Bob Barsanti

Bob Barsanti

Body Surfing

The only athletic skill I have been able to teach my sons is body surfing.  I have only the smiling patience of my friends to encourage me on the golf course.  I only run when chased by police or zombies.  Skiing, in my dotage, has become a manner of a long controlled fall down the mountain, interrupted by the occasional turns and sitzmarks. 


Classrooms were not made for June; they were made for November. In the fall, the wind whips in off the North Atlantic and the kids run to the warmth and light of the school.  From the window, they watch the scallopers motor out into the purple overcast and the white flecked harbor and they thank their lucky stars for literary terms and the FOIL method.


Close friends of mine are lucky enough to live in one of the right addresses.  As a result, nine months out of the year they have no neighbors within a well struck two iron.  In the summer, the street is a hive of activity.  They tell a funny story of the new Nantucket.  As the story goes, a new owner was visiting the house next to them and stopped by for a conversation.  It was very brief; “We are going to grow the hedge two more feet.  You’re swing-set is too loud.”

Memorial Day

Memorial Day comes to the island with spinnaker set and a red hat; war has drifted far from our shores in this late May. We have no draft lotteries or volunteer musters anymore, nor does anyone burn their draft cards or escape to Canada.  The National Guard barely touches down at the airport, the Peace Vigils have been canceled, and the V.F.W. Hall remains a half created dream.  The End of History came with a Mount Gay and tonic.

Clinging like a daffodil, thriving like a daffodil

My son went surfing yesterday.  The swells in May are generally fairly gentle, but the water remains in the winter fifties.  With the southwesterly winds, the beach has given up its cliff and has picked up the scallop shape and sandbars of the summer.  He borrowed a dry suit and a board, rode out to a deserted beach with his friends, and spend the afternoon attempting to ride in to shore. 

Spring Peepers

I am waiting for the peepers.

In our backyard, a small wetlands fills with the loud little amphibians once spring has started.  As soon as they get the first few warm nights, the frogs will start peeping to one another.  One little peeper makes the toot of a child's whistle.  A thousand of them drown out the Cape Air planes.

March Knitting

In March, the table has given up.  Newspapers are stacked at one end, each filled with half finished crosswords and hiding parrots.  The bills accrete at the other end.  Popcorn and Cheerios punctuate the rug below it, while two of the lights in the chandelier are still working.  It is a month of dirty glasses, sweatpants, and crumbs.  We can’t find the remote, we can’t find anything on TV and we don’t want to open the shades. 


Last week, I saw the new report cards that many schools are sending out. It was a four page booklet, where each subject was represented by a set of boxes and each row was labeled with the numbers and letters for each Common Core strand.  3.RIT.5 was going to be a bear for my students to master. I have seen the future and it looks like computer error code.

Beers and a Cupcake

Last week, after several exciting winter storms, I made my way out to Sconset to take stock of the damage.  For all the wind and water, winter storms don’t tend to create any surprises.  Easy Street Basin floods up over the bulkhead and makes a hash of the bricks.  Eel grass and other ocean trash moves onto the parking lots and driveways.  Jetties Beach floods, elm trees fall, and the drifts block the Milestone Road..  The wind does howl and the ice does rattle, but most of the damage is predictable.  We know where to take pictures.