Chop brought back tableaux of a long-ago motley crew of genteel souls who called themselves the lunch bunch.

Over on the spit of beach that divides East Chop from Eastville, Betty and Brad Smith back in the early eighties built a deck over the sands. They invited friends to pack up picnic hampers and visit as often as, well, hourly. The Smiths, a retired couple from Connecticut with three grown kids and grandkids, owned that celebrated captain’s house high up where New York avenue curves around into Temahigan — white clapboard with a mansard roofline and a wrap-around lawn facing across the street to the harbor, a lawn that Betty herself used to mow well into advanced old age.

So Brad (everyone called him Kim) and Betty also owned this bit of beach, good for nothing but afternoons of summer bliss. They also constructed a pier, useful for docking boats but, more pointedly for the lunch bunch, handy for walking out beyond the sharply pebbled beach and slipping into the water via ladder for hassle-free swimming.

Now here comes an old bubble from ancient recall: Marty and were I dog-paddling one day along the pier. To our leeward side, a creature materialized straight out of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was the size of a mini dorm fridge, with the gray-pink rubbery flesh of uncooked seafood stripped from its shell. Its head morphed from a globby body in the shape of an old-time Victrola.

We eased our dog-paddle to a halt, nearly sinking as the sea galoot glided before our astonished eyes. It passed beneath the shadows of the dock and . . . disappeared.

“What was that?” I breathed to Marty, as if this comedy writer from the Bronx were well boned-up on marine biology 101.

“I don’t know,” he said at last, “but I’m glad it didn’t eat us! Let’s head to shore!”

And so we regrouped with the lunch bunch, passing carrot cake around, sampling Betty’s potato salad, and Heather Munson’s smoked bluefish on Ritz crackers, and Nita and Byron’s platter of sun-oozed cheese, and Aunt Ginny’s slices of watermelon. During the lunch hour, many more people would come and go, speaking of Michelangelo (sorry, couldn’t resist). More likely we spoke of things insular, the regatta that would soon streak forth at the boom of a cannon from Vineyard Haven, Barbara Block’s granddaughter arriving for the weekend, gingersnap cookies reminding Betty of Nita baking them and passing them around on the afternoon before the Big Blow of ’38.

Looks like my memory of Betty shook loose one of hers from much further back. Funny how that works.

Lots of activity at Featherstone Center for the Arts, with three courses lined up for the very near future. For the first, you may bring a photo and learn how to translate it into an acrylic or oil painting on canvas, taught by Kenneth Vincent, offered on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. The cost is $30. A second class is Fun Drawing Lessons with Nancy Blank, this provided on two sets of Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $35. The third tutorial is One on One Sessions with Featherstone Artist/Teachers to Review Artwork. To learn more about courses and to inquire about the Artists Collection Show in February, call 508-693-1850 (wow, that one you can just memorize!) or log on to featherstoneart.org.