Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

I suppose we’re now ensconced in what’s known as the shoulder season. While it’s springtime by the calendar, summer is here, if one goes by the weather we’re enjoying each day. This is a difficult time of year for many of us. There’s work to be done, yet the beaches are calling us. Normally, this depressing syndrome doesn’t set in until after the Fourth of July.

This time of year, we have been watching flowers, trees and lawns, rapidly growing. Another item I’ve noticed sprouting, are yard sale signs. Most of these are posted illegally. Utility poles and public street and traffic signs are off-limits, though you’d never know it. Some of them have numerous sales signs affixed to them.

I wouldn’t mind them so much, if yard-sale folks would remove the signage after the sale is concluded. This practice is visual pollution, and because the paper signs eventually fall to the ground, it’s also littering. I realize this is going to sound like I’m a shill for the I&M, but how about sticking to classified ads for your next yard sale? There are local online sites that post ads, too.

If you’re like most of us, scenes being broadcast on television news of the explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have to make a chill run down your spine. This disaster will affect all of us. We may not have drilling platforms off our coast, but I can’t help thinking about the possibility of an oil tanker breaking up (again) in our waters.

I’ve seen videos of what the gulf spill would look like, should it happen here. Then there’s the fact, that in some fashion, some of this spill will creep up the Eastern Seaboard and come ashore on Nantucket. Let’s hope there’s an end to the flow, before it fouls up the entire East Coast. It appears that the Gulf is going to be in critical condition for many years to come.

One of the first people I met upon moving to the island was Tony Viera. A few