by Frederick Egan Castleberry
Preppies love nature and trekking to remote locations. As a rule of thumb, the farther and more inconvenient the locale, the more gratifying the experience. If you're driving, it has to take at least three hours. Have to take a ferry? Even better. We secretly wear this degree of difficulty as a badge of honor.
By these standards, Chappaquiddick is the preppiest place in New England. Eagle Scout merit badges should be awarded upon one's arrival. And that's exactly where I end up after a seven hour bus ride and two ferries. That's right—two. See, Chappaquiddick, or Chappy to the regulars, is an even smaller island off the small island of Martha's Vineyard. It is only when I arrive that I realize I'm standing on the edge of Heaven.
Once I shake off the nine hour journey with the help of a Del's Lemonade, I'm ready to catch up with my old pal Kiel James Patrick. I'm here for the holiday weekend because Kiel thinks I need a respite from the city. I think he's right. My back shoulders a 50 lbs. pack with enough supplies for a week (be prepared!—Boy Scout motto). I'm sleeping outside for the weekend.
The Chappy compound is teeming with the young KJP team, summer interns, and guests of guests. My tent proves to be my only reprieve from the hive of activity buzzing well into each morning. It comes at a price though. Friday night quickly turns into me versus the fringes of Hurricane Arthur. The following morning proves me the victor but Arthur's howl and spit affords me little shut eye.
Me: 1 Nature: 0.
The intoxicating wild innocence of youth instantly teleports me back to when that floral crown graced my own head. Eighteen, nineteen...years of wonder, naïveté, and endless hope. Years no one will ever be able to give back to them (or myself), it is at the same time bittersweet and a gentle reminder to seize every day, every moment, for what it truly is. With that revelation, we all pile into the outdoor shower to capture just that...a moment, wild and innocent.