As many of my friends know I write a monthly column called “The Cranberry Report” for a little newspaper known as the Working Waterfront. It is a wonderful publication put out by the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine. I am honored to be able to write for them, though almost every month when my deadline approaches I am panicked as I try to figure out what to write about. I don’t write about jewelry, but I do try to convey a little of what my life is like on the tiny island where I live all year. In the past few days I seem to have gained some new readers who found my blog via my writing about our wonderful Ashley Bryan School. While I’m still struggling to find my way back to my jewelry studio, I have had other opportunities to pursue some creative endeavors. Writing has been one of them. My latest column was published on September 1 and I had some delightful feedback from it. Especially in the form of a phone call from Mr. Bunker of Mt. View Auto. He really appreciated the shout out. (As if he needed any extra golf cart business….) Anyway, here is a copy of the column from the Working Waterfront web site. Another little slice of island life. I hope you enjoy it.
Fore me! Golf cart dream comes true
by Barbara Fernald
Used golf carts are one of the handiest modes of seasonal land transportation in the Cranberry Isles. They are a lot of fun to drive, have a top speed of about 12 mph, use very little gas, and I have wanted one for a very long time. I wrote about how close I thought I was to achieving my dream three years ago
(http://www.workingwaterfront.com/articles/Island-Vehicles/14433/), only to have the dream squashed yet again by an able island mechanic and a reasonable husband.
At the beginning of the summer, though, our island car was succumbing to rust. The engine was still running well, but the chain that held it in place was starting to compromise the car’s steering ability. The car made a constant “bad” noise and it was not safe to drive.
I also won’t use my husband’s truck. I’ve driven all of his other trucks with no trouble, but his current one is so big that I have to climb two steps up to get in. The engine is powerful and noisy, it guzzles gas and the clutch is tremendously stiff. The doors are heavy and out of line so one must pull up while shutting to close them properly. I don’t have the strength for that so, even as a passenger, I am pissed off at the truck before we leave our driveway. This attitude is also not conducive to safe driving. Bruce started looking around for our next island car.
As I rode my bike to the dock one day, Donna and Henry Isaacs came up the road in a spiffy new orange golf cart. It had a roof, a windshield and a luggage compartment in the back where the golf bag holders used to be. My golf cart envy returned in a most swift and serious way. With a minimum of research I learned three helpful things: Mountain View Auto on the Bucksport road had a whole line up of colorful golf carts; gas powered carts are easier to service than battery powered; and I actually had enough money to buy one.
A synopsis of our marital golf cart conversation:
Me: Well, I’ve decided to spend my own money on a golf cart.
Bruce: You don’t need a golf cart! What will you drive when the weather gets bad? It’s impractical! What about storing it for the winter?
Me: What about fun?
Bruce: (The next morning.) OK, you can get a golf cart if you really want one.
Me: I know, but what brought you around? The argument for a little fun?
Bruce: No. It was realizing I could put off looking for a new island car.
Me: I’m going off island tomorrow to get one.
On Monday, I passed right by Mountain View Auto, overshooting my mark by several miles. I saw no line up of colorful carts that several helpful friends had described. When I actually did stop to talk to Mr. Bunker, he told me his carts were sold out. (He has sold over 20 golf carts to people in the Cranberry Isles in the past few years.) He took my number and said he would call as soon as the next delivery of golf carts arrived.
I only had to wait two days. By Wednesday I was asking him to pick one out for me and I put a check in the mail. He apologized for the fact that these carts were all white, with no fancy colors.
By Friday morning my new ride had arrived. I was a little concerned when there was only one key, but I figured I could have a spare one made the next time I went off island.
“Oh no,” said one of my friends who has had a golf cart for many years. “We tried all different hardware stores and even the automotive department at a Sears in Boston. You can’t get keys like that made anywhere.”
The thought of losing my one key cast a little cloud over my golf cart euphoria until I looked online to see if I could at least find a blank to get a new key made. It turns out that Yamaha golf cart keys are universal. I got a spare key for myself and one for my friend for less than the cost of a ride on the mail boat!
Within a week, two more golf carts arrived on the island. One was purchased by my brother-in-law, Mark, who had been in tandem with his brother Bruce in their feelings about the impracticality of alternative seasonal vehicles. (These two nay-sayers now discuss things like how to install headlights on their carts.) Mr. Bunker found Mark and Vicky a cart with a back seat that folds down to create a little luggage compartment when needed. They had to pay a little more for it, but that is a really practical adaptation, one that Bruce and I wish we had. And, their cart is red.
When Mr. Bunker told them about the color, his next words were, “Don’t tell your sister-in-law! She might be mad!” (Does he imagine we would never pass each other on the road out here?) He needn’t worry. I have not felt mad even once while driving my golf cart. I’ve wanted one for such a long time and it is every bit as fun as I imagined.
Barbara Fernald lives, writes, makes jewelry and drives her cool golf cart on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island).