The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
By Larry Schrader
News, Views and Comments from a South Bass Cottager…
It always seems to catch me by surprise. I know it is coming, but year after year, it happens – that first cold, wet, miserable, all-day-rain, can’t go outside kind of day. The air is heavy, the wind is brisk, the chill seems to go right through whatever I’m wearing. It almost seems like it could snow!
The tiny heaters, scattered around the cottage, whir constantly. I search for my jeans, stuffed in the back of the closet, abandoned there since early-May. My usual cottage uniform; wrinkled shorts, a tattered tee-shirt, and flip-flops; gives way to sweatshirts over multiple layers of whatever I can find. Socks feel strange, shoes, long pants. I didn’t expect this cold, this soon.
I sit for a while, looking out at the Lake, contemplating my next move, the day. It is quiet, only an occasional boat passes. Nature is moving in, ready to take over for the cold Winter ahead. Poking through the freezer, I find a hearty roast, perfect to warm up for an early dinner.
Usually, Mrs. Larry will seize this opportunity to abandon ship – escaping to our mainland home and the comforts of central heating and cable TV. She has already boxed and bundled a car full of items to store in the warmth of the mainland basement until Spring. She will insist that she is just more organized than me. Truth is, she is just less intrigued by the solitude that accompanies the cold. She can not be tempted by my hot roast beef or home-made soups – she’s on the next ferry!
So, I find myself alone, just the sound of the rain tapping steadily on the roof. I settle into a soft chair to read – news, a magazine, mail, the accumulation of stuff set aside for a rainy day. Eventually, I venture out to the garage. Like the cottage, it feels different. During warm weather, the doors are open. It is bright, airy. I can see the busy Lake to the West and a usually bustling street to the East. Now, it has a different personality. I turn on the light over the messy workbench and sit on the red stool to survey my supplies for closing the cottage: Anti-freeze for the pipes is stacked in the corner; extra rags and buckets are piled by the door; gas-treatment and tools to winterize the golf cart are next to my tackle box; the air compressor, pumps and hoses, and the long extension cord sit on the floor, waiting. It will be a couple weeks until I lock up for the year, but it is days like this that remind me to get ready, that another season is about to pass.
Neighboring cottages are dark. Most have already left for the year; the few remaining weekenders are back at their real-world jobs; and those that remain seem to have abandoned the West Shore, at least for a day.
The day grows colder, the wind and rain persist, it seems darker. Now, back inside, it feels cozy, comforting – the strange emptiness, the gloom is gone. The day passes quickly; I pack a few boxes, tidy up the closet and spare room, then turn my attention to dinner; it will be dark before six. I am drawn to the big chair by the window. Out over the Lake, a few birds fly low, just above the water. I watch …
An acorn falls from the old oak and bounces loudly from the roof and clanks into the aluminum gutter – it shakes me from my trance. I should check on dinner, but I notice the wind has changed, the horizon to the West seems brighter. So first, I take a peek at the weather forecast, wondering when this rain will finally end, how long will this cold hang around. What? Sunny and 70s by the end of the week!
Where did I put those flip-flops?
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