Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
December 23, 2014

I’ve read that the greatest Christmas gift is the knowledge that one is blessed, and I know that that is not a frequent occurrence.

Janis Hewitt
December 23, 2014

’Twas a week before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even the dog. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a vision of Jesus sketched into my morning peanut butter toast.

He wore not a red suit but a ragged white robe, and wore not a silly hat but a crown full of thorns. His belly was slim, not jiggling with jelly, and He didn’t look jolly but solemn and troubled.

He left me a message each day for a week and said he’s dismayed at the havoc we’ve wreaked.

David E. Rattray
December 23, 2014

So what has happened with that good old-fashioned word “it”? You would think that so useful a word would not go out of style or be forgotten. But, if listening to such well-regarded sources as National Public Radio news is any illustration, it has been almost fully supplanted by “they.”

Helen S. Rattray
December 18, 2014

The death of a friend is dreadful. A gathering of friends who come together to show how much they cared about the one who is gone and to support a family in their grief is, on the other hand, a lesson in living. 

So it was this week when a large crowd of people whose lives had been touched by Ed Hannibal visited the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, and so it was at the funeral Mass the next day at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton, where the liturgy and a moving eulogy reminded all there of what a fine man he had been.

Jack Graves
December 18, 2014

“Where’s the brief?” I asked Mary after we’d seen a somewhat long film about Stephen Hawking, who wrote “A Brief History of Time,” which I’ve taken the time to peruse again in an effort to constantly expand my consciousness, just like the universe.

Christopher Walsh
December 18, 2014

Good grief, Christopher Walsh! Let go of the past, already!

You’ve gone far in a few short years. It wasn’t so long ago that, desperate for any merriment at all, you dragged a sad little Charlie Brown-caliber pine tree up the 75 steps and into your decrepit Brooklyn apartment, decorated it with a handful of dull ornaments and semi-functioning light sets, and . . . and then sat alone reading “The Catcher in the Rye” for perhaps the 15th time.

David E. Rattray
December 18, 2014

Of all the unlikely places, it was at a wake this week that I found myself talking about births and the fact that this newspaper publishes many fewer notices of them than it used to.

The wake was for Ed Hannibal, whom a crowd and then some was there to mourn and remember, and I ended up chatting in the back of the room with Eileen Myles, a poet I had long admired and who was Ed’s stepsister, something I had known at one time but nearly forgot.

Helen S. Rattray
December 10, 2014

According to a 2011 report from Chorus America, an organization that promotes and supports choral singing, 42.6 million people sing in more than 270,000 choruses across the nation.

Jack Graves
December 10, 2014

They go for Christmas in a big way in Palm Springs, where we’ll be at the end of the month, with lights and ornaments all around. Yet even if I weren’t jaded when it comes to the mandatory bonhomie of the season, it seems all the more ludicrous to submit this year given the recent baffling refusals of grand juries in Missouri and New York to try police officers who killed unarmed citizens, one who had been told to get up on the sidewalk and another who was placed in an outlawed, and fatal, choke hold for selling single cigarettes.

Morgan McGivern
December 10, 2014

Flash News: Incorporated Village of East Hampton, N.Y., U.S.A. — East Hampton Village leaders, in response to its citizens’ requests, recommendations, and common sense propositions, implement four new provisionary laws effective henceforth, quid pro . . . immediately.

David E. Rattray
December 10, 2014

Perhaps the dumbest thing I heard back when I was covering the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals came to mind this week as I watched a heavy northeast storm roll in. I cannot recall now what the application was for or where the property was or even who the lawyer was, but I remember blanching when a representative of the owner said the sand on the beach comes and goes and that the sea wall he was advocating would be soon covered and out of sight.

Helen S. Rattray
December 3, 2014

All those pumpkins and squashes at farm stands — and in so many artsy photographs last month — got to us. We’ve been trying to eat healthy, and as Thanksgiving approached the pantry and refrigerator were jammed with big, beautiful vegetables and squashes about which we had the best of intentions. 

One of our problems is that we both, my husband and I, go grocery-shopping, and more often than not neither of us has a clue what the other has been buying.

Jack Graves
December 3, 2014

“Did you hear?” I said the other day to Mary, who was working at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton.

“Yes. Obama finally bit the bullet on immigration.”

