Once again, the Chappy ferry has spawned a union of love. Becca and Jeff — captains both — were married last weekend. On the ferry. A beautiful sight, even to this grumpy old man, the bride and groom and their wedding party embraced within the rails of the On Time II. Congratulations to two delightful (relatively) young folk. They join past deckhands Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Mia Farrow, Woody Allen, and George and Gracie Burns in a long list of former Chappy ferry employees to have discovered the first flickers of love light boldly aboard the fabled ferry.

I am not a note taker. I don’t make lists or keep a journal or diary either. I rely instead on my memory to recall pieces of the past. Like winter clothes packed in plastic bins and forgotten for years, I occasionally make an effort to revisit these thoughts tucked away for safe keeping. But the inexorable advance of years takes a dual toll on the ease in which I can relocate and access these memories. More and more thoughts pile up, creating larger and more cumbersome stacks through which to comb, and the mind’s legs became weary with age, too — more bins to peruse, but less energy to do so. This column then becomes a helpful exercise — forcing me to reflect on events past, and sift through the folds of my memory. What happened last week, yesterday, this morning? What is newsworthy? Bins of memory get opened that might otherwise gather dust on their lids.

This process is not foolproof, however. Excellent and poignant (perhaps life-changing) memories and thoughts get overlooked, only to be recalled weeks after they have retained relevance. Sorry, Annie.

I blame Chappy partly. I find it difficult to be attentive to every detail on such a ruminative place. Like a huge oak barrel, Chappy holds its experiences and allows them to mix and age. Chappy memory is a sense in itself. Perhaps a sixth sense that combines the other five. If one concentrates with too much ardor on any individual stimulus, one tends to miss the others. Like a musical piece, Chappy is better experienced in its entirety. Once one begins to pick apart the instruments, the melody is lost. My best days on Chappy are the ones in which I allow the symphony to wash over me — the seagulls’ arguments, the sharp smell of pine, the taste of salt, the whip of the wind, the vanilla-frosted blue sky . . . all together, all at once. Packed away. Seasoned by memory and experience. Then accessed with joy.

All of which is to say that I can’t really remember what happened last week.

I do know what is upcoming, however: Halloween. Is there any better setting than Chappy for Halloween night — the dark woods, the moody unfathomable depths of the ocean, the unseen (but heard) night creatures? Like all unimaginably romantic places, Chappy can turn spooky in a moment’s notice — the isolated perch on the high bluff, night sky empty of stars is quite a different experience depending on whether one is holding one’s lover’s hand, or only a broken flashlight. For one night a year at least, Chappy gets to embrace its darkness before ceding to its beautiful light. Enjoy! Sweet dreams!

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