• by Michael and Trisha Barney •
Even though Colorado has been home for over 20 years, Nantucket and its sandy shores hold a special place in this Colorado couple’s hearts. Early in our twenties and fresh out of Midwestern colleges, we made our first trip to Nantucket aboard a self-chartered and modestly provisioned 35-food sailboat along with two other couples. There was not a lot of fine dining in the budget in those days, and space was a tad limited to say the least, but mooring in the harbor for $30 a night afforded us the sights and sounds that few get the opportunity to enjoy.
We had such a great time that we repeated the trip two years later, only this time there was a special stowaway on board that was concealed in a Band-Aid box that was wedged into a small and obscure gap in the galley cabinetry. One evening, the other couples decided to head into town for dinner and my girlfriend and I stayed on board to cook fresh live lobsters which we had bought from a boat earlier in the day that was offloading its catch near Fisherman’s Wharf. The scene was a storybook setting from the outset, with perfectly still harbor waters, a fantastically brilliant star-studded sky, and the moon hanging directly over Great Point, which illuminated the Coatue dunes that were visible off the stern of our boat. Background music courtesy of some jazz from our duck taped boom box which was intermixed with the sound of the harbor launch criss-crossing the waters. We served up boiled lobsters in the plaid upholstered galley and popped what we considered to be a good bottle of Chardonnay. About halfway through dinner we heard the distinct sound of the harbor launch boat approaching our mooring and confirmed it had pulled alongside our boat when we felt the unmistakeable jolt from the two boats connecting. My girlfriend was startled by the unexpected arrival and offered to go topside to inquire what was going on. I told her to by all means proceed, I took another large sip, and settled back for the show.
She climbed the ladder and emerged topside and was quickly greeted by the launch driver, who initiated the conversation by asking “I have a delivery for Trisha.” Needless to say, that was not what she was expecting to hear at 9 o’clock at night in the middle of Nantucket Harbor. She replied with a “yes, that’s me” and he handed her a white envelope.
The launch boat shoved off and she re-emerged down the ladder with a quizzical look on her face and an envelope in her hand. I asked what that was all about and she replied that a total stranger just made a delivery to her, at which time I said she’d better open it because it must be pretty important.
As she tentatively opened the letter, I reached above my head and into the nook in the cabinet and then felt the rectangular tin box in my sweaty palm.
She began to read aloud “Dear Trisha, you are the light of my life… will you Marry Me?” At that point, I had removed the ring from the bottom of the Band-Aid box and had it in front of her by the time she lifted her eyes from the card.
It is now twenty years later, and we are raising our two teenagers in Colorado, which is home. Due to the enormous generosity of my brother who lives on the Island, we have made the trip to Nantucket at least a dozen times since getting engaged. Every time we stroll the cobblestoned streets, wade into the surf with a 9-foot rod in hand, set up our chairs on the isolated beach of Eel Point Beach or set out on the Surfside bike path, the memories that are Nantucket keep flooding back!