13 Aug 2013

In The Trenches on Nantucket

Merriam Webster defines a trench as “a place, position, or level at which an activity is carried on in a manner likened to trench warfare – often used in the phrase in the trenches.” The very nature of the word trench conjures up images of hard labor…digging, sweating and digging some more.  It also implies the notion of safety – a place to go to hunker down, hide out or take cover.  It rarely is a concept referred to in the singular sense – this trench digging business is a team sport.  One for all and all for one and together we can make it happen.

On any given August day, virtually all the service industry people have an innate understanding of being in the trenches on Nantucket.  Regardless of our line of work, we all recognize that it truly does take a village to make a tourist island hum.  The caretakers rely on the plumbers, the restaurant owners depend on the delivery guy, the non-profit organizations put their faith in the event planners and volunteers and all of us take for granted the diligence  of our public servants who help ensure we are protected and secure through it all.  There are more…many more.  I dig, you dig, our friends, neighbors and perfect strangers take their turn at the shovel and together we masterfully navigate the trench and enjoy each others company along the way.

For summer residents, day-trip visitors and island guests, Nantucket provides a different type of trench experience.  They leave the craziness and busyness of off-island lifestyles…the perspiring work of their own trenches…to come to a place where they can hunker down, settle in and find a safe haven.  A special kind of trench – the good kind.  The little girls in the photo remind me that ditch digging doesn’t have to be gloom and doom work nor does it necessarily need to have a purpose.  Some days it’s fun to dig just for the sake of digging.  Visitors to Nantucket find camaraderie with others in their “good trenches.”  They golf, play tennis, sail, fish and dine together.  They become entrenched with one another and Nantucket by supporting local charities, volunteering for island organizations and improving the overall quality of life on the island we all love.

On this, one of the busiest weeks of the Nantucket tourist season, I feel grateful to live in a place filled with so many incredible fellow trenchers.  The next time you dine at a restaurant, get groceries bagged at the Stop and Shop, car filled at one of the gas stations, sink unclogged by the plumber, weeds pulled by the landscaper, bicycles delivered by the bike shop or banged up finger stitched at the ER, take a brief moment to thank your fellow trench diggers for their role in providing all of us with a spectacular Nantucket experience.

Dig it.

Shellie Dunlap

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