Yesterday and Today
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I found a photo of my pal Del Wynn at the dump. Del has been dead now for too many years and is someone I miss with great frequency. He would have liked the idea that I just happened to look down as I was tossing my trash into a bin and there it was, protected in a plastic jacket. I think it was something that was made up for a fundraiser we threw at the Muse when he was battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease a few years ago.
The photo shows him after one of the road races that he loved so much. In all the time I knew him, Del never told me whether he was a good runner or not. He could talk for a long time about the fun he had rubbing shoulders with the likes of Billy Rogers and Joan Benoit Samuelson. He had more than a few stories about our mutual friend, running guru and legendary Boston bartender Tommy Leonard.
Del liked two things about running. He liked the actual physical feeling of running and he liked the fellowship he found at races. In the late 1970s, road running was a very laid back affair. And he would often shake his head at today’s running world.
Del’s photo showed up just as the people from a group called the Urban Land Institute arrived on island. They are the guests of ReMain Nantucket, here to help them focus their mission. They are gathering input to try and put together a strategy to shore up a sense of community along Main Street. They should all be given this photo of Del Wynn.
That is not because I think the hippie days of the early 1970s are any sort of ideal. I do not. It is to remind them that the only reason to chase community is the desire for fellowship. It is a word that seems out of place these days, like something you might hear in church, but it is at the center of this thing we call community.
The problem with ideas like fellowship and community is that their meaning depends on whom you ask. The tides wash over this place and change our perceptions, until we are not sure whose hazy past we should keep in mind as we try to go forward.
- By John Stanton