Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
April 30, 2015
I’ve seen my wife worshipful, utterly transported, a few times in my life. Once in the cathedral at Chartres, and now, many years later, again, at the Baltimore Aquarium, where, beckoned by her hands, which she’d pressed against the glass, a dolphin gliding by faced around and came ever so slowly toward her, smiling, her eyes seeming to say, “I know you.”

I’ve seen my wife worshipful, utterly transported, a few times in my life. Once in the cathedral at Chartres, and now, many years later, again, at the Baltimore Aquarium, where, beckoned by her hands, which she’d pressed against the glass, a dolphin gliding by faced around and came ever so slowly toward her, smiling, her eyes seeming to say, “I know you.”

David E. Rattray
April 30, 2015
The phone rang from home early Tuesday morning. I was at the office, and Lisa was home getting Ellis, our 5-year-old, ready for school. The subject of breakfast had come up, and Ellis was adamant.

The phone rang from home early Tuesday morning. I was at the office, and Lisa was home getting Ellis, our 5-year-old, ready for school. The subject of breakfast had come up, and Ellis was adamant.

“I don’t want a croissant from Starbucks; I want it from Pierre’s,” he said, prompting Lisa to call me to find out just who was spoiling our child.

Helen S. Rattray
April 23, 2015
Everyone loses things. Right? So why was I in such a tizzy when my purse, containing a wallet and the usual appurtenances, disappeared last week?

Everyone loses things. Right? So why was I in such a tizzy when my purse, containing a wallet and the usual appurtenances, disappeared last week? My husband said I was probably reading too much into it, taking it as a sign of aging. But no, I insisted, the whole episode was getting to me for some other reason that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first.

Jack Graves
April 23, 2015
We’re changing medical insurers again, as happens every year about this time, and of course the squeeze continues.

We’re changing medical insurers again, as happens every year about this time, and of course the squeeze continues. Greg and I are counting the days until our spouses qualify for Medicare, as he and I did some time ago.

Morgan McGivern
April 23, 2015
Sometime during this winter past, quizzical surfers considered a long-asked question: If the saltwater in the Atlantic Ocean is close to freezing temperature, technically partially frozen, can one still surf?

Water temperature, 37 to 40 degrees, variable; air temperature, 33 to 41 degrees, variable; snow, two to three inches expected during daylight hours. Gray rain bands, long as the imagination, are in clear view off the coastline of Montauk, New York. The land is an iceberg of sorts — so cold.

David E. Rattray
April 23, 2015
The last time I looked, I was getting 100 miles to the gallon. This is not entirely fair to the purely internal combustion vehicles on the road, though, since we are talking about my Chevy Volt.

The last time I looked, I was getting 100 miles to the gallon. This is not entirely fair to the purely internal combustion vehicles on the road, though, since we are talking about my Chevy Volt. As the name implies, it runs mostly on electricity from massive batteries, turning to its small gas generator when the stockpiled power drains down.

Helen S. Rattray
April 15, 2015

Robert Frost would, I think, find it ironic that the most often repeated line from his poem “Mending Wall” is his neighbor’s insistence that “good fences make good neighbors.” The poet, you see, doesn’t really seem to agree. He says:

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder    
If I could put a notion in his head: 
Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it 
Where there are cows? 
But here there are no cows.

Jack Graves
April 15, 2015

It seemed reading the paper the other morning that all was chaos, and yet . . . and yet the baseball season had begun!

And, somehow — for that moment at any rate — everything seemed all right, everything seemed natural, and fitting, and harmonious — just as it should be.

And, what’s this, the Mets won!

And what’s this, the Yankees lost!

On opening day. The lowly raised up and the mighty fallen — just as it should be.

Carissa Katz
April 15, 2015

Nearing the end of a hard winter with little in the budget for luxuries, my husband and I decided to take the family on a day-and-a-half side trip to Disney World while visiting my grandmother in Florida.

I was leery of it and practically begged my husband to put it out of his mind until another time, and then I caved. Ever budget-conscious, I figured we’d just have to bite the bullet, get out the plastic, and nurse the spending hangover later.

David E. Rattray
April 15, 2015

To be fair, Leo the pig did not actually try to burn down the house. I was not there at the time, but the evidence suggests that it was an unintentional act born of utter need.

Helen S. Rattray
April 8, 2015

What I remember most about going to see Frank Sinatra perform in New York City is the smell of lily of the valley perfume. I must have been at least 14 because if I had been younger my parents would not have let me go, joining a batch of girls who took a bus from Bayonne to Jersey City’s Journal Square and then the Hudson Tubes to the city.

