Bob Barsanti

Bob Barsanti

Iron and Chocolate

In the twenty-first century, storms come to Nantucket well announced and named. The first whispers come from Twitter and from our Facebook friends who read the cryptic messages from the National Weather Service.  We listen in well-earned doubt; we have heard this before.  Every season brings a new warning and a near miss.  Storms of the Century pass a well worn track to our east before bombing out in the Gulf of Maine and giving the fishes a quick spin.  “This time...” the weathermen say, “this one is different.”

We bear witness


Thomas Toolan, Juan Diaz, Greg Easton, and Lorenzo Fain.

I spend altogether too much time reading the Inquirer and Mirror.  I spread out the paper on the kitchen table and take it all in.  I count the classifieds, count the pages in the real estate section and read the article “January is a Great Time to Clean Closets.”  I even do the crossword. 

Thomas Toolan, Juan Diaz, Greg Easton, and Lorenzo Fain.

Outermost House

At the end of a winter’s day, much remains to be done.  Dishes must be clean.  Food should be wrapped and put away.  Plans are created that will fall apart in a forgotten moment.  One boy needs to be read to.  Another needs his Lego City reconstructed. 

Advocate for the Unimportant People of Nantucket

I learned about Flint Ranney’s death on the way back to the island on the slow boat.

Gun Dreams

When I was nineteen years old, I took a job as a prison guard in the Middlesex County House of Correction. At that time, the prison was an old brick structure that had built sometime around the same time as Fenway Park. My time in jail was boring for four and half days a week and exciting for about four hours. Most of the boring time crept by at the back tower. I was given a walkie-talkie, a gun, and a cup of coffee. So I sat at stared at the back wall of the prison and waited for nothing to happen. Eventually, it did.

Island Christmas

Remembering the Christmases of little boys.


The wind turned.  We went to sleep to a dirty, wet wind from the northeast.  It smeared the moon, washed over the stars, and built up on the windows.  We fell asleep in the starless dark to foghorns and the roll of distant surf.  Then, in the morning, we woke to china blue skies, frost on the marsh grass, and the over-worked growl of the Cessnas overhead. 

In the Wind of Thanksgiving

On the day before Thanksgiving, the 3:15 boat was fully booked.  The line for the 4:30 boat bent around twice and filled all the available luggage carts. The sky was lowering, clouds raced above and a spray of salt water blew over us.  Good spirits burned in small campfires; lots of luggage, lots of strollers, lots of puppies nosing their way around for a snack.  Forty guys with lunch pails stepped off the boat.  Three hundred with strollers and backpacks stepped on. 

After the Storm

After the storm, I drove the Sconset Road in search of death and destruction.  I was not looking for death--I don’t wish for anyone to die in the storm and, if they did, I certainly didn’t want to discover them. Instead, I was hoping for a few downed trees, another large bite to come from the side of the Sconset Bluff and a few millionaires' houses to get either blown down or washed out into the sea.  If winter storms could erase most of the recent development on island and sweep the landscape back to 1987, I could be happy. 

Race Car Tent

On Nantucket, the holiday season begins with the Vineyard game.  Sometime during the game, the great gray lid of winter fastens itself over the island, the wind picks up, a few flakes hit your cheeks, and its time to find the wool and seal the windows. The only tourists on island are rooting for those fellows in purple.  The stands and fences are jammed with familiar faces blowing on familiar hands and stomping familiar feet in the cold. Looks like it is just us again, doesn’t it?