If one stays in one place long enough, one is bound to lose things. While you stand still, other people and things are in motion, passing through. Some forever. Sometimes one loses interest in their position, having stayed too long.

Chappy, however, will forever hold sway over me. So I come back year after year, to stand/sit/lie in places I’ve been more often than not.

But not everything remains the same. I tend to pay more attention to that which is missing than that which is. I try to stay in the present but the memories are stronger than my consciousness, muscling out thoughts of today with thoughts of yesterdays. I’ve always been more of a backward than forward dreamer — imaging and remembering memories, then embellishing them for maximum effect.

That said, it may not surprise anyone that my Chappy is rife with ghosts. Pleasant, if melancholic, ghosts. Ghosts of that which is lost, only to return in sight, sound or smell. Even those things that are not entirely lost, like bayberry bushes, become more vivid in thought than reality. They are hidden now amongst the puckerbrush, the bittersweet and the grapevines.

But there was a day when the bayberry ruled, populating almost every wild terrain. My brothers and I would gather the berries from the bushes to give to our grandmother, who would boil off their waxy coating. I’d guess it took several buckets to make one candle, but it was worth the effort if only for the delightful, lingering smell of the berries on my hands.

Mostly though, my ghosts have completely disappeared from my sight or touch. They are no more.

Many, if not all, of my ghosts presently reside on the golf course. Occasionally one will ride the nighttime ferry with me, sitting on the bench next to me, breathing in all that good dark salt air. My new camper, where I reside while on Chappy, is absent of any memory except getting rid of ants, sleeping and eating. And its location has little meaning either, being tucked into a corner unpopulated by me until now.

But on the golf course...oh, the ghosts. There are cousins and brothers laughing and screaming during nighttime hide and seek; more yelling and laughter from wiffle ball games comprised of any odd number of available kin; a young girlfriend’s soft breath exhaled in a release of the excited tension of holding hands beneath a cedar tree.

Then there are the ghosts of golf itself. My brother Kent with his red Solo cup of clear liquid and lime quarters; my father’s happiness and irritation gathered into each and every swing (someone is moving!); Kim and Bob and Jean and our marathon sessions of partners golf. Uncle Bob pausing to relieve himself in any number of quasi-private shrubbery; Grampa Ham’s friendly bullying of his adversaries; my grandmother Mary Kelley’s bourbon-scratched chuckle and leathery hands. Not all gone-gone, but all never to return.

And more recent memories of clouds and stars and night flights above as laid on the second tee, no doubt remembering...something. A remembrance of a remembrance.

I saw my aunt (my mother’s sister) Kari Amazeen last week. She was visiting Chappy, staying with her longtime dear friend Ann Floyd at her house at Tom’s Neck. I loved catching up but the newness of the surroundings created a disconnect — the “now” being so different from the “then.” Kari should be standing at the Playhouse door, in her bathing suit, rinsing her sandy feet in a tub of water before entering with a much-welcome box of Crown Pilot Crackers. That is the real Aunt Kari.

I genuinely like and care for my new friends on Chappy but I feel that I am becoming a ghost of my own making, just passing through on my way to somewhere else. I move amongst people only half there. My other half is busy re-acquainting itself with a place of calendars from hardware stores hung on pine paneling above a child’s bathing suit that harbors a couple of pounds of crushed seashells from the waves at Wasque.

So if you see me on the golf course, suddenly having paused my shuffling rush to stand still, I am most likely remembering something or someone one — trying to reconcile the past with my present. If, from your distance, you ever spot a tear, please don’t be concerned. It is simply a memory gone liquid, caressing my cheek with its release.