Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
September 22, 2016
Two young women, Mormons as I learned, appeared at our door one late afternoon recently, and they were very pleasant even though I confessed I was no longer a churchgoer, which, of course, did not mean, I said, that I did not have a spiritual side.

Two young women, Mormons as I learned, appeared at our door one late afternoon recently, and they were very pleasant even though I confessed I was no longer a churchgoer, which, of course, did not mean, I said, that I did not have a spiritual side.

David E. Rattray
September 22, 2016
With my kids in school once again and summer’s end this week, I have had a nagging sense of urgency about getting everything in.

With my kids in school once again and summer’s end this week, I have had a nagging sense of urgency about getting everything in. 

Helen S. Rattray
September 15, 2016
What makes you choose chicken noodle soup rather than gazpacho when they appear next to each other at your favorite takeout shop? Is it mood or weather? One is the quintessential comfort food, the other somehow jaunty and zingy, bringing to mind an artists’ lunch under an arbor in Andalusia.

What makes you choose chicken noodle soup rather than gazpacho when they appear next to each other at your favorite takeout shop? Is it mood or weather? One is the quintessential comfort food, the other somehow jaunty and zingy, bringing to mind an artists’ lunch under an arbor in Andalusia.

Jack Graves
September 15, 2016
The phone rang and, seeing it was my daughter, I answered it. Why, she wondered, was I not already at the Hampton Classic?

The phone rang and, seeing it was my daughter, I answered it. Why, she wondered, was I not already at the Hampton Classic?

I was going, I was going, I said — not with unbridled enthusiasm though — in a little bit. And were we prepared for the storm, she asked. Of course we weren’t prepared, I answered. 

Durell Godfrey
September 15, 2016
I have always been able to draw. Not Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci draw, but I have always had the knack to make a thing look like the thing it is supposed to be.

I have always been able to draw. Not Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci draw, but I have always had the knack to make a thing look like the thing it is supposed to be. 

As a grammar school student, faced with high school, my parents encouraged me to apply to the High School of Music and Art. Uh-oh, a portfolio was needed for that. 

David E. Rattray
September 15, 2016
Standing on the ocean beach in Montauk with East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cant­well on Tuesday, the question was why the downtown waterfront strip is the way it is. High waves from Hermine, a post-tropical cyclone by the time it passed Long Island last week, had eaten away almost all the fill that a United States Army Corps of Engineers contractor had placed there in the spring. As we looked over the damage, Larry pointed out that the sand level was more or less back where it had been when the corps project began.

Standing on the ocean beach in Montauk with East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cant­well on Tuesday, the question was why the downtown waterfront strip is the way it is. High waves from Hermine, a post-tropical cyclone by the time it passed Long Island last week, had eaten away almost all the fill that a United States Army Corps of Engineers contractor had placed there in the spring.

Helen S. Rattray
September 8, 2016
I had been saying that I was going to Nova Scotia, but that turned out to be one of those typically American mistakes about Canadian geography that so horrify our neighbors to the north: Prince Edward Island, which we visited last week, sits above Nova Scotia and is a province of its own.

I had been saying that I was going to Nova Scotia, but that turned out to be one of those typically American mistakes about Canadian geography that so horrify our neighbors to the north: Prince Edward Island, which we visited last week, sits above Nova Scotia and is a province of its own. 

Jack Graves
September 8, 2016
“This is the day the Lord hath made / rejoice and be glad in it,” I said to Mary as we and the puppy, whose first outing to Louse Point it was, took turns remarking on the glorious, cloud-filled sky, the light-green marsh grass, the gentle shore, the dark water, and the darker treeline beyond.

“This is the day the Lord hath made / rejoice and be glad in it,” I said to Mary as we and the puppy, whose first outing to Louse Point it was, took turns remarking on the glorious, cloud-filled sky, the light-green marsh grass, the gentle shore, the dark water, and the darker treeline beyond.

Carissa Katz
September 8, 2016
I came home from work two Tuesdays ago to find my 8-year-old daughter wearing a fancy summer dress, with her hair brushed nicely after a day at camp. “I’m ready to meet Hillary,” she announced.

I came home from work two Tuesdays ago to find my 8-year-old daughter wearing a fancy summer dress, with her hair brushed nicely after a day at camp. “I’m ready to meet Hillary,” she announced.

When I told her that I did not think that would happen, she crumpled. “Why not? You said she’s here. You said we might see her.” 

David E. Rattray
September 8, 2016
Shorebirds, sanderlings, probably, dashed ahead of the uprushing water at Wiborg’s Beach on Monday evening as storm waves broke all the way out to the horizon. Hermine, which started as a tropical depression in the Florida Straits about a week earlier, had crossed into the Atlantic and by then had drifted to within 200 miles of Long Island.

Shorebirds, sanderlings, probably, dashed ahead of the uprushing water at Wiborg’s Beach on Monday evening as storm waves broke all the way out to the horizon. Hermine, which started as a tropical depression in the Florida Straits about a week earlier, had crossed into the Atlantic and by then had drifted to within 200 miles of Long Island. 

Helen S. Rattray
September 1, 2016
Perhaps someone among our readers knows where a bundle of damp beach things came from and will tell me. I found it on an upholstered stool near the living room door one afternoon in early August, and accused my 15-year-old grandson of knowing who left it there. He had arrived that day alone and left on foot and was as puzzled as I.

Perhaps someone among our readers knows where a bundle of damp beach things came from and will tell me. I found it on an upholstered stool near the living room door one afternoon in early August, and accused my 15-year-old grandson of knowing who left it there. He had arrived that day alone and left on foot and was as puzzled as I.

Jack Graves
September 1, 2016
I remember Arthur Roth likened dying to getting on a train. Here comes the train, he said, soon before he did. I’ve got to get on.

I remember Arthur Roth likened dying to getting on a train. Here comes the train, he said, soon before he did. I’ve got to get on.

I, on the other hand, am thinking of jumping out of a plane. I did that as a youth, for a brief period, and, as I said to Rob Balnis, my personal trainer, the other day, it was at the same time scary and fun.

Baylis Greene
September 1, 2016
They never should have done it. They never should have released the news that coffee wasn’t bad for you, was in fact good for you, so you might as well drink till your chromosomes start crackling.

They never should have done it. They never should have released the news that coffee wasn’t bad for you, was in fact good for you, so you might as well drink till your chromosomes start crackling. Because I have, will, and continue to. 

David E. Rattray
September 1, 2016
A biblical-grade plague descended on Montauk in recent days, according to residents and visitors. And what has people talking is not the oversupply of bros and hipsters.

A biblical-grade plague descended on Montauk in recent days, according to residents and visitors. And what has people talking is not the oversupply of bros and hipsters. 

Helen S. Rattray
August 25, 2016
Who would have thought an audience at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater listening to a panel discussion on “Presidential Politics” would take to booing and hissing? But, yes, that’s what happened on Aug. 15. Even Ken Auletta, the eminent writer, appeared nonplused in his role as moderator.

Who would have thought an audience at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater listening to a panel discussion on “Presidential Politics” would take to booing and hissing? But, yes, that’s what happened on Aug. 15. Even Ken Auletta, the eminent writer, appeared nonplused in his role as moderator. 

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.