26 Feb 2019

Things Change On Nantucket

Acclaimed fashion designer Marc Jacobs says this about change: “Change is a great and horrible thing, and people love it or hate it at the same time. Without change, however, you just don’t move” (or in this case moooove – sorry, I had to). It was a great and horrible thing for Nantucket a few weeks ago when Bartlett’s Farm announced that their two beloved Dutch belted oxen, Ben and Jerry, were moving on to greener pastures – literally. They are off to a family farm in Vermont to join a larger herd, relish some wide-open space and frankly enjoy their retirement.
Funny how something as simple as two oversized animals can bring so much joy to an entire population and its visitors. They were the gatekeepers at the farm, but also the 2-man welcome committee for the Grey Lady herself. I suspect there isn’t a single person that lives on or has visited the island in recent years who doesn’t know Ben and Jerry. My grandkids loved them, my friends loved them, my dog loved them…and yes, I loved them. I confess I’m still in a state of grief that they’re no longer waiting to greet me when I round the corner. The move was good for them, but like anything that changes, it takes some getting used to.
Life on a historically significant island is a constant love/hate relationship with change. We want and need progress…intuitively we know it’s important. But emotionally we want to hold on to our history and preserve the elements that make Nantucket so special. I, for one, hate change. I’m not just opposed to it, I’m defiantly adverse to it. I like my “old school” Android phone, my paper files vs electronic and I love the historical homes on this island. However, I also happen to love my newly renovated kitchen and fancy gas operated fire-pit. Change, by its very nature is conflicting.
We’re grateful for our Historic District Commission and Nantucket Preservation Trust for their tireless work to safeguard the islands rich history and help ensure future generations get the opportunity to inherit the very fiber that makes Nantucket magical. At the same time, we’re thankful there are progressive voices in our community that help keep us moving forward to modernize our infrastructure, build new schools and hospitals and create systems to allow us to live and work with state-of-the-art conveniences. We’re also painfully aware that sometimes things we love about the island must change…because it’s in the best interest of something beyond us.
So, we’ll embrace the change and bid you a fond farewell, Ben and Jerry. We’ll miss your giant presence and easy-going demeanor that exemplify the peaceful lifestyle we all covet on Nantucket. We thank you for representing the farm and island we love with grace, dignity and a simple elegance that made us all smile and reminded us that if we’re lucky enough to be on Nantucket, then we’re lucky indeed. Here’s wishing you many more days of green pastures ahead.
Moooving On….
Shellie Dunlap
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