To the Editor:
The extraordinary beauty of this Island has always enchanted me. I call it one big Japanese garden. The Island is alive with a myriad of landscapes. There are marshlands, beaches, woods, seascapes, hills, farmland, and so much more. Wherever you go, each part of the Island merges with the total, thus breathing living poetry. No matter your station in life, it seems that just about everyone is in awe, inspired by the terrain of the Vineyard.
As we all know, people work hard here. It is normal, practically de rigueur, to have at least two jobs, and many of us have three. In addition, there is a large population of families. Often both parents are working two jobs. They raise their children by magic (caused by very hard work), but they are not alone, and that is the true core of living here. People help each other. It is common, not considered unusual. There are hundreds of acts of kindness each day, often under the public radar, but more and more acknowledged on a Vineyard Facebook page.
The other night, while trying to make room for cars to get in and out of a friend’s driveway, I pulled to the side of the road only to get stuck in a ditch of snow. It was quite dark, and I was not aware of how deep the snow was on the passenger side. Try as I might, I could not extricate myself from that situation. I live with chronic illnesses, all of which are exacerbated by stress, so I try to live a consciously calm life. Nevertheless, it was dark and icy, and I was becoming more and more concerned about my chances of getting home that evening.
I called AAA, and they told me that they were not servicing the entire East Coast that evening because of the weather! When I tried to tell the operator that it was only raining at the time I called her, she said it did not matter. “The entire East Coast” was her mantra, repeated ad infinitum to every plea emitted from my heart.
Finally, I got off the phone and called the local police department. I was in Edgartown. Within minutes, an officer arrived, and he immediately tried to push me out of the ditch. As strong as he was, he could not. He asked how he could help. I told him that if he had some kind of chain or rope, his SUV could pull me out of the ditch, as I had a hitch on the back of my car. He got into his car, got the rope, attached it to my car and his, and pulled me out of the ditch. It all happened within seconds. I thanked him profusely and drove home to warmth and comfort, praying my thanks for being helped. I was blessed to have crossed the path of an everyday hero. I wish I could remember his name because he deserves to be recognized.
This is a place where the police truly serve and protect, no matter your station in life or your ethnicity. On the way out, I again thanked the officer and he smiled and said you’re welcome. He must have felt my soul opening to wave hello, because I do believe this gentle man was truly happy after completing a good deed for an old guy like me. Grace had found me when I wasn’t looking.
The officer’s name is Jeffrey Trudel. —Ed.