Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
February 25, 2015

This can’t continue much longer, it sucks: I’ve gotten stuck, I’ve struck a co-worker’s truck, and I’ve just told a cold-caller to “take a flying ——.”

You get the idea — one’s nerves begin to fray when beset by the cold, not to mention cold-callers.

I was beginning to think that all the reserves of joy that are to be found in mutual suffering had been spent when a wonderful couple bearing tea came to our aid, but more about them later. 

Janis Hewitt
February 25, 2015

I’m sure many of you have heard the newest catchphrase, “No worries,” which is said by many people these days in what I believe is a totally inappropriate use of the phrase. I’ve had a lot of people say it to me lately, and I think they’re just bragging, because I have plenty of worries, especially now in winter, when it’s so cold out our daily lives are limited by snow and ice and our finances are at an all-time low.

David E. Rattray
February 25, 2015

This winter has been hell on man and beast alike, and it has been hard on houses as well, with frozen pipes, ice dams leaking under soffets, and over-taxed furnaces. Our house has taken a blow or two, including a never-before freeze-up on a kitchen drain, and, one morning this week, a door that came apart in my hands.

Helen S. Rattray
February 18, 2015

Guess what song has been going through my head for more than two weeks since two feet of snow fell and the temperature started to go down. Sorry, but I can’t help setting things to music. What I keep hearing, a la Louis Armstrong, is:

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful/ But the fire is so delightful/ And since we’ve no place to go/ Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Jack Graves
February 18, 2015

I’ve got to get beyond the birth-and-death thing, as my Zen book advises, though the good news is that my birthday is tomorrow and Mary is going to take me out to dinner.

When recently the subject of first loves came up, I told her that mine had tossed me over in the end because I had “no ambition.”

“That was what Mom and I always admired about you, that you had no ambition,” she said, “that you chose to go your own way.”

Morgan McGivern
February 18, 2015

Madge did not disappoint. No one thought she would show up for an impromptu photo-op on one of the picturesque lanes in the Village of East Hampton last summer.

The rumor circulated among a few of the camera-toting East Hampton inhabitants. Something fun: Hawaiian beach wrap by the seaside — Madge sporting a modest swimsuit. How about a discreet Wiborg Beach visit? Or her posing with the Georgica Beach lifeguards?

David E. Rattray
February 18, 2015

Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed something a little out of the ordinary on one of The Star’s recent obituary pages. Down in the lower right corner was a correction — nothing strange about that, of course. But what was unusual was that the notice concerned Phoebe Scott, an East Hampton woman who died in 1938.

Helen S. Rattray
February 12, 2015

Did you read about the gigantic opossum that got stuck in a wooden gate in Sag Harbor last week? The story of its rescue was told on easthamptonstar.com almost as soon as it was freed, and the ’possum pictures, which The Star didn’t have room to publish in print, were ridiculously adorable. This week, like all weeks nowadays, plenty of feature and sports photos that weren’t used in the paper itself appeared on the web.

Jack Graves
February 12, 2015

I’ve been reading about Zen Buddhism lately, and was reminded of the Yogi Berra koans I’d seen at the Artists-Writers Game last August.

    Here are some:
    “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
    “It gets late early out here.”
    “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
    “Baseball is 90 percent mental — the other half is physical.”

Irene Silverman
February 12, 2015

This has been a rough winter for my husband and me, even though we’re 1,100 miles south of the snow, and it’s been made no easier by reports from Amagansett of big changes in store for the quiet street we’ve lived on for — whoa — one year short of 50. (Like Jack Graves, I may soon be reading my own words in the “Years Ago” column.)

David E. Rattray
February 12, 2015

In the few weeks since the terrorist shootings in Paris, a number of people have asked about my take on the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and whether The Star would have published them.

Helen S. Rattray
February 4, 2015

Did you know that Starbucks sells souvenir mugs featuring images of different cities, countries, and states around the world — from Arizona to Ireland to Tokyo? Shush. Don’t tell my husband. He’s got a mug bug.

It was an exhibit of Dominy furniture at Clinton Academy that set off his addiction: He must have bought a half-dozen of the attractive commemorative Dominy mugs, keeping some and giving others away. I agreed that they made nice gifts, but I had no idea they would open a floodgate.

