Islander's Blog

Finigan’s Findings

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“Slow Down!” The bumper sticker read on the back of an old woody Jeep Wagoneer. “This ain’t the Mainland!”

Of all the Nantucket slogans, (ACK, Life is Good, 20 is Plenty in Sconset) this one has to be my favorite. I love living on this island exactly because of this. It doesn’t feel like America. There’s no Wendy’s, no Wal-Mart and no way off after 9 p.m. I wave to everyone while walking up those funny cobblestones, and beep only to say hello to fellow islanders on Federal Street. 

Over the last few months, I’ve become so at peace with being happy where I am. Some local people have said that you need to have some screws loose to stay here year-round, but I’ve found the exact opposite. I have found that all my winter friends are ambitious, mostly healthy and somewhat sane. The winter is for getting all your ducks in a row. It’s for putting together new projects, jump-starting your seasonal plans while relaxing on an island with no stoplights and nothing but a big old beautiful starry sky to check out some nights.  

Oh man, I know! I’m so positive, it’s annoying.

Well, life is too short to not have a smile on your face. So you can believe the island is ruined by “washashores” and be content as a glass half-empty kinda guy. Or you can find happiness in all the little things of every season like this Finigan does.

I’ve always been a firm believer that any place that takes a lot of effort to get to is that much more worth it when you finally arrive. No place has solidified this belief more for me than our little island. Honestly, how many times have we gotten stuck in America, cursing the fact that there’s no bridge from Sandwich to Surfside? How many boats have we been booked on that have gotten canceled due to rough water, or planes postponed because of high winds? Yes, this place is that much different from Barnstable and Boston that we just about cry when we hear about Nantucket weather delays. “I just want to get bACK!” And when our feet take those awkward three steps down off the plane at the airport, we take a deep breath to be safe and sound on the ground, inhaling that fresh Nantucket air that I just wish you could bottle for those city people.

I talk to dozens of people every day. Hey, as a bartender out here, aside from pouring the Chardonnay, I get to listen to people whine. Oh, the amount of snow you people have in Brookline and Brooklyn! Oh, the forever traffic you are constantly stuck in! Those stoplights that never turn green, and all those people who throw their glass away in their garbage! No one recycles the way you guys do in Nantucket.

When everyone told me how “hard” my first winter out here would be, well, I just sit back at the Bean and smile. No snow boots on, no down jacket zipped up, and no sign of my breath as I fall in love with the island all over again this Valentine’s Day. 

After six seasons here on Nantucket and winters on other continents and beaches, I’ve found this. I’ve chosen this island over weddings and birthday parties, over family reunions and summer family vacations. I’ve chosen Nantucket over Boston flings, Uruguayan loves, Hawaiian best friends and New Zealand life partners. I’ve chosen the Rock over Maui, Mendoza, Montevideo and Mount Maunganui. And this winter, I’ve begun to realize what makes the 02554 100 percent worth all the sacrifices. 

Because after all, this ain’t the mainland. And I’ve slowed down enough this winter to realize that’s the main reason why I love Nantucket.
– Finigan’s Findings appears regularly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

17 Responses to “Finigan’s Findings”

  1. Martie Says:

    You missed a few other bumper snickers:

    It Used To Be Nicer In Nantucket
    Nantucket Native Endangered Species
    Welcome To Nantucket Now Go Home!!

  2. Finigan's Finding Says:

    Oh Martie, I didn’t miss those ones…

    I just chose not to include them.

    Positive Is How I Live.

  3. fullglass Says:

    It’s really interesting to read this. I was stunned by the person who gave you crap last week about being a washahore. I love nantucket and am a washashore myself but after being here for 40 years I can honestly say I have had it up to here with the new arrival giddyness some of you seem to get. It is one thing if you are a kook and we, as islanders, just let it be knowing you will disappear someday. It is another if you self appoint yourself as an authority and use off islander coments to justify how and why you can live here in the winter.
    My wife (and she just did, I asked her) and friends will tell you I am a glass full man. One who has busted his butt to live here in times you will never understand. When the only tip you would see coming across the bar in winter was a comment to shut your stupid trap.
    I don’t agree with the guy that said your type ruined Nantucket but I do think you need to realize that this isn’t your own personal Disneyworld. It is very real and you are fortunate to have people paying you for handing them an overpriced glass of Chardonnay.

    When I first came here I recall hearing the Natives tell me how much they loved seeing Labor Day arrive. All the summer people left and the real people stayed. Well those times are long gone. Now annoyingly, self described optimists abound. People who enjoy rating anothers positiveness just by looking at them.