Jack Graves
April 8, 2015

“You’re quite the tennis player,” my younger opponent said the other night.

Well, I would like to think so, but there’s much to do. Several times recently I’ve felt I was on the brink of mastering my serve, only to be disabused. Tim Ross says he has that got-it-nailed feeling with his golf swing at times only to have it vanish the next time out.

Christine Sampson
April 8, 2015

I visited the Wainscott School last Monday, and just like its 19 students do there every day, I learned something new.

David E. Rattray
April 8, 2015

Columbia Journalism Review’s lengthy analysis of “A Rape on Campus,” a 2014 Rolling Stone article that was largely based on allegations that could not be verified, is an education for everyone who works in the news business as well as for readers.

Helen S. Rattray
April 1, 2015

Although we all know that language is constantly changing, that the English we use today is quite different from what it was in Shakespeare’s time, I can’t help wondering where certain words and phrases come from and how they become ubiquitous. Like others who write or edit, I keep my eyes and ears open, and I am not always happy about what I read or hear.

Jack Graves
April 1, 2015

In the predawn hours before the boys basketball state final last week, I began thinking of possible headlines, assuming, of course, that the eight-time-champion Killer Bees would win a ninth title. Which they did, in fine fashion.

“Bees on Cloud Nine”

“Bees Swarm to the Task”

“Beeline Made to Title”

“Bees Awake and Sting”

“How the Once Mighty Are Pollen”

“Apidi, Apidae . . . How the Rout Goes On”

Janis Hewitt
April 1, 2015

Since my children are grown and moved out of the house, the Easter Bunny will not be visiting this year. But that’s okay because my dog, Brodie, is as soft and cuddly as any bunny rabbit. When he stands on his hind legs, as he tends to do when he’s feeling nosey, and looks out our front window to see what’s going on in the neighborhood, he’s as tall as the real Easter Bunny that visited the Montauk Firehouse on Sunday.

David E. Rattray
April 1, 2015

Yes, to school. Our son, Ellis, and his prekindergarten classmates have been studying animals, with the usual parade of bunnies, a service dog, a lizard, and a small fuzzy creature of a sort Ellis could not quite identify. Leo would fit right in, his teachers said, and I could not refuse.

Getting Leo ready for his big outing was no small task. First there was the matter of finding a harness that would fit his un-canine-like proportions. Then there was the issue of making him presentable.

Helen S. Rattray
March 25, 2015

It takes courage and tremendous power of persuasion to convince the electorate, and the powers-that-be, that the general consensus on a matter of public policy is wrong. Kevin McAllister and Mike Bottini showed that courage when they filed a lawsuit last week to try to stop the construction by the Army Corps of Engineers of a 3,100-foot-long and 50-foot-wide revetment along the ocean beach at Montauk. I’m not so sure about their powers of persuasion.

Jack Graves
March 25, 2015

We were sitting on a narrow, pleasantly crowded fine-sand beach in Naples, Fla., the other day, reading our books under an umbrella as walkers paraded by, one of whom caught my eye, wearing as he was black shorts and his long black hair tied back.

What made him come up to us I forget, though it seemed apt. I told him I was reading a book on Zen Buddhism, and he said that that was good, and that — according to Mary’s recall — he liked to propound too much to be a Buddhist.

T.E. McMorrow
March 25, 2015

Her: Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.
    Him: No you can’t.
    Her: Yes I can.
    Him: No you can’t.
    Her: Yes I can.

David E. Rattray
March 25, 2015

It was difficult last week for me not to go down into a historical rat hole while working on a story about how the East Hampton Library had recently completed the digitization and cataloging of a long-sought collection of papers from Montauk’s early days.

I encourage anyone interested in such things to take a look at the library’s website, under the Long Island History-Digital Long Island tab. From there, one can find a link to the Proprietors of Montauk Collection (Arthur W. Benson Papers) and on to thumbnail images of the remarkable holdings.

Helen S. Rattray
March 18, 2015

An osprey apparently forgot that he was supposed to be headed north in time for the first day of spring, or Fish Hawk Day, as old-timers here call it. Instead he hovered over Lake Arenal — a surprise greeting on our first afternoon in Costa Rica.

Jack Graves
March 18, 2015

While I pay our bills every month, I tend not to follow through with the controversial kind, leaving those annoying back-and-forth agons to Mary, who the other day held my feet to the fire when a hefty one from Southampton Hospital came in.

Over all, I think it came to $34,000 or so — for a few hours in the emergency room and an overnight stay. The insurance company paid some of it, but that left about $6,000 as the insured’s responsibility.