Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
August 25, 2016
I had given one of my best sermons ever, though the phone, I discovered, had gone dead.

I had given one of my best sermons ever, though the phone, I discovered, had gone dead.

Amanda M. Fairbanks
August 25, 2016
Some months ago, I wrote an essay, here in The Star, titled “The Last California Christmas.” It was about the last Christmas my family spent at my parents’ house on the West Coast.

Some months ago, I wrote an essay, here in The Star, titled “The Last California Christmas.” It was about the last Christmas my family spent at my parents’ house on the West Coast. 

Dear reader: I may have misled you, albeit unknowingly. 

David E. Rattray
August 25, 2016
A Trump voter told me a joke the other night about how Jesus was in the back office at the Pearly Gates using Hillary Clinton’s “lie clock” as a ceiling fan. It was amusing when he told it, though thinking about it later I figured it would not win any comedy awards.

A Trump voter told me a joke the other night about how Jesus was in the back office at the Pearly Gates using Hillary Clinton’s “lie clock” as a ceiling fan. It was amusing when he told it, though thinking about it later I figured it would not win any comedy awards.

Helen S. Rattray
August 18, 2016
An old friend, whose high-winged plane has been tied down from time to time this summer at the Montauk Airport, had offered to take me up for a look at this place I call home. And so, on a beautiful morning last week, before the heat of the day had affected the air quality negatively, it was time.

An old friend, whose high-winged plane has been tied down from time to time this summer at the Montauk Airport, had offered to take me up for a look at this place I call home. And so, on a beautiful morning last week, before the heat of the day had affected the air quality negatively, it was time.

Jack Graves
August 18, 2016
My body was well ahead of my mind and its left hand was spraying shots everywhere, into the back fence, the net, and then Gary served and I began, began to realign, and once we’d tied the score at two games apiece, things, as they say, started to come together.

My body was well ahead of my mind and its left hand was spraying shots everywhere, into the back fence, the net, and then Gary served and I began, began to realign, and once we’d tied the score at two games apiece, things, as they say, started to come together. 

Joanne Pilgrim
August 18, 2016
I read The Times last week, safe in my little Sunday bubble at the ocean beach, but with the Aug. 6 anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima on my mind. Just a few pages in, I was feeling the grace of my privilege — even in the face of my ever-more-common sleepless nights fearing the wolf’s breath at my door — but I was also feeling its weight.

I read The Times last week, safe in my little Sunday bubble at the ocean beach, but with the Aug. 6 anniversary of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima on my mind. Just a few pages in, I was feeling the grace of my privilege — even in the face of my ever-more-common sleepless nights fearing the wolf’s breath at my door — but I was also feeling its weight. 

David E. Rattray
August 18, 2016
Three bronze nails sit on my desk. They are hand-forged, about the width of my palm, heavy, and thick. I look at them with a magnifying loupe, hoping for a clue about what they might have come from, but there is nothing.

Three bronze nails sit on my desk. They are hand-forged, about the width of my palm, heavy, and thick. I look at them with a magnifying loupe, hoping for a clue about what they might have come from, but there is nothing.

Helen S. Rattray
August 11, 2016
“The View From Lazy Point,” one of Carl Safina’s eight books, had been on my bedside table, unopened, for several years. What prompted me to pick it up last week was the appearance of his essay in the first edition of The Star’s new magazine, East.

“The View From Lazy Point,” one of Carl Safina’s eight books, had been on my bedside table, unopened, for several years. What prompted me to pick it up last week was the appearance of his essay in the first edition of The Star’s new magazine, East.

Jack Graves
August 11, 2016
I gave my daughter some mezcal to taste the other night, and one sip, she said, ought to quash, at least for a good while, any desire for alcohol that a young person might ever harbor — in much the same way smoking a big cigar down to the nub has allayed, sometimes forever, that activity.

I gave my daughter some mezcal to taste the other night, and one sip, she said, ought to quash, at least for a good while, any desire for alcohol that a young person might ever harbor — in much the same way smoking a big cigar down to the nub has allayed, sometimes forever, that activity.

Christine Sampson
August 11, 2016
The Pop-Up Comic Extravaganza on Sunday transformed one little corner of East Hampton from chic to geek.

The Pop-Up Comic Extravaganza on Sunday transformed one little corner of East Hampton from chic to geek.

David E. Rattray
August 11, 2016
Listening to coverage of the presidential race, I have been struck by a repeatedly heard observation that Hillary Clinton is remote, frosty, not someone you would want to have a beer with. Maybe that is true; presidential candidates sometimes come off far differently than they really are in person. Someone I used to work with years ago who knew Bob Dole said he was a hoot — warm, funny, and a joy to be around. The presidential race press corps, back then, too, decided he was a stiff.

