Saltaire Summery
Volume 48, Issue 7
By Hugh O’Brien

Here it is, July nearly 2/3 gone already, and they still can only give us maybe half a weekend's worth of good weather, most week's ends. Even the promised Sunday semi-nor'easter failed to materialize, at least as of 6 p.m., nary a drop or heavy zephyr, just enough clouds to ruin the day without a productive maelstrom to give it some interest. Climatically, if not climactically, a dullish, unsatisfactory sort of summer, so far. This is why they invented hurricanes.
Still, every week VOSers are managing to cram in enough athletic competitions, social engagements, community festivals and wasteful government programs to keep anyone involved and on their toes day in and day out. Since it's a long-accepted truism that kids are our most precious resource, next to platinum and oil, a brief recap of just one week's camp activities shows not only how much there is to do and learn about out here, but how strong and dedicated is the recreation staff we're fortunate enough to have at the helm of our children's summer.
Just in the last week, the eight-year-olds took a field trip to the Lighthouse; the seniors (ages 10-12) went to Ocean Beach for soccer and corkball tournaments; on Tuesday there was a puppet show and on Wednesday a magic show (both annual faves); and the Youth Basketball Camp was very successfully run. A couple of other perennials, the excursion to Sunken Forest and the fishing trip for eights and overs, are in the offing as we e-mail. Recently begun and now ongoing is the Teen Club Volleyball + Pizza remedial program, started Wed. a week back and now slated for Mons. & Weds. for the balance of the summer; participants will learn different methods and customs of consuming pizza (knife-and-fork vs. hand-held, folded vs. the straight shove) and conduct pop quizzes about the origins of various toppings as they play evening volleyball, at 6 p.m. twice weekly (check with the camp or that repository of information and kept data, the village office, for details). Also going strong are the Yotuh Yoga sessions Wednesdays, the tot pre-swim program and Kim Lincoln's assorted library activities – all at strong attendance levels.
And coming forward are two further talks from the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Conservancy folks, on July 31 and Aug. 14 (usually at the gazebo; their topics, or visiting creatures, aren't known yet), as well as Volleyball Camp, Aug. 2-6, “probably” [their sign] from 2-5 p.m. daily, $60 per child; no details about where or with whom you register, so visit our aforementioned site @ climbtheofficestairsandaskmariomargueirteorliz.vos for information. Or check with Chuck or talk with Ted. Meanwhile, our regular space camp zooms onward at full tilt, a great staff at the controls, as summer nears its halfway point... already! A few people are actually panting to get back to school. Nah.
A couple of other non-camp athleticisms for the physically motivated.... Ralph Perlberger's presiding over perhaps the finest season of summer soccer ever, he reports, as a precursor to an early reminder that the Annual Soccer Tourney will tournerize August 14-15: details in the succeeding two issues. Be pre-advised also (meaning you're being advised before you're being advised) of the set date for the Jogathon, that selfsame weekend of 8/14-15 (registration the first day, wondering what possessed you to register the next); details to follow in the coming weeks; the air over Broadway by the field is likely to be rather humid on that Ides. The 10K is... well, still too far off to depress you yet with talk of the dreaded September. Oops.
And before passing on to other knots in the village tapestry, the most important item I have to report this week concerns our lifeguards, eight of whom took the grueling – and I'm not yakking lightly: I mean gruel, as in rhymes with cruel – the grueling, salty, shivering, exhausting, yet ultimately personally immensely gratifying ocean lifeguard safety test last Friday. The thing lasts for hours, takes its physical and emotional toll, and is not, well, a day at the beach -- but it shows just how ready all our guards are for precisely such an unwanted day at the beach, if and when a rescue becomes necessary. Six of our crew passed the test with flying colors and sandy bottoms: Courtney Jones, Tyson Pfaffe, David Carswell, Rachel Szakmary, Tom Steinmetz and Cathy Jameson. Dan Hunter and Charles Wirene just barely missed passing the ordeal, a very common occurrence; but it was their first time ever taking the test (a lot of people don't quite pass the first time out, so tough and exacting a trial is this), they came very close, and may have knocked themselves out a little the day before, when they both took and passed the bay lifeguard test, hardly some wading-pool exercise, either. They'll ace it next go. Congratulations to everyone concerned. These guys serve the public of this community selflessly – literally prepared to put their lives on the line to save others – and we owe them our thanks and respect. Best of all, they're our people – real Saltairians, of the finest kind. Good work, every one, recently tested or otherwise.