    Here’s to hoping your tip jar stays empty.

    A wife approved message.

    Wife approved. Happy everyday and she was born here.

  4. Realist Says:

    WOW…to the guy with the so called “Full Glass”

    “Native Islanders” and long time Nantucket residents have been able to keep their glass full and family fed due to the people who perpetually come to the island, fall in love with it, and continously come back. Your income stems straight from these people who spend their hard earned income in your town.

    If you are so sick of these so called optimist, shape up or ship out. Your self righteous whining is just as annoying as this writers optimism.

    Hoping someones tip jar stays empty is like hoping you lose your job. So here’s to that.

  5. fullglass Says:

    WOW and i was reminded I was being harsh by my wife ! HAHA!

    I built homes on the island for 40 years. Simple, open stud summer homes. Not the showy crap that people have built recently.
    lawns that didn’t need fertilizer and gardens that didn’t need full time attendants.

    Now that we see how much the off island money has crushed us I find content in seeing the giddyness that blinds our current residents. The Chamber of Commerce and flat out greed have made this island unbearable for many. Who do you know isn’t hurting for work this year ? Do you really believe the crap that this rag prints ? The truth will be told and you won’t read it on the Front page.
    Higher property taxes, insurance and mechanics fees are all due to these summer visitors that you cherish so much. Demanding to much and claiming islanders are to expensive. Guess what ? They are correct. The mechanic that charges too much is just as greedy as the bartender. As long as they put on a good show they will get their jars filled.
    I love Nantucket but I don’t like a writer telling me what she finds so enthralling about being here. Do you own a home here Holly ? If you did you would have an idea of what some of us mean when we provide you with our opinion.

    I am entitled to my opinion just as anyone is and I really don’t care if you can’t stomach it.

    Save your pennies people. The next crunch will hurt you even more than you will ever know.

    Ask yourself this important question. Do you know of anyone who is facing or is in bankruptcy proceedings ?

    The list grows daily and the smoke screen that blinds most of you is pathetic.

    Let’s see the next blab she comes out with will probably be about feeding the ducks.

    A little dose of reality for the UNREALISTS.

  6. Tim Merrill Says:

    Holly, I love the positivity. Keep it up.

  7. ACK ACK Says:

    Dear Fullglass,

    Maybe you should leave this island. Sounds like you’ve been here too long. Apparently you’re so up on your high horse that you find it ok to bash someone’s positive attitude about spending their first winter on Nantucket. Would you have been happier reading an article about how someone hates it here or how miserable this island is? Just because someone writes about enjoying their winter and appreciating the quiet life this island offers, doesn’t mean that they’re overlooking some of the more gloomy issues you mentioned. It’s a completely separate topic. Do you honestly think you have more value than Holly or that your opinion means more? It’s fine to disagree with someone, but to wish their tip jar stays empty and put them down because they haven’t lived here as long as you, have a different occupation than you, or decide to enjoy life and be positive (unlike you) is completely horrible and hateful. I happen to know Holly. She’s a very sweet, smart, funny, interesting person. I’m glad that she appreciates this island. I’m glad she helps others to appreciate it as well. I could listen to her beautiful thoughts for hours, but couldn’t bear listening to your hateful words for two seconds. I understand there’s a lot going on in our country and on this island, but it’s not an excuse for wishing bad things on others. I’d trade you in for a “washashore” any day. Quite frankly, YOU are the type of person that is an embarrassment to this island. And I must laugh about your name “fullglass”… hahaha!!! The only thing that is full is YOU of yourself.
    P.S.- It doesn’t matter if Holly owns a home out here or not. Does that make you better than her? I don’t think so. For the record, I own two homes out here and have built and sold several others on this island. What difference does it make? What does it have to do with anything? Why do you care about if Holly owns a home or not? Would it effect her appreciation of the beaches? Or her work ethic? I think not. This article was about HER personal experience of enjoying winter on a quiet island in New England. Plain and simple….and she wrote it well.

  8. kevin Says:

    Looks like the fullglass needs a full drink!

    Great writing Holly – we all know times are tough, and reading something positive and creative is a breath of fresh air.

    Keep it up and all the best.

