Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
July 21, 2016
“Old age should burn and rave at close of day,” Dylan Thomas said, and so I’m playing tennis this evening with the Wednesday group — 16, sometimes 20 of us doing battle in the waning light.

“Old age should burn and rave at close of day,” Dylan Thomas said, and so I’m playing tennis this evening with the Wednesday group — 16, sometimes 20 of us doing battle in the waning light.

Come back with your racket or upon it, I imagine Mary saying. 

Durell Godfrey
July 21, 2016
I was stuck in traffic, going west — on that part of Montauk Highway that slows down after Stephen Hand’s Path and before the way off the highway to take the back road.

I was stuck in traffic, going west — on  that part of Montauk Highway that slows down after Stephen Hand’s Path and before the way off the highway to take the back road. 

David E. Rattray
July 21, 2016
The osprey are not the first birds to wake up and start carrying on. Near Gardiner’s Bay in Amagansett in the minutes before dawn, when there is only a scattering of light in the east, birds I cannot name by their voices alone twitter from the scrub oak.

The osprey are not the first birds to wake up and start carrying on. Near Gardiner’s Bay in Amagansett in the minutes before dawn, when there is only a scattering of light in the east, birds I cannot name by their voices alone twitter from the scrub oak.

Helen S. Rattray
July 14, 2016
How was it possible to have attended all my high school’s football games and learned nothing about the game? As you might surmise, I was simply interested in other things — boys, for example. I was more attracted to the ones who played basketball. Besides, the only reason I went to all those football games was not because I was a fan but because I was a drum majorette.

How was it possible to have attended all my high school’s football games and learned nothing about the game? As you might surmise, I was simply interested in other things — boys, for example. I was more attracted to the ones who played basketball. Besides, the only reason I went to all those football games was not because I was a fan but because I was a drum majorette.

Jack Graves
July 14, 2016
Mary’s been transforming our house lately, at least transforming it to the extent that it can be transformed.

Mary’s been transforming our house lately, at least transforming it to the extent that it can be transformed. 

T.E. McMorrow
July 14, 2016
So, I did it. With help from a kind, generous friend in Montauk, I got another car. Not a 240, but a Subaru, 2001 Forester. Had about 80,000 miles on it. Nice.

So, I did it. With help from a kind, generous friend in Montauk, I got another car. Not a 240, but a Subaru, 2001 Forester. Had about 80,000 miles on it. Nice.

David E. Rattray
July 14, 2016
It turns out that sea robin are fine to eat. Very fine, in fact, which is good, since my son, Ellis, has suddenly become a fishing fanatic. Sea robin have taken over the shallows near our house on Gardiner’s Bay, and for a kid just learning to cast a rod, they hit the lure with satisfying dependability and put up just enough fight to be interesting. There also seems to be an inexhaustible supply.

It turns out that sea robin are fine to eat. Very fine, in fact, which is good, since my son, Ellis, has suddenly become a fishing fanatic. Sea robin have taken over the shallows near our house on Gardiner’s Bay, and for a kid just learning to cast a rod, they hit the lure with satisfying dependability and put up just enough fight to be interesting.

Helen S. Rattray
July 7, 2016
My Uncle Herman, the baby among my mother’s siblings who is well into his 90s now, took me to Lindy’s, the midtown Manhattan restaurant, when I was about 13 for a lobster.

My Uncle Herman, the baby among my mother’s siblings who is well into his 90s now, took me to Lindy’s, the midtown Manhattan restaurant, when I was about 13 for a lobster.

Jack Graves
July 7, 2016
I just read in one of the local papers that there was a U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 1996.

I just read in one of the local papers that there was a U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 1996. 

“There was no U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 1996,” I said, with finality, to Baylis Greene. “There was one in 1986. . . . I should know.” 

I rolled my eyes and smiled wanly as I said so, which, of course, elicited a wan smile from him. 

Baylis Greene
July 7, 2016
The back of the hardcover of “Christine” that my 13-year-old daughter is reading is taken up entirely by a photo from 1982 showing Stephen King sitting on the hood of a vintage Plymouth in the mouth of what looks like a service bay. His spread collar is indeed spread, his sleeves are manfully rolled up, his zip-up leather boots, prominently displayed, are well traveled. Despite the rabbity Down East grin, was the weirdo ever cooler?

The back of the hardcover of “Christine” that my 13-year-old daughter is reading is taken up entirely by a photo from 1982 showing Stephen King sitting on the hood of a vintage Plymouth in the mouth of what looks like a service bay. His spread collar is indeed spread, his sleeves are manfully rolled up, his zip-up leather boots, prominently displayed, are well traveled.

David E. Rattray
July 7, 2016
The East Hampton Town Police Department’s official Twitter account reported Monday night that traffic was tied up and creeping westbound out of downtown Montauk following the Fourth of July fireworks. No surprise — people tend to get up and go right after the show ends, no matter that their hurry gains them only a place in a slow queue.

The East Hampton Town Police Department’s official Twitter account reported Monday night that traffic was tied up and creeping westbound out of downtown Montauk following the Fourth of July fireworks.

Helen S. Rattray
June 30, 2016
Shotaro Mori, a bassoonist who joined the South Fork Chamber Orchestra for the Choral Society of the Hamptons concert at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor last weekend, was among the freelance musicians for whom choristers played host. Mr. Shotaro and a young cellist spent two nights with us between rehearsals, and he became an overwhelmingly welcome guest.

Shotaro Mori, a bassoonist who joined the South Fork Chamber Orchestra for the Choral Society of the Hamptons concert at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor last weekend, was among the freelance musicians for whom choristers played host. Mr. Shotaro and a young cellist spent two nights with us between rehearsals, and he became an overwhelmingly welcome guest.