“Well, there’s that, but they’ve found that 90 percent of social drinkers are not alcoholics! I had been hoping, though, to stand up at an A.A. meeting and say, ‘My name is Jack Graves and I still use floppy disks.’ ”

Durell Godfrey
December 3, 2014

Well, I have the cold.
          
Everyone has or has had this cold. It’s what is going around. If you deal with crowds, if you go to the movies or the gym, if you go to the store and stand in line to get turkey gravy, you are surrounded by people. Some of them will have a cold and not know it. Some will have a cold and will do their stealth sneezing and coughing into their elbow, but it is out there and I got it.

But I didn’t know it.

David E. Rattray
December 3, 2014

One of the things I’ve noticed this fall, a season without any even glancing blows from tropical storms or, perish the thought, hurricanes, is that the volume of leaves fallen from the trees by now has been prodigious. Down near the bay where we live in Amagansett, November’s nearly unbroken northerly winds most years push what oak leaves manage to reach the ground swiftly into the underbrush.

Helen S. Rattray
November 26, 2014

Bargain-hunting is a hallowed American pastime. Despite the recession and widespread joblessness, most Americans are generally well-enough off to be able to plunge into the fray to buy whatever it is they’re coveting, especially when there’s a hefty discount.

Jack Graves
November 26, 2014

Middletown High School, where the state boys soccer Final Four games were played recently, is the Taj Mahal of high schools, the size, I thought, of at least two airports.

An eight-lane track wraps around a large turf field overlooked by a Jumbotron — yes, a Jumbotron — and at the other end is a large grandstand over which a commodious press box stretches. I tend to stay away from press boxes, though, preferring a ground-level view, as close to the action as possible.

Janis Hewitt
November 26, 2014

I am thankful that Facebook wasn’t around when I was a teenager. I can’t even imagine the trouble I’d have gotten into if it was. As it is, I’m a grown woman and get in trouble from my children for some of my posts, which I think are quite harmless and often humorous. They don’t agree, so obviously they didn’t get their sense of humor from their mother.

David E. Rattray
November 26, 2014

Everybody else, it seemed, had the same idea. On Sunday, with an afternoon low tide and the temperature forecast to be in the mid-50s, it was time to scallop. The harbor a friend and I checked after lunch was dotted with figures wading around waist-deep. Pickup trucks backed close to the water were lined up side-by-side. At the road access where the sand trail meets the pavement, a couple of people were transferring their haul from plastic bushel baskets into regulation, red-mesh shellfish bags.

Helen S. Rattray
November 19, 2014

Driving, as I often do, toward the Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton, crossing the place where Lumber Lane and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike conjoin and a driveway for a large parking lot to the west butts in, I can’t help feeling a sense of satisfaction when I see the imposing 19th-century buildings that mark two corners of the intersection. Not too long ago they were in need of various degrees of rehabilitation and faced uncertain futures.

Jack Graves
November 19, 2014

After interviewing Cory Lillie and Kyle Solomon about the soon-to-be East End Sharks, a nascent high school ice hockey team that ought to be fun to write about this winter and in winters to come, I went onto the last court open to play that remained, the hard court, to practice my serve, which had been tweaked the day before at an adult clinic at the East Hampton Indoor Club.

Christopher Walsh
November 19, 2014

The weekend had been beautiful, Saturday morning typically lazy. Slow to arise, the leisurely making of fresh juice before stepping into the light and crisp November air and into the village, where steaming coffee would be poured at Mary’s and carried to the Square, where a park bench and laughter and fond reminiscence awaited.

Everything was different on Sunday — or it wasn’t, until it was. Suspicion, accusation and recrimination, the dull ache in the gut as another glass of wine was drained.

David E. Rattray
November 19, 2014

Just after sunrise on Sunday, with a first cup of coffee down the hatch and another getting ready on the stove, I went down to the beach for a walk with the dogs. It was a cold morning; a strong northwest wind had blown itself out overnight, but the chill lingered. The sand underfoot was hard, as if getting ready for the freeze to come.

Helen S. Rattray
November 12, 2014

What sort of person willingly goes into harm’s way to help others? What makes a doctor or nurse fly to West Africa to do what they can in the Ebola crisis? What drives a journalist like the late James Foley, who was beheaded, into the heart of darkness to unveil things the world should know? How does a female reporter in the Middle East find the courage of her convictions? What balance of ideals and personal interest makes some folks willing to tempt fate for what they would call the greater good?