Le Club Des Yachts... ah, much has been afoot in our little joint of late, and more impends. My opening lob is a belated report on the results of the Mixed-Up Doubles Tournament of the 10/11; Randi Malinsky & Ben Terk took the comp in blazing battle against Carole Sirovich & Aaron Malinsky, and no, I have no idea what things were like at the Malinsky homestead that evening; there were no ambulance calls, that's our main thing. The consolation round went to Mark Valente & Barbara rosenblum, over Dick Stewart & Laura Nowak. (I love Carole Sirovich, who's always so helpful – and indulgent – in giving me these results; precise, too, befitting a mathematician. “Laura Nowak,” she told me, pronouncing it “Novak”, adding, “en-oh-doubleyou-a-kay”. Wery vonderful.) Next stop: the Women's Doubles, this weekend. Trophies arrive Labor Day.
Commodore Steve Trentacoste, meantime, reported the outcome of the annual fishing tournament Sunday. Personally, I think he makes these categories up as he goes along, but for the record, Steve states, it was Paul Kampa who caught the biggest fish – it was this big – isn't that amazing? – and for the third year in a row, too. Steve believes Paul's winning only because the previous all-time champ, Steve Goldstein, has been absent these weekends over the past three summers, depriving the group of a challenge from the best & the brightest, or at any rate from the guy with the most gear; anyway, the Commode was overheard mulling the possibility of changing the date next year, quote, “to give Paul some competition”, yeah, right, as if this were a democracy or meritocracy or piscatocracy or some ditsy goofy thing. J.R. Rieger fished out the biggest fluke (this is another of those “Kommodore's Krazy Kategories”) for another top prize, and Ken Larson's boat, the Grand Larsony, got the cup for catching the most fish.
Actually the people on board did that, catching the fish I mean, they were just collectively on Kenny's boat , so it was like the whole boat got the award. Y'know? Nine boats participated, three foundered after striking a grill left over from the sailing picnic, one sped away to join the Sayville Yacht Club, one landed on Sexton Island where the crew quickly amassed a fortune in real estate, a sixth got into the lucrative business of ferrying daytrippers on one-way dives to the sites of sunken U-Boats, and the remaining trio made port and grabbed the last five pitchers of Margaritas. Sounds like a time.
Tapping its way Clubward this weekend... the SYC Saturday Night Dance Party. Everything but the TV cameras and the lip-synched lyrics. “I'm sorry, the bridge is washed out, you'll have to stay here tonight – Blahh!” department: if Connie Lawler is running to schedule, by the time you read this it'll be TOO LATE to enroll in... Bridge Camp... the deadline – heh-heh – for which is July 22. Perhaps, if you beg.... Oh, and have I mentioned how good the dinners are at the Club this year?
And the lunches? And the Friday night barbecues? Okay, I'm not going that far, even for a free meal. And the late-nite snax? Even the breakfasts, which they don't even serve. I'm waiting.... Oh, another thing: Steve Kunreuther wanted me to correct a minor misstatement from the other week; only members may attend the Thursday night classic movie. Steve thinks it only fair that only the people who pay for the place should be compelled to hear my intros. An inducement to membership!
