Twelve Months
giggled. There was a blanket and picnic basket on the backseat, the love of my life in the passenger seat and the gas needle was on full. Life can’t get any better, I thought.
    The further inland we went, the more rural charm we experienced. I was surprised to see deer in the open pastures and horses at play. With the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, sheep farms and rolling hills were greener than I remembered. The sea breeze stinging my face made me feel young again. We stopped once at a roadside fruit and vegetable stand that still worked on the honor system. It sold jars of rose hip jelly and beautiful dried sunflowers. A coffee can was set up to receive payment. I dropped in a ten, grabbed a jar of jelly, two dried sunflowers for Bella and a colorful mix of fruit and vegetables for me.
    As we drove the winding roads, I couldn’t remember feeling more alive or carefree. With the sun beating down, though, I did remember we had to keep moving or we were going to bake.
    We finally reached Aquinnah, better known as Gayhead, and parked the car. We passed the Native Wampanoags selling their wares at cliff-top and headed for the lighthouse. From atop the hundred foot cliffs, the winds shrieked and we could hear the waves crashing into the rocks below. The foul odor of low tide took hold. I couldn’t help it. I turned to Bella and pinched my nose, “Geeze, Babe.”
    She slapped me.
    The red cliffs were smothered in thick vegetation. Fragrant rosa rugosa and beach plums grew just above the rumbling surf. It was a great spot to see lobstermen and fishing trawlers at work. I threw a quarter into the magnifying viewer and watched as a shriveled old naked couple strolled along the beach. Bella whacked my arm again. “You pervert.”
    Just then, a chubby tour guide hyperventilated his way up the hill that led to the lighthouse’s overlook. There were at least two dozen tourists in tow. Before melting into the rear of the pack, I nudged Bella and gestured that she join me. I was surprised when she did. As the man’s bus idled on the road, he explained, “Gay Head was named for the brightly colored rock formations on the one hundred-foot scenic cliffs. Home of the Wampanoag Tribe, it has also been witness to some terrible maritime accidents. Today, the grandiose lighthouse at Gay Head is still an active guide to navigation. Besides ensuring safe passage, Gay Head Lighthouse features one of the most picturesque locations on the East Coast, offering an awe-inspired view of the sound.”
    People started snapping pictures. I looked at Bella and shrugged. “I left the camera in the car,” I said.
    â€œOf course you did.” She laughed. “I’ll get it.”
    â€œOn a clear day, you can see for miles,” the guide explained. “Just below, there are several rocky coves and inlets where bass and bluefish hide. This part of the island is also one of the best places to watch the sunset on the water. This lighthouse is one of five on Martha’s Vineyard and one of three currently maintained by the Historical Society.”
    Bella returned to the group and began taking pictures. Once she’d had her fill, we headed to one of the shops and bought two tall glasses of tea that had been brewing in the morning sun. It was delicious. Bella ordered a dozen clam cakes for the ride back. They didn’t touch Flo’s.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    It was early afternoon when we reached Vineyard Haven. We pulled into one of those gaudy souvenir shops where things aren’t so cheap anymore. Everything had to be shipped over to the island, so everything was considered imported – and they charged for it. We bought two giant overpriced beach towels and headed for the shore.
    On a stretch of beach between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, I pulled over. Driftwood, broken shells, old fishing line and tattered nets that covered a cluster of rocks led us to the ideal spot. Children with their

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