Background photo by Don Sylor

A Long Story Short

Some people have a hard time sharing their stories. They need to be questioned, maybe interrogated. It’s like when a parent asks their pensive child what they did in school today and they answer with a reflexive, “Nothing.” That really means they need to be asked some more questions, a line of inquiry that becomes more specific and more pointed until there’s a satisfactory answer.

Jeff Harder: Managing Editor Then there are the people who can tell stories at the slightest provocation. Good stories, too. The folks who seem to have the beginning, middle, and end in mind before they open their mouths. They remember the sights, the sounds, even the smells of their defining experiences. And though they remember everything to the smallest detail, they have the good sense to leave out the dull and the extraneous.

John Murphy from Land Ho! in Orleans fits that second description. He is a restaurateur, an accomplished artist, a family man, and a classic raconteur. When I asked him about the origins of the restaurant’s stuffed clams, I thought he might have a story to tell. I didn’t know I’d end up hearing my favorite anecdote involving a heartfelt apology from a rowdy fisherman.

Whether we convey them easily or through effort, we all have stories to tell, and in this issue you’ll find stories from folks who live all across the Cape and Islands. You’ll find out who they are, what they do, why they came here, and why they stay here. The excellent photography shot by Dan Cutrona and other contributors proves that the words are only part of the story. But if you want to read more, visit for extended cuts of interviews with a few of the most interesting characters.

Also in this issue, we are fortunate to feature an essay by Jay Allison, founder of WCAI, our region’s NPR station; the producer of The Moth Radio Hour, one of the great downloadable conduits of the oral tradition; and a Woods Hole resident. Elsewhere, contributor Donna Scaglione gives us an insider’s view of the best places to eat, beaches to visit, things to do, and hidden secrets of each town. Follow the guide and visit someplace you’ve never been. Afterward, you’ll probably have a few more stories to share.

Jeff Harder, Managing Editor


Jeff is the Managing Editor for Cape Cod Life Publications.

Facebook Comments

Historic Photos

We've collected historic photos from around Cape Cod & the Islands

Share your own photos!

Street View, West Dennis, Mass

Street View, West Dennis, Mass