Tall Ships

Not every ship arrives by sea.A "Tall Ship"

The hard-working and ever-so-considerate owners of Bay State Cruise Company extended their season to accommodate those returning to Boston from Women’s Week this weekend, but cancelled the last two sailings due to adverse conditions. This wise decision scuttled my partly written blog about the last ferry of the season. (Boarding a bus to Boston just doesn’t  evoke the same sort of images of “Winter in a Summer Town” as the final ferry does.) This unexpected development got it me thinking about departures and arrivals of a totally different nature.

One of my favorite fall rituals is the all-to-brief overlap between the Women of Women’s Week (celebrating its 30th year this year) and the “Ladies” of Fantasia Fair. For an inveterate people-watcher, this is as good as it gets—the quintessential transition—as Birkenstocks and team sports give way to high heels and wobbling ankles in less than 24 hours.

We here in town affectionately call the Ladies “Tall Ships.” And they may well be the most appreciative collection of individuals to come to town. Though we sure love our Bears, the joy the folks of Fantasia Fair display strikes a particular chord, at least for me. Whether they are enjoying little chitchat the Stop and Shop, smiling  at an unexpected hello or just savoring the warm, fuzzy feeling of shopping in a favorite Lily Pulitzer, I always see something magical in the faces of these folks. Perhaps it’s a gentle reminder to savor the small things, perhaps it’s because I remember the days when P’town was the only place where I could be myself. Whatever the reason, I always try to be out and about for their annual visit. It just makes me feel good.

There’s a character in The HomePort Journals who’s moved into my head on a permanent basis. You’ll hear more about her as the book gets closer to publication. For now, let me just say she’s a tribute to the unique combination of grit and graciousness that is the hallmark of our very own “Tall Ships.” I’m not sure there’d be a HomePort without them.

A. C. Burch
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