Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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There may be drought conditions in many areas in this country and the rest of the world, but a lack of water isn’t a problem on Nantucket. Some places on our diminutive sand spit have saltwater intrusion in wells and Hummock Pond is full of nasty algae that are making its waters unsuitable for swimming and fishing.

Having said that, other bodies of water, mostly ponds (and mud puddles) on-island are full up to the brim. The aforementioned Hummock Pond and Sesachacha Pond are lower than normal, due to having been opened up to the ocean recently. Before the two ponds were drained they were close to three feet higher than they are at present.

Long Pond, which is somewhat open to the sea, is a good foot above normal. I checked Gibbs Pond and Washing Pond as well. They’re not flooded, though an extra couple of feet have been added to their depths. We don’t need a weatherman to tell if there’s a drought or a surplus of water around these parts.

About two weeks ago, I began seeing and hearing Christmas ads on the TV and radio. Then, I came into town to do a few errands and the Christmas trees were being anchored between the bricks all around the core district. It isn’t even Thanksgiving, and we’ve moved beyond it. I suppose there will be ads for Valentine’s Day shortly before the new year.

Our town arborist Dale Gary (aka DPW Dale) had an interesting encounter with a tree he was removing last week. Usually, Dale is the victor, but in this case, the tree won the first skirmish. While cutting a Federal Street elm down to size, his chain saw blade was trashed by a large chunk of cement that had been placed inside a hollow portion of said tree.

The mortar mix couldn’t be seen until it had already done the damage. I’ve noticed trees (off-island) with similar chunks of cement and some that were filled with brickwork. Here, there aren’t that many large trees, particularly packed with mortar, so this was an unforeseen event.

Inserted in last week’s I&M was the high school newspaper, Veritas. This publication is always a wonderful read, and last week’s edition was no exception. There were several articles by former students who had written for the paper, describing their first few months in college. I found the experiences enlightening, though no more so than the former staffers had.

Last Saturday evening the Nantucket Junior Miss contest took place at the high school auditorium. Ashley Clinger (a Veritas staffer) was second runner-up, with Sarah Andrews as first runner-up. Georgina Morley (a Veritas editor) won the 2010 Nantucket Junior Miss title. Congratulations to the nine contestants, their “big sisters,” and all of the other folks that made the entire event come to fruition!

I’m third on the waiting list at the Atheneum to receive a copy of an upcoming best-selling piece of fiction. The name of the weighty tome is….”Going Rogue.” Or is it “Goin’ Rogue.” Dang.
There was an interesting New York Times article concerning the comeback of bay scallops around Long Island. In New York, fishermen are allowed a limit of ten bushels per day, and their opening price was $12 per pound. Compared to the five-bushel limit and the prices local fishermen are making, bay men to the south of us are doing better than well.

Captain Pete Kaizer had a beautifully-written commentary that ran in the Boston Globe this past Monday. Pete made his case that the over-fishing of herring is contributing to the dearth of tuna and striped bass populations. Without food, the predator fish will eventually starve. Squid are another stock that is being over-fished. It’s a matter of time before human beings find a way to use up any and every resource at our disposal.

Next Thursday (Turkey Day) at 10 a.m. is going to be the eighth annual Cold Turkey Plunge. If you wish to immerse yourself in the balmy harbor waters, then show up at Children’s Beach by 9:15 in order to register. Pledges made to sponsor swimmers go to help fund the Nantucket Atheneum Weezie Library for Children. Please visit the Atheneum to obtain information for the event.

I noticed there are a number of categories that have prizes attached to them. Two of these attracted my interest. They are for the farthest traveled male and female. As far as I know, simply traveling into the water on Thanksgiving Day is further than I’m inclined to go.

Google News Alerts sent me a warning that 17,000 sweatshirts have recalled, due to a possible strangulation hazard. The Chinese-made jackets and sweats have drawstrings that could be problematic. Why is this pertinent to us? Some of the sweatshirts and jackets have the name Nantucket on them, as well as a number of other tourist-oriented communitie. Most of these items are taken off-island, so the risk is minimal if you actually reside here.

In the past couple of days, both the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post carried articles about the further financial difficulties encountered by Bob Matthews, former owner of the Point Breeze fiasco. It seems that Mr. Matthews’ project, The Heart of Palm Hotel, was taken back after he couldn’t come up with the necessary $22.2 million.

Next week he may lose a prime acre of land in Palm Beach if he’s unable to produce $20.1 million. I noticed that the Matthews’ house (Casa Bendita) has the highest delinquent property tax in Palm Beach County, amounting to just less than $265,000. Maybe his house name needs to be changed to Casa Bandita.
David Goodman writes Goodman’s gam weekly in this space and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

5 Responses to “Goodman’s Gam”

  1. Greg Garber Says:

    One of the inherent problems with the regional fishery is that the small New England states historically have not acted collaboratively. Up until three years ago, I could walk into any bait shop on the North Shore and get a 5-gallon bucket of fresh blueback herring for $15. Not any more; yet, I hear you can still do so in Maine, an hour’s drive up the coast. Ironically, Maine has for years had the same slot limit on stripers (20 to 26 inches) that is currently languishing in conference committee in the Mass. Legislature. Although I am not a socialist by nature, with respect to the fisheries, we won’t turn things around until everyone from Maine to Maryland gets on the same page.

  2. David Says:

    Greg, If you’re able to find two fishermen to agree on any subject relating to the fishery… **David**

  3. Bob Lelle Says:

    Hi David:

    Nice to have you back. Hope you’re feeling OK.

    I’ve been away from ACK since my dear wife Rene Lelle died almost 11 years ago, but I’m still a regular Inky reader. FYI: I actually framed your very touching “eulogy” of Rene’s passing in your March 1999 column.

    Your point about Christmas coming a tad early is well taken. It happens everywhere. So….I’m leaving for Paris on December 15th to see their beautiful Christmas lighting. I mention this because they don’t do any Christmas decorating/lighting/etc until TWO WEEKS before Christmas! It makes it very special.

    Stay well and keep up the good writing.

    Happy Thanksgiving….despite the Christmas trees!

    Bob Lelle

  4. David Says:

    Bob, I think you know how much I thought of Rene, and the sorrow of never seeing her again. Having said that, you might think about returning to Nantucket, if only for a day or two. Paris does sound good at any time of the year. I like the Christmas trees, it just seems early. **David**

  5. Bob Lelle Says:

    David: Thanks for remembering Rene. I know you cared for her. Fortunately her spirit lives on. My last visit to ACK someone told me she thinks she heard Rene laughing on Main Street! Ahh…that wonderful laugh! Actually David, I do come to the island at least once a year, to celebrate an anniversary Mass at St Mary’s. This year I’ll be there for her mass on Sunday, March 21, at 11 AM. I also run a special memorial ad in the Inky that same week. My “sorrow of never seeing her again” is filled with the memories of 42 years of a wonderful, loving friendship.

    Maybe I’ll run into you on the 21st.

    All the best, Bob

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