Jack Graves
February 4, 2015

I’ve been in recovery — clean — for almost a full month now, 29 days as a matter of fact, and while of course one always should be wary of a relapse, I think I’ve kicked the Facebook habit.

I haven’t formally resigned — I doubt frankly that they let you — but I swear I have not clicked on it since we returned from a vacation at the end of December.

Durell Godfrey
February 4, 2015

We have all been under a sort of snow arrest for the last week — lots of time sitting in cars going really slowly to avoid black ice and hours waiting for “the guys” to come to plow us out, or driving around and around the parking lots looking for a spot that isn’t in a drift.

That is not to say that I am not paying close attention, but my mind does wander to the ponder.

David E. Rattray
February 4, 2015

So this guy sidles up to me at Java Nation in Bridgehampton and says, “Hey boss, you got any of those eight-grain loaves today?”

I, by coincidence having made a mental note to stop by Breadzilla in Wainscott that morning, replied, “No, but I’m heading there later.” And then I realized that it had happened again. I had been taken for Brad Thompson, one of its two owners.

Helen S. Rattray
January 28, 2015

Even if you’re not a kid, snow days are a welcome respite, not from school but from the getting and spending with which most of us fill our days. It was Tuesday afternoon when I wrote this. As I sat at my computer, which is in a corner of the bedroom, I watched the snow veer horizontally, rising high enough to cover the seat of the swing in the yard and making a graceful mound of the car.

Jack Graves
January 28, 2015

“It seems like nothing much has changed,” I said to Mary as we were watching “To Kill a Mockingbird” the other night, though I know it is frequently said in connection with Martin Luther King’s birthday that we have come a long way.

For the young people who pro­tested in cities throughout the country on Jan. 19, and who claim­ed that the import of the holiday was being hijacked, it was not just a day off.

Janis Hewitt
January 28, 2015

When I was a kid — and how many people hate hearing that from their parents? — I didn’t walk 12 miles to school in a snowstorm, I didn’t wake at 5 a.m. to deliver newspapers, and I certainly didn’t eat tuna casserole because the children in China were starving.

But growing up on City Island in the Bronx, there was nothing more exciting than waking up to a quiet, still morning and sensing that snow had fallen through the night and school would probably be closed that day.

David E. Rattray
January 28, 2015

From an upstairs window Tuesday, as snow continued to fall fast, I could see a dozen sea ducks riding it out on the bay in front of our house. Seagulls of some sort flew on the driving wind above the water’s edge as a flood tide pushed and clawed at the dune.

Helen S. Rattray
January 21, 2015

Because I am a doubting Thomasina, I went to Google to check out a statement in Tony Prohaska’s “The White Fence,” a memoir that was the subject of last week’s “Connections.” Tony reported that Jackson Pollock had a pet crow. The Internet is wonderful; I not only found references to the crow but also saw images of it taken with the artist in 1947. It was named Caw Caw.

Jack Graves
January 21, 2015

How we react to suffering is one of the questions raised in David Margulies’s arresting play, “Time Stands Still.”

That it is a fact of life we know, something we all must endure, to varying extents. Should we embrace it? Should we avert our gaze inasmuch as we are able? Should we accept beauty and suffering as the opposite sides of the same coin?

David E. Rattray
January 21, 2015

When I got into the office around 8 on Tuesday morning this week, there already was a message on my voice mail. It was from a woman who wanted us to remove the names of her daughter and her daughter’s fiancé from a 2013 letter to the editor that remained on our website.

Helen S. Rattray
January 14, 2015

Tony Prohaska’s memoir, “The White Fence,” which he introduced at the East Hampton Library in October, is a mother lode of local history, anecdote, and opinion. Imagine a coming-of-age story set here in the second half of the 20th century, as a boy grows up amid expatriates and Bonackers, artists and writers, and the families of fishermen. 

Jack Graves
January 14, 2015

We were talking the other day about attaining a balance between the ways of the West and East, a discussion that sort of dovetailed with my reading lately, which began some months ago with William Blake and has wound its way through Lewis Thomas, who thinks everything’s connected, George McGovern, who thinks every child in the world should be fed and that we can afford it (what a radical thought), and which has now alit upon D.T. Suzuki, whose “Essays in Zen Buddhism” Northrop Frye had mentioned in a book of his, “The Great Code,” about biblical language.