Listening to coverage of the presidential race, I have been struck by a repeatedly heard observation that Hillary Clinton is remote, frosty, not someone you would want to have a beer with. Maybe that is true; presidential candidates sometimes come off far differently than they really are in person.

Helen S. Rattray
August 3, 2016
Not only is the body politic askew as we head toward the presidential election in November, so, too, do the tenets of ethical journalism seem to have gone haywire.

Not only is the body politic askew as we head toward the presidential election in November, so, too, do the tenets of ethical journalism seem to have gone haywire. 

Jack Graves
August 3, 2016
Lori King, the intrepid long-distance swimmer, was a little surprised the other day that I’d never heard the saying, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”

Lori King, the intrepid long-distance swimmer, was a little surprised the other day that I’d never heard the saying, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.”

Taylor K. Vecsey
August 3, 2016
I am tired of receiving your calls on my cellphone number. Practically once a day, sometimes twice, I get calls for you, mainly from solicitors offering a mortgage or some kind of green energy solution for the house you may or may not have. It’s getting old.

Dear Amanda Hubbard, 

I am tired of receiving your calls on my cellphone number. Practically once a day, sometimes twice, I get calls for you, mainly from solicitors offering a mortgage or some kind of green energy solution for the house you may or may not have. It’s getting old.

David E. Rattray
August 3, 2016
I have lived by the beach in Amagansett long enough to be able to tell summer’s changes from the sound of the birds. Now that it is August, spring’s crazy pre-dawn ringing of songbirds in the brush is replaced by the feeding calls of terns hunting baitfish in the shallows. The wind from the north has kicked up small waves, providing an impossible-to-describe background as a few gulls make their lazy yawps.

I have lived by the beach in Amagansett long enough to be able to tell summer’s changes from the sound of the birds. Now that it is August, spring’s crazy pre-dawn ringing of songbirds in the brush is replaced by the feeding calls of terns hunting baitfish in the shallows.

Helen S. Rattray
July 28, 2016
Taking a swim in the bay on Sunday, I was once again struck by how incredibly beautiful the waters of Gardiner’s Bay are and how lucky our family has been to have a slot on the sands facing them.

Taking a swim in the bay on Sunday, I was once again struck by how incredibly beautiful the waters of Gardiner’s Bay are and how lucky our family has been to have a slot on the sands facing them.

Jack Graves
July 28, 2016
At the beach the other day there were beautiful sights — one of Amanda Calabrese, who was to have been named this week to the United States’ competitive lifesaving team, whirling through the waves in a long, sleek lifesaving craft of which she was obviously the master, and the other of the back of my wife’s head as it and her body rose and fell gently with the water in the late afternoon.

At the beach the other day there were beautiful sights — one of Amanda Calabrese, who was to have been named this week to the United States’ competitive lifesaving team, whirling through the waves in a long, sleek lifesaving craft of which she was obviously the master, and the other of the back of my wife’s head as it and her body rose and fell gently with the water in the lat

Carissa Katz
July 28, 2016
Jasper’s bare feet pounding the ground as he runs through the fields at Quail Hill seem to turn the earth hollow beneath him, a sound felt as much as heard.

Jasper’s bare feet pounding the ground as he runs through the fields at Quail Hill seem to turn the earth hollow beneath him, a sound felt as much as heard. 

David E. Rattray
July 28, 2016
It was Thursday evening, I think, and, eager to get away from the bear attacks of a long week, I drove to the beach at Atlantic Drive on Napeague. There was one other person there when I arrived around 6:30, and he or she was wrapped in a towel and sitting on a chair some distance away from the road end. About a mile to the west through the haze I saw two trucks parked on the state park beach, though at that distance, I could not even really be sure what they were.

It was Thursday evening, I think, and, eager to get away from the bear attacks of a long week, I drove to the beach at Atlantic Drive on Napeague. There was one other person there when I arrived around 6:30, and he or she was wrapped in a towel and sitting on a chair some distance away from the road end.

Helen S. Rattray
July 21, 2016
A recently married couple I know moved from their apartment in Queens into their first house last week, and what a house it is!

A recently married couple I know moved from their apartment in Queens into their first house last week, and what a house it is!

Just shy of 3,000 square feet, not counting its ample decks, the two-story house is on a wooded lot of about an acre, and they bought it for $270,000. The property is a good 45 minutes west of Bridgehampton, off the William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.

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.