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Last Friday evening I was on a beach out at the west end. There were dozens of people alongside of me, waiting for Earl to make landfall. It was a party atmosphere, much like one might find on a holiday weekend. This wasn’t exactly a celebration, but the mood was one of exhilaration as we watched huge rollers come crashing onto the beach.
We were watching the Ratner peninsula take the brunt of an angry sea. Even with immense sandbags in place, some of the spray from the waves was pouring down the roof. Most of those attending the event were expecting to see a house wash into the sea.
Had Earl not fallen apart, or the high tides come at the height of a real storm, their wishes might have been met. As it was, the house stood through the watery attack and is now surrounded by a moat on three sides. The sandbags are now standing free of the perimeter of Mr. Ratner’s Folly. (I have now found out that the house later partially collapsed).
This is a case of a self-centered man who feels no anguish at the damage he has caused by armoring his house. His sandbags have caused scouring of the beach on both sides of his refuge from the waves. In turn, a house to the left of him fell in the wash a few years ago. The house to his right is on the verge of losing the last 15 feet of land in front of it, before it’s going to be sitting on the beach.
Another problem with the sandbagging is that once they fall apart, the bags become a hazard to mariners. Were a boater to tangle with the floating fabric, it would effectively shut the engines down, what with the props being smothered by the dense nylon cloth. That’s exactly what happened to the M/V Eagle earlier this week. As yet, I haven’t heard of the origin of the offending sand bags.
We now have debris floating away from the scene and it’s likely there’s more to come. Should the Ratner house be destroyed, tons of lumber and other building materials would be unleashed on the surrounding beach and into the water. Would anyone care to guess who’s going to pay for the cleanup?
Now, for an unselfish act by someone that cares about Nantucket and our community. Michael Kopko has withdrawn his bid to become sheriff and has thrown his support to Jim Perelman. The race has numerous candidates and Michael’s act has simplified the choice for many voters.
Now that the election has been mentioned, please go to the polls at the Nantucket High School Sept. 14 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and cast your ballot. Just because this is a primary doesn’t mean it’s any less important than the general election.
The possibility of Earl and Labor Day had many vacationers clearing out before the weekend. As it turned out, all they missed was an overnight downpour. The important thing was that people were prepared for the worst and we escaped unscathed. After what happened to the island in 1991 and then watching the destruction Katrina wrought, we did all the right things.
Now for three community events that are fun as well as informative. First on the list is the third Elder Expo, brought to us by the Nantucket Council on Aging and the Nantucket Center for Elder Affairs. The Expo isn’t only for seniors. Over 50s (baby boomers) are part of the program. Stop by the Nantucket High School, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.
There will be music, demonstrations of arts and crafts, health, beauty and fitness advice, along with other timely advice (pun intended) for oldsters. There will be medical screenings, speakers, snacks and lunch to be had. And, it’s free! Call the Saltmarsh Senior Center at (508) 228-4490 if you need transportation or further information.
The Nantucket Park & Rec Island Fair will be held over this upcoming weekend. This is always great fun. On Saturday, the gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. On Sunday, it opens at 11 a.m. and it wraps by 4 p.m. There are numerous contests, such as the largest pumpkin, vegetables, fruits and flowers, as well as best apple pie.
I’m looking forward to the incredibly tasty, but gut-busting fried fish, plus standard fair foods. There are going to be a couple of shows, pony-cart rides and many other activities. Come on out to Tom Nevers, you’ll enjoy catching up with friends that you haven’t seen over the past summer.
Next week, I’ll have information about the 2010 Maritime Festival (an event very similar the Seafest we used to enjoy). This will take place at Children’s Beach and a couple of other venues in the vicinity. It will open on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. and will conclude that afternoon at 4 p.m. You don’t to miss this; it’s going to be huge!
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space, and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.