  9. fullglass Says:

    ACK ACk,
    Holly and yourself hopefully can accept my apologies for being on a high horse. It won’t mean much because I believe in what I say.
    For 40 odd years I have heard the oohs and ahhs of the people that visit here and have seen many go in times of downturn. How they have all the answers about how “we” should live. What we “should” be appreciating.
    That was my point. Not to bash Holly, not to bash anyone.
    You’ll see me at the dump on Saturdays, fishing somewhere on the miles of beaches. Waiting in line fore the Ferry. Patiently hoping to get the last flight in before the weather shuts it down.
    What you won’t hear me doing is writing a blog about total nonsense. A 3rd grader could perform better. But knowing the Stantons I am not surprised they run this. More sugar and non-information coming out of 1 Milestone Road then when the car dealership was there.
    I won’t read this anymore but be sure that I am not alone. I just have enough bottle to tell you how I feel.

    I will read Goodmans bit. He knows the score.

  10. Proudnewbie Says:

    Dear HalfGlass,

    Assuming your name is referring to something other then positivity. You are what is wrong with people today. I cannot understand how someone can put down a person’s positivity. As a “newbie” to the island, Holly’s column has made me realize how lucky I am to call Nantucket my home. I am proud that I have the “new arrival giddyness” and call me crazy but I believe most people who live here would rather live with that giddyness then your negative attitude.

    PS. for someone who has such a biterness towards the newspaper and Holly you sure are devoting a lot of your time to them.

  11. AckBoater Says:

    Folks, you need to understand that the old Nantucketers (those who were born and raised here) are fiercely protective of their island. They have seen the good old days when it was a really nice place to live on Nantucket. People who have recently moved here have no idea how nice it was back in the day. A lot of people are moving here from big cities and trying to change the way we do things here. We don’t need change. It’s not broken. Please don’t try to fix us. You haven’t seen anything yet. The above comments are tame. Wait until Hate Month!

  12. Proudnewbie Says:

    Just because somebody has recently moved here does not mean they are trying to change things or fix Nantucket. Nantucket needs a lot of these newbies for the healthcare, education etc.

  13. Rita McPhee-Fusco Says:

    Full-Glass…time to go back to Math 101 to re-learn your fractions.

    Tell me… when all the tourists and “newbies” leave (or stop coming) just what WILL Nantucket do?
    Go back to WHALING???

    I’m glad you have lived there for blah blah many years… does that give you a monopoly on the island?
    You can be protective of Nantucket without the plain old nastiness! Lose the “I’ve got mine” attitude.

    Yes, I did own a home on Nantucket (doesn’t matter!) and have been supporting the island for over 30 years.
    The winter was/is one of my favorite times to be on island.
    Am I to believe that the few businesses (that remain open in the winter) really do not want or need support from anyone but Islanders?
    Take a lesson from the Downy-Flake; I am well aware that they would not crumble and fail if I didn’t spend my little breakfast money there; however, each and every visit, I am greeted with a smile (from the owner/hostess) who is not only nice, but smart enough to realize she lives in a TOURIST TOWN!

    Yes, Nantucketers are fiercely protective of their beautiful island and rightly so.
    Full-Glass, like you, I also have seen a lot of changes that displeased and saddened me, so I voted with my feet… and no longer own a home on Nantucket.

    But, I do still love and visit Nantucket… and guess what?
    Each and every time I step off the boat, I am afflicted with the same “giddiness” that Holly is enjoying…Good for you, Holly! embrace the experience.

    Full-Glass, leave Holly alone and think of doing something positive for your neighbors and the island.
    And here’s another bumper sticker for your consideration…ACK NICE!

  14. Colorado Dreamin Says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the things I miss in Nantucket…Good Times

  15. AckBoater Says:

    Some of you have only lived here 30 or 40 years? Greenhorns!!

  16. Nora Says:

    The first time I visited Nantucket was back in the 1970′s. I fell in love and I go back every chance I get. Unfortunately, personal circumstances keep me on the mainland. Although, each time I am there I feel as if the Island is mine. I know it is not. I understand how the longtime residents can feel so possessive, but that doesn’t’ excuse bad manners. The Island belongs to no one. Holly I love reading your blog, your descriptions of the Nantucket make me feel as if I am there. When my world of cookie cutter towns with a Wendy’s at every corner and traffic that causes drivers to use their cars as weapons, when crime isn’t a bi-monthly occurrence rather an every minute fact of life, I turn to things such as your blog to remind me there is a better place. In case any of your readers have forgotten that place is Nantucket. It might be time for the full glasses of Nantucket to remember why the stayed.

  17. AckBoater Says:

    The old Nantucketers have a saying. It goes like this-
    In with the tide. Out with the tide.
    They are referring to the point-rounders who come here for a few years and then leave.
    As an old Nantucketer, I have seen hundreds of point-rounders come and go with the tide.

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