Compiled by Cam Blair
Provincetown Independent writers were asked to look back over the stories we published in 2021 and choose some of their favorite sentences. Here are the results.
I remember pulling into the school and the car directly next to my car had “Kill the Afghans” written on the back. “Coloring in the White Space: Four women of color recall growing up on Cape Cod” by Christine Legere, published in the issue of Jan. 14.
Long story short: Dougie Freeman, who since 1982 has cut, colored, and charmed the Outer Cape, who was, he says, once young and gorgeous and 127 pounds and now, at 68, is spray-tanned, arthritic, still known for his legs (“get that in there: fabulous legs”), who at 17 fled Newton for Boston, where he balanced cocktails on a cork tray on his fingertips, which reminds him that waiters used to have such style, such pizzazz — what was the question? “Dougie Freeman Takes a Bow: He’s selling, but with no plans to stop finding beauty in everyone” by Josephine de la Bruyère, Feb. 4.
My friends, we need to do something about those dried beans before spring rolls around. “Garlic, Greens, and White Beans Make a Winning Dinner: No need to soak, and other wisdom on confronting your bean stockpile” by Edouard Fontenot, Feb. 25.
“The citizens of the Town of Provincetown are proud that you, Marvin Hagler, contender for the Middleweight Championship have chosen our town as your adopted home and have found the necessary tranquility and seclusion to train adequately for your prior winnings,” the 1979 proclamation states. “Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s Provincetown Training Days: The late boxing champ found solace at the tip of Cape Cod” by Ryan Fitzgerald, March 25.
What does it mean to have one’s body in a cesspool and one’s head extending from a manhole, level with Jay Critchley’s shins and a statue of Saint Francis? “At Home in Jay Critchley’s Cesspool: Converting your old soak pit into a rental unit, experts warn, is a no-go” by Josephine de La Bruyère, May 13.
A weird and difficult and rarely-touched-upon part of being a young queer person is that, often, you have to take on the role of educator. “Young Queer People Teach Their Teachers: Getting beyond pronouns, Nauset High students seek more inclusive history and culture” by Paul Sullivan, May 20.
The amount of time is an estimate, of course, but enough seconds ticked by for Packard to realize that his legs were pinned but not shredded, to understand he’d been scooped up by an animal that wasn’t a shark, to know he was inside a whale, and to consider there wasn’t much he could do about it, and he might well die there. “On Being Inside a Whale: ‘I Didn’t Believe It at First, Either’: Mike Packard writes a new chapter in the real-life adventures of Provincetown lobster divers” by Paul Benson, June 17.
“It was like junk withdrawal,” Wasson said, describing the year-plus that the Swap Shop was closed. “In Eastham, a Place for Give and Take Reopens: Pent-up demand, for treasures and connection, at the Eastham Swap Shop” by Ben Glickman, June 24.
“You can say whatever you want out here,” said Cathy Butler of South Wellfleet, before joking that she was going to propose the town buy reclining chairs for old people to use at future town meetings. “Democracy and Dugouts: This year’s town meeting on the ballfield brought out the quirks of New England town government” by Alex Sharp, July 1.
Supposedly, Judy Garland once soaked in that very tub while visiting town. “A Sanctuary for Soaking In: An outdoor bathtub is a place for self-ness under the stars” by Kai Potter, July 8.
Massachusetts is the only state in New England engaged in 287(g) contracts. “Sheriff Cummings’s Contract With ICE Is Renewed Again: Data show the program affects Jamaican men disproportionately” by Sophie Hills, July 15.
And because the flying bloodsuckers can travel up to 10 miles, residents and tourists all around the Outer Cape are feeling the itch. “Mosquito Boom Was Caused by Duck Harbor Overwash: A long-term solution could involve increased tidal flow in Herring River” by Ben Glickman, July 22.
Most of the shacks had no electricity or running water, so an electric wire was run from the shop to the biggest cottage, which the most illustrious of the surfers occupied. “Jasper’s Surf Shop Lingers in Memory: Fourteen years after closing, the business remains part of local surfing lore” by Tom Recchio, July 29.
Pianist Nakamatsu expertly stretches and compresses time like saltwater taffy. “Chamber Music Festival Returns, Forte: The Escher Quartet expertly plays Schumann and Coleridge-Taylor” by Saskia Maxwell Keller, Aug. 12.
The main challenge is that chickens hate change even more than we humans do. “A New Chick in the Flock: After a gradual introduction, a new bird finds her place in the pecking order” by Susannah Elisabeth Fulcher, Sept. 23.
The great mystery of the self — of who we are and what we turn out to be — is a Gordian knot: some of us are gay, some straight; some are afraid of heights, some of spiders; some of us are obsessed with sailing, or gardening, or birding, or redheads. “Life Among Artists: What is it that compels some people to dare to make art?” by Dennis Minsky, Oct. 7.
“An overarching thesis of mine is that stodgy old P’town takes itself a bit too seriously and that the people who live there have gotten rather boring,” writes Sue Edge, the founder of Beach Trash, via email. “A Different Kind of ‘Free Press’: Cape zines offer opportunities for art and satire” by Michaela Chesin, Oct. 14.
“Right now, it’s chaotic because I’ve got to finish this painting that I started 40 years ago,” he says, pointing to a large canvas in the middle of the room. “Salvatore Del Deo: Routine and Ritual: A student of Hensche and Dickinson embodies their practices” by Andre van der Wende, Oct. 28.
“All I can say,” Nickerson said, “is we knew Cape Cod when Cape Cod was Cape Cod.” “When Turnips Were King in Eastham: How Art Nickerson saved the town’s tasty tuber” by Cam Blair, Nov. 18.
Whether we’re eating canned food for dinner while wearing a headlamp or waiting in line at a gas station with ’fleetians desperate for caffeine, we are all “Mother Nature’s bitch.” “Songs to ‘Make It Through December’: Picks by the Independent’s staff and contributors” by Emma Doyle, Dec. 9.