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Saltaire Summery
Volume 48, Issue 10
August 27 - September 9, 2004
By Hugh OBrien

[Pre-dendum! I learned late that this is the final FINews of the ‘04 season. Even had to make up the word “predendum” to stick this in. Anyway, I think all the bases for the seasonal wrap-up were presciently covered in the original, but if you don’t see ti here, it probably won’t happen. So...]
What the hell was that last Saturday? Even by summer storm standards our little afternoon sprinkle was pretty intense. The one major explosion early on that jolted everybody out of their socks and sandals turned out to be a lightning bolt striking the beach at Broadway, which accounts for the fifty-foot geyser of sand, beach chairs, three or four sunbathers and at least one illicit cooler observed being shot into the air by residents of Marine Walk. Meanwhile, as the lifeguards were hastily battening down in the face of the sudden squall, a dozen or more people simply refused to abandon the beach even as they were being pelted by sheets of drenching rain and lashed by high winds; it was only after the lightning had actually hit the sand right in front of them that they finally heeded the guards' warnings to leave, and even then some had almost to be physically ejected from the area as lifeguards Rich Wilde, Catherine Jameson and others literally had to order people to get in out of the rain.
“And these,” remarked a safety official later on, “are the same people we're trusting with propane grills?”
Well, yes, these too, along with everybody else who's so inclined. Contrary to rumor breezing about the ville, outdoor cooking has not, yet, been legalized in Saltaire, though it stands to be at the next Board meeting Sept. 6. Following discussions at the last such sesh, the more-or-less final drafts of that legislation, plus the long-overdue fire marshal law and attendant emendations associated with these changes, will be given a final run-through on 9/6 and, assuming no further quagmires, should then be passed. The scheduled new public hearings before the coming vote were made necessary by the need to make sure the entire fire code will be properly conformed in light of the new laws, simply a matter of making sure we dot all the rib-eyes and cross all the T-bones prior to enactment: doing' everything nice and legal-like, as they used to say in the adverbally-challenged Old West before they strung someone up and held a cookout to celebrate afterwards. The fire marshal law will take effect almost immediately; but note the outdoor cooking section will not go into effect until next spring, so please, don't stock up on propane tanks just yet.
And now, as a final aside to a community which historically has not dealt well with change, a word, if I may, to both sides of this long-simmering controversy, our most prominent municipal thorn, which has spawned so many needlessly hard feelings and unconscionably harsh rhetoric from various quarters over the years. The village has been split more or less down the middle on the “barbecue issue” for, well, probably for ever (okay: maybe it's 53.7% to 46.3%: big deal). So to those who have argued for the right to barbecue, please, enjoy your new privilege, safely and legally of course, but almost as importantly, courteously – act responsibly towards your neighbors, so that things people have worried about – noise, smells, whatever – don't intrude onto their rights. And to those who have opposed outdoor cooking as the beginning of the end of the “Saltaire way of life”, whatever that may be, remember that things in practice are usually far less bad than things in contemplation. Many, perhaps most, Saltairians opposed the introduction of the first Security officer in 1966; the Board was actually bullied into rescinding its initial vote to acquire an ambulance in 1977, so many people were against it; the advent of legalized pools in 1986 was thought to signal The End as well; likewise, I was told long ago, the reaction to the first phones in 1949, and electricity years before that, and who knows what other mainstays of the Devil during our formative years (or maybe we're still forming). Point is, we've always successfully adjusted, and anyway, change is inevitable: you can either be run over by it, or accept it, take hold and shape it to your will, master it. A little kindness, common sense, give-and-take, work wonders. Everything will be fine, because the people of this community will make it so. And remember, “pro” or “anti”, we all have a stake in this now.
Now, as this is our last column, (next year we stop publishing in July), we'll have to uncork and recap various bits of information designed to smooth your transition to the post-summer period. I know, I know, it sucks, but we have to face it.
Basic services schedules...Camp closes Aug. 28, the Library program Sept. 2; the Post Office shuts Thursday, Sept. 9, and the Market Sunday the 12. The Doctor's office will operate daily through Labor Day, after which there'll be only sporadic Bobian coverage. Lifeguards,weekends only after 9/6, weather permitting, through most of Sept.(notices will be posted). Refuse collection stays Mon. & Thurs.through Sept. 9; beginning Sept. 13, it's Mondays-only until next June.
Fun stuff on tap... A Labor Day Show? Maybe. (Deborah?) Look for signs, also posters, in and around the YC near the appointed date.Where else can Sandi Jones show her slides recounting this memorable year? More definitely, the 10K Race will be run Sat., Sept. 11, registration from 3-5 at the gazebo, race starting 5:30; both Gordon Medenica and Chuck Jones, the new and traditional overseers of this event, have conveniently scheduled themselves to be “out-of-town” (translation: hiding under the bed) that day, but, to paraphrase Steve McQueen in “The Towering Inferno”, when Paul Newman asked him how they'd get the explosives up to the roof, “Oh, they'll find some dumb son of a bitch to do it.” Don't know the admission fee yet, but I'll tell you when I register you. Yeah. (It may also make the final column.)
The SCAA's Halloween Party is set for Sat. Oct. 23, and I admit, even that's too far ahead to contemplate just now. Oh, and we may be cancelling Christmas. For Yacht Club schedules: members, consult your calendars, but Labor Day weekend is always brimming with dinners and meetings and one thing and another, and fall weekends at the local barroom are always a pleasant diversion.
But the Fire Department comes through! Or across. One, you should pardon the expression, hoary old tradition being reactivated Sunday, Sept. 5, is, yes, the Pancake Breakfast, better than ever thanks to a special twist this time: in honor of the Athens Olympics, the main dish is being Hellenized into its ancient incarnation, the storied Cakes of Pan, an admittedly markusian-seeming construct which nevertheless has its roots planted firmly in antiquity. In Greek mythology, the gods, after feasting on their glorious but, let's face it, monotonous diet of nectar and ambrosia, would occasionally top it off with a rare treat supposedly concocted by Pan himself as a ready repast whilst off in the fields playing his flute. He'd flatten wheat with his hooves, then secretly borrow the use of Hephaestus's kilns while he was out chasing Jason and the Argonauts or something, and bake round little cakes, stuffed with raisins, grapes, olives and whatever other stuffings Greeks could lay their hands on, till they were a deep brown; he then drizzled them with honey and, finally, added a dollop of feta cheese as a fait accompli. Voila. Hey, it's a lot more appetizing than the old Armour meat commercial that advocated slicing hot dogs into your pancake batter. Try eating that. Anyway, our breakfast will be its usual blast, once more at popular prices (popular with whom, it is not said), so do drop by, and in the next issue I'll tell you the historical origins of the sausage.
And while the breakfast pans out, a note of thanks to Tracey Zabar, always (with John) a very generous individual, who held a baking class at her home last week and asked that her students, rather than pay Tracey for her work, instead contribute their small fees to the Fire Co. fund. Graciously proffered, and gratefully accepted. Very thoughtful, and thank you, Tracey. Your house definitely goes on the “To Save” list.