The Fire Company, a large portion of which spent Sunday morn training at Yaphank to extinguish the propane fires which might soon become a fixture of village life (just kidding – I trust; the Co. did, however, undertake such field exercises), will commence a happier chore of the Saltairian summer as it sponsors our annual (Twenty-)Fourth-of-July Parade this Saturday, starting at 11:30 from the firehouse & environs, all its environs in the fire. The marching band, the shuffling firemen, the rolling stock, including our showcase item, the New Two (the replacement no. 2 truck, a.k.a. The Board Groaner), will all set off more or less on time, cutting a wide swath through the village before coming to rest, spent, drummed and xylophoned out, back at the starting point maybe half an hour later, joined by neighboring depts. and trailed by kids and streetsweepers. Brand-name soda this time! Generic beer, though. Plus dogs of heat. Maybe a demonstration of the new truck's deck gun. Perfect for breaking up municipal riots. (Security Chief Bull O'Connor?) No definite word on any inter-departmental competition, however. I misspoke the other week when I said we'd beaten the others (Fair Harbor) last year; it was 2002. But no sign of a contest yet. Maybe once every three years is enough. It takes us that long to recover.
The SCAA's House & Garden Tour packed in record crowds last Saturday, we gather; enough to keep down the passing traffic along lower (upper?) Broadway while the Great and Powerful Wizard of Bazaars was rolled out for the masses by the misses, really Mrs., i.e., Brown, Cook, Meluso et al, with Mrs. Watts missing, musing and amusing at a conference (Montreal, I believe) with husband David. I'll get a financial report as soon as the auditors finish with Martha Stewart's inventory. Great pies and cakes, too. Yet all this was but a precursor to the mighty Music & Arts Festival, coming Sat., Aug. 7, commencing with the daylong Broadway Art Sale, 10-4, by the field. Now, I've got a question about the posted schedule: it reads, String Quartet, gazebo, 11-1; then, North Shore Woodwinds, gazebo, 11-1. Okay, this is the kind of thing we've been waiting for - Dueling Viols, normally sedate musicians, enraged, smashing each other for room at the gazebo, eyes poked with bows, resin cases tossed around, flutes jammed into cellos and violas lopping off oboes. Cool. (I take it there is no time/site overlap; or do both really perform together, in harmony? Either way, the music is always lovely. We will advise.) The Capt. Al Watermelon party takes place at the playground from 3:30-5, and the whole day dries up with the bayfront picnic at 6, in front of some unsuspecting homeowner's abode, with pleasant sunset music via the Mike Barry Trio a tranquil coda to the day. Thanks to Pia Notaro and Cheryl Valente, primarily, as ever.
Word from Patrick McElhone! He telephoned a member of the Fire dept. as we were about to march into a row of burning propane tanks (no kidding – great timing), from Kuwait, of all places: I guarantee you the first time a call from Kuwait was ever received at Yaphank. Anyway, he's doing well – better than we were at that moment – but no word as to his next deployment. Good of Pat, so far from home, to take the time to drop a dinar and let us know how he's doing. Be well, P.
Since our presidential trivia routine a few weeks ago proved such a hit, leave us note the otherwise scarcely-remarked upon birthday last week of Gerald R. Ford, who turned 91 July 14, only the second prez, after Ronnie, to pass 90. Jerry'd have to make it to Nov. 12, 2006, to surpass the Gipper's mileage, but who knows? He looks pretty good. He even looks good, okay at least, as president. Amazing how that happens after 20 or 30 years, isn't it. Think Bush baby will manage that in 2034? Nahhhh. God couldn't do that to us, could he? One miracle per career is enough, isn't it? By the way, go see the infamous “Fahrenheit 9/11”. When the loons at Fox News start calling it propaganda (duh!), you know you should at least go see the movie, which is probably more than any of that bunch has bothered to. When even Frank Markus publicly mutters about possibly voting for Kerry (still a hundred-to-one shot)... well, actually, then I do begin to wonder. Our new motto: I report. I decide. I. I. Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay.
Next week: the conventions, plus fearless forecasts.