What’s in that Bed, Martha???

What is Martha’s Vineyard really like?

There have been millions of words written on the subject. Why, outsiders will come live on the Vineyard for a whole year, and then write an entire book bout the “real” Martha’s Vineyard. Good luck with that. There are many Islanders who are unlikely to even speak to a newcomer until they’ve stuck around here for five years or more. There are some who would prefer to wait five generations.

I went to a party the other night, and noticed a bumper sticker on the back window of a pickup truck. It was nice to see pride of place so definitively stated.


My glance strayed to the back of the truck, and I was fascinated by what I saw there. I realized that a great place to look for the reality of a place is where work happens. One place work happens around here is pickup trucks. Here, the pickup truck is a useful vehicle. And ubiquitous. The truck’s bed was a museum of things, and each item there had a story to tell.


Mardi Gras beads, a plant label, leaves (including bamboo leaves), the top of a home popsicle maker, and ice scraper, a steel prybar, and I have no idea what the perforated cardboard piece is or what it came from or what it was for. What a lot of stories. 

This pickup truck person is definitely a person who goes to the dump. Specifically, the West Tisbury Dump. You can tell by the used-up blue colored dump sticker book. The West Tisbury Dump is a fine place, with a recycle shed known at “Dot’s Boutique”.


What particularly caught my eye was the yellow-painted iron candlestick, because a couple of months ago I had left that very candlestick at Dot’s Boutique. If I’d had any sense I’d have stolen the candlestick back, and wrapped it up nicely, to give back to the truck’s owner next Christmas.  

Here’s a landscaper’s truck.


This bed looks like it came to the party straight from the job. 

There were simple still lifes to be seen.


A lock pin and a skipping stone. 

In one truck bed was a box of foam rubber thingies.


I had no idea what a “hand buoy” was, but there they were. Come to find out, they’re used for swimming pool exercising. Push one of these underwater and you have “weights” that push opposite to the usual force of gravity. Very clever. 

Some people are neater than others.


Someone likes to stop at the beach. Looks like they like to fish. The bungee cords are a nice touch, and keep the tackle box from wandering. How do you keep a bed so clean?

Some work is heavy.


A rig like this is simple, clever, and cheap. Saves the back, too. 

What’s the back of my pickup look like?


A roundpointed shovel and six-tined manure fork, over a thin layer of manure debris leftovers. The tines are rusty, so you can tell it’s been a while since that last load. 

While I was taking photos of the back of my friend L’s vehicle, he came over for a chat. It was good to see him. It’s always good to see him.


A truckbed study in circles, with gestural counterpoint. 


2 responses to “What’s in that Bed, Martha???

  1. I use my Outback as a mini pick-up, often folding the back seat down to carry more or longer cargo. I can carry up to 10′ lumber in limited quantities inside the vehicle and longer material on the roof. True to pick-up tradition, my front passenger set is generally filled with trash in the foot well and business resource material on the seat.

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