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Whims and Needles


  What a great day. I made some progress in getting Dan squared away in his impending adult life without school, and I met up with a group of women under the umbrella of what is more commonly known as “Pints and Purls.” 
  I may have discovered the best thing since gooey butter cake: a group of women sitting around a table at a dimly lit pub drinking cocktails and pints while they knit and crochet. This is genius. 
First of all, it beats sitting on the couch by myself getting mad at CNN’s election coverage while I drink my green tea with truvia. Secondly, it meant that I met women (funny women) who might be able to teach me a thing or two about needlework. One of the women finished an infinity scarf right there at the table and wore it home. That’s progress.    Another lady was using about 18 knitting needles to make a pair of gloves that were so fine that I’m pretty sure a 17th-century princess could have worn them. 
  And I completely forgot to mention that there was salad with goat cheese followed by cheesecake dripping with strawberry sauce and a nice apple crisp on the table. Please. There’s really not much else a girl like me could ask for. Except maybe an Al Pacino movie from the 70s playing at the same time. 
While I was at the pub I kept thinking: Is this real? Can I really drink a Guinness, listen to town gossip, get out of the house in February (Martha’s Vineyard is a bit quiet about now), and crochet at the same time? Answered prayers really.
People think summer on “the Vineyard” is fantastic. For me, winter on the Vineyard is nirvana. I drove home from Pints and Purls at 9 p.m. and passed maybe ten cars in the opposite lane on my 15-minute ride home. I was driving down what we call “the beach road,” where I could look out at the black ocean while I made my way home. 
  My drive was peaceful and dark and my crocheting was pretty awesome too. Since I’m near the end of my afghan number three, meant for my amazing husband who puts up with my every whim, crazy idea, and complaint, I was wondering what fancy needlework these ladies could help me with next.
I’m seriously considering bringing my knitting to them. I know, I know, I’m too uptight and my stitches are a bit stiff, but I just can’t let it go. I want to be a successful knitter. I feel like I can’t really be a proper New Englander without knowing how to knit. (Did I mention that I’m 54?)
  I have visions of the Peabody sisters, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Little Women. They all probably wore knitted winter coats and had freshly plucked chickens for dinner. Living here can be a little strange. My mind is always someplace between whaling ships and $80 hoodies for sale in souvenir shops. 
  This is not a place for the faint of heart. You’re looking at an exorbitant amount of rent, $10 for a pound of coffee, winter storms that batter and close roads, a seasonal economy, a terrible lack of affordable housing, and a weird perception that features movie stars, top political advisors, authors, and let’s just say a whole bunch of Harvard-Yale-Princeton smart people dining in our little restaurants and picking up a pizza slice at the Chilmark Store. Not to be confused with Alley’s General Store, which by the way is open year round. When it’s January, they don’t care if you’re the only person in the store and you’re buying a pack of Bubblicious, they’re just glad to see you.
It’s quite something, this island. It’s almost parallel to the rest of world right now. Some of us long for a slow pace and a quiet life. Others want everything yesterday. I’ll take a black coffee with a little milk and a little conversation.

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