Jack Graves
June 30, 2016
I’ve been accommodating myself to death for a while now, but today I was actually wishing for it when I read that they’re not only to play the U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 2018, but also in 2026.

I’ve been accommodating myself to death for a while now, but today I was actually wishing for it when I read that they’re not only to play the U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 2018, but also in 2026.

Mark Segal
June 30, 2016
It wasn’t a hairpiece. Or a toupee. It was a full-blown wig, a helmet of synthetic hair that I kept on a Styrofoam wig stand in a corner of my loft where nobody but my wife would see it.

It wasn’t a hairpiece. Or a toupee. It was a full-blown wig, a helmet of synthetic hair that I kept on a Styrofoam wig stand in a corner of my loft where nobody but my wife would see it. 

David E. Rattray
June 30, 2016
A recipe in The New York Times for shrimp broiled with honey and hot pepper caught my eye the other day, and as I read it, it occurred to me that the approach would be worth trying on sea robin. Yes, sea robin.

A recipe in The New York Times for shrimp broiled with honey and hot pepper caught my eye the other day, and as I read it, it occurred to me that the approach would be worth trying on sea robin. Yes, sea robin.

Helen S. Rattray
June 23, 2016
Three generations of Rattrays have enjoyed the old house I live in, which, as you might guess, is both awfully nice and, at least on occasion, headache-inducing. I like to say that this or that treasure “came with the house” when someone asks about a vase or a chair, but I also find myself worrying about who has saved what and whose responsibility it is to do something about repairs and storage and suchlike.

Three generations of Rattrays have enjoyed the old house I live in, which, as you might guess, is both awfully nice and, at least on occasion, headache-inducing.

Jack Graves
June 23, 2016
I told our eldest daughter that she was living in northwestern Ohio the Suburban Dream, which she knows.

I told our eldest daughter that she was living in northwestern Ohio the Suburban Dream, which she knows. 

It’s quiet, it’s safe, her two athletic sons are moving every moment, and the houses — the ones in Perrysburg’s historic district, anyway — remind you of Sag Harbor’s architecture, frozen in time, pleasing to the eye. 

Christine Sampson
June 23, 2016
I’ll admit it: I enjoy show tunes. Listening gives me great joy, and I particularly like breaking out into song with a selection from a favorite musical. Be it Broadway hits like “Rent,” “Chicago,” or “Wicked,” I’ve been known to belt out a number or two. But only when appropriate, for instance when I’m alone, like in my car or in the shower, or when it’s clearly okay to make a ridiculous spectacle of yourself, like at a karaoke night at a bar. Since when is that a crime?

I’ll admit it: I enjoy show tunes. Listening gives me great joy, and I particularly like breaking out into song with a selection from a favorite musical. Be it Broadway hits like “Rent,” “Chicago,” or “Wicked,” I’ve been known to belt out a number or two.

David E. Rattray
June 23, 2016
It is strawberry time again, which means time to think about putting up some preserves from the local crop. But the way things go, South Fork strawberries are usually gone by the time I get around to pulling out the canning kettle.

It is strawberry time again, which means time to think about putting up some preserves from the local crop. But the way things go, South Fork strawberries are usually gone by the time I get around to pulling out the canning kettle.

Helen S. Rattray
June 16, 2016
Louise W. Knight, a historian who is the author of two books on Jane Addams — the 19th-century activist and founder of one of the country’s first settlement houses, in Chicago — keeps in touch with my husband, whom she has known for many years. After the heinous massacre in Orlando this week, she sent him an email in which she took issue with the media’s calling it “the worst mass killing” in United States history.

Louise W. Knight, a historian who is the author of two books on Jane Addams — the 19th-century activist and founder of one of the country’s first settlement houses, in Chicago — keeps in touch with my husband, whom she has known for many years.

Jack Graves
June 16, 2016
I had finished reading of the last linotype machine operator at The New York Times, who’d quietly taken his leave last week at the age of 78, declining to be interviewed on his way out, and dreamed of the days when unions held some sway.

I had finished reading of the last linotype machine operator at The New York Times, who’d quietly taken his leave last week at the age of 78, declining to be interviewed on his way out, and dreamed of the days when unions held some sway.

Christopher Walsh
June 16, 2016
“Watch out now, take care, beware of soft shoe shufflers / Dancing down the sidewalks, as each unconscious sufferer wanders aimlessly / Beware of Maya.”

“Watch out now, take care, beware of soft shoe shufflers / Dancing down the sidewalks, as each unconscious sufferer wanders aimlessly / Beware of Maya.” 

These lyrics looped in my consciousness as I sat frozen on the third floor of State Supreme Court in Riverhead. There was no escaping them — not the lyrics, nor the proceedings. 

David E. Rattray
June 16, 2016
The old $50 lawn mower that I bought quite a few years ago from Harvey Bennett may have mowed its last lawn. At this point, I don’t remember if I had spotted it in the Star classifieds or if Harvey had mentioned that he had one to sell. But for $50, how bad could it be?

The old $50 lawn mower that I bought quite a few years ago from Harvey Bennett may have mowed its last lawn. At this point, I don’t remember if I had spotted it in the Star classifieds or if Harvey had mentioned that he had one to sell. But for $50, how bad could it be?

Helen S. Rattray
June 9, 2016
Perhaps you were among those who saw the feature about The Star in The New York Times on Memorial Day. Such positive publicity, and the subsequent rally of support from readers and the advertisers upon whom we depend, is no small thing. It’s not every day that reporters and publishers get a pat on the back and, for this, we are truly grateful.

Perhaps you were among those who saw the feature about The Star in The New York Times on Memorial Day. Such positive publicity, and the subsequent rally of support from readers and the advertisers upon whom we depend, is no small thing.