My coffee maker broke last Monday. This meant, and this comes as no surprise to those of you who know me, I had to make the 5:45 a.m. run to Cumberland Farms in my pink and red long-suffering pajama pants and my new fuzzy slippers for a couple of large black coffees. I pride myself on wearing my pajama pants until they are threadbare enough to see through.
This trip set me to thinking about what it’s like to live on an island. I know this particular island is only about seven or eight miles from the mainland, but you still need a plane or a boat to get here. Unless you’re Jesus, of course, or maybe the Flying Nun.
Anyway, my trip to Cumberland Farms (affectionately known as Cumby’s in these parts) was a bit of an eye-opener. First of all, the only two women there were me and the cashier. We were also the only two not wearing rubber boots. There were about a dozen men in varying degrees of he-man wear milling around the coffee counter – and I need to say that Cumby’s coffee is probably better than what you find at half the restaurants here and costs about half the price, so if you ever find yourself stranded on this particular island, stop by.
So, I am always impressed by he-man undertakings: fishing, building things, making popsicle stick sculptures; hence, married to an upholsterer who thinks nothing of rebuilding sofas or old antique chairs fit for a fat lady to sit on. These Cumby’s men were sporting the dirtiest, crappiest jeans, jackets, shorts and boots that I’ve seen since leaving upstate New York. Made me downright lonesome for the place.
I dutifully waited in line behind a guy wearing what at one time must have been white rubber boots up to his knees with shorts and a grimy ball cap. He grabbed a handful of Snickers bars and turned his head when somebody shouted, “Hey, Cap’n, we need more water on board?”
That’s right, “Cap’n.” Who lives in a place where people are actually addressed as Cap’n? Seriously.
“Nah,” says Cap’n, “we’ll grab some at Stop & Shop when we get to Nantucket.”
“Okay, sounds good,” says who could only have been a lowly crew member.
Cap’n grabbed his candy and coffee and headed out the door only to be hailed by another coffee drinker delighted to run into him.
“How they runnin, Cap’n?” says an impressed and equally dirty-clothed, rubber-footed coffee guy.
“Ah, ain’t hit nothin’ striped yet,” Cap’n says. “A little albie and a coupla blues is all.”
“Ah, well good luck to ya,” says dirty coffee guy.
“And to you,” says the polite Cap’n.
Now, I felt a little like a kinsman to these early morning risers. I felt like I might go take a stroll around the wharf or maybe buy a cup of lobster bisque out of Menemsha for dinner that night. Going home with my two capped cups of morning sunrise just didn’t seem right. I felt like I should maybe ask them if I could go on the boat with them. I’ve always wanted to see Nantucket. God knows I’m always game for a trip to Stop & Shop.
But of course I didn’t. A large woman wearing pink see-through pajama pants with red sheep jumping over a fence on them and brown furry slippers approaching might not be a welcome sight, so I took my two large coffees home, thinking the whole way that I was this close to being a character in The Shipping News.
I bought another coffee maker a few days later, thereby ending my mornings at Cumby’s, but it was fun while it lasted.
Let's get in the mood....