Arrivals and Anniversaries
A trio of newborns to welcome aboard, all daughters...Bridget & Simon Carr had their new girl, Jane, a few weeks back; this past week, Jennifer Stockbridge Morello and her husband, Maurizio, welcomed baby girl Kelly; and, in an unforgivably delayed report – we had so much weighty stuff to pencil in this summer, you know – very belated congratulations to Leslie & Stephen Vail on baby Pauline, who's about ready for college now, so long have I neglected her advent. Just think! These girls will never know a Saltaire without barbecuing. On another side of the coin, belated congrats to the Honorable Richard Latham and Mrs. Honorable, Nancy, on their 50th anniv Aug. 14; the judge tells us he and Nancy, married over on the mainland, honeymooned on a cabin cruiser plying around the Great South Bay, including a couple of nights spent moored in Clam Pond Cove, back in the days when that was legal and there was still a peninsula and proper “Coffey Point”; they'd row ashore each night, to where an old extension of Harbor Prom used to run out past Navy to the Cove (there's about nine of us who still remember these things), and walk down to the Inn for dinner. Dick also added that Nancy expects something better from her next husband on her next honeymoon. Impossible, on either count. On the flip end of married life, still more congratulations, to Jennifer Jameson, of the Saltaire Jamesons, who wed to Scott Kelly in N.H. on the 16th.
Lastly, in a sad note, we bid farewell to the late Village Justice Henry Weiss, who passed away last Monday at age 94. Henry and his late wife, Sadie, once owned the house at the aforementioned Coffey Point (now the Greenfields'), raised a large and loving family, and were quiet community mainstays for many years. Henry's long service as Saltaire's Justice was marked by comprehensive knowledge of the law, a sense of justice tempered by compassion and common sense, and an abiding love for this community. Besides being a man of indelible ethics and unquestioned integrity, Henry Weiss was a man with a great sense of humor, thoroughly unstuffy about himself, who did more than merely “love Saltaire” – he put that love into practice, to our everlasting benefit. Henry resigned his post and sold his home after Sadie's death in the '80's, but his shining example of the best in public service and private comportment remains with us still. He remains much missed.

Wide and Wild Sports
Paul Kahn & Aaron Harnick seized the Men's Doubles tournament the other weekend; final tourn of the season this weekend, Mixed Doubles. Terry McGowan, John Hill and Herc Maier swam San Francisco Bay a couple of weeks ago, the annual Alcatraz Island decathlon or something, an amazing feat given especially that the prison was put there in the first place because authorities figured no one could make such a swim. Terrance has to give me the gory details, but everybody's fine (and S.F. is cold in August!). Poor Ralph Perlberger's soccer cup finals just can't get a break -- the second day of play has been rained out two weekends in a row, so no results yet.

Jogathon Results
Softball playoffs this weekend, series finals the following. And we do have the Jogathon results, courtesy Gordon Medenica, in his baptism of blood organizing his first J'thon, barely avoiding a rain-out. The winners, with the usual age and sex divisions:
One Mile: 1st overall, Carole Bamford and Sam Mann; 1st Saltairian, Alexis Ferguson and Michael Valente; under 6, Elliott Bamford and C.J. Ackell; 7-8, Charlotte McGowan and Max Geistfeld; 9-10, Alexandra Richard, Elias Wechsler; 11-12, Jodie Rosenzweig, David Mann; 13-14, Ian Hohmann (no female); 15-19, Lauren Shepland, Jonny Shepland (which doubtless made for easier dinner-table conversation that evening); 20-29, Rebecca Saenger, G.M. Gianino; 30-39, Ted Nagengast (no F); 40-49, Janette Sadik-Khan, Michael Merchant; 50-59, Karen Jolis, Jeff Waldhuter; Masters, Paul Saenger (again, no F). Three-point-five Mile: Overall, Susan Burns, Kevin Barrett; Saltaire resident, Alexis Ferguson, Adam Gibbs; 10-14, Kim Rieger, Tom Rofrano; 15-19, Katie LaSorsa, Alex Sockell; 20-29, Bridget Dunn, Dylan Patterson; 30-39, Jason Kunreuther; 40-49, John Ackell (no female in either category); 50-59, Susan Rofrano, Dan Gonzalez; Masters, Paula Semel, Paul Ehrman. What? And the string quartet didn't strike up “Hey Paul, Hey Paula”? Had a record number of entries, we think, lots anyway, and a special mention to the winner of the Jogathon T-shirt design contest (something new this year -- we used to just dragoon a hapless artist into servitude) -- Leah Carey. Great work! Apologies for any misspellings or other errata; no wonder Gordon's gone to California (taking daughter Maddy to Claremont College).
One frequent jogathoner is Judy Harrigan, who had a frightening experience of late out on the ocean, one which ended happily thanks to the astonishing skills of our lifeguards, about whom enough good can never be said. Judy's publishing a thank-you note to all involved in the letters section of this issue, so you can get the details there, but it's appropriate to echo a compliment received by Chuck Jones regarding our guards, from a man who's traveled extensively and swum beaches all over the world, who told Chuck that Saltaire's guards were the most professional and able he's seen anywhere. Wow. Rich Wilde and his crews deserve everybody's thanks for their vigilance, abilities and dedication to their task – for which the training never stops. But please – watch those riptides; as Judy can attest, a few moments' inattention and you can be in dire straights really fast. You can see it marked on the Coast Guard charts, right off shore – Dire Straits. Uh-huh, that swimming pool statute is looking better now, isn't it?

Addendum
Guess this is evidently it. Regrets to all teams and tournament winners and triumphs must go unrecorded here until 2005, but, you know, think of it as extending your fame another 9 months. Look for updates and new info on bulletin boards and websites. Meantime, my thanks to Nicole and the staff for the space and the help and a very good paper. Have a safe off-year, remember to vote right and watch out for all those Republicans, in NYC and beyond. I’ve been asked for my dart board electoral estimate. Here goes: Bush 292, Kerry 246. Who knows? Numbers aside, I’d bet we’re stuck with Dubya for the duration of the decade; well, ‘09 anyway. But look at the upside—think of all the great dumb quotes we can expect through the next four years. And not just from D.C. come to think of it. Go well, be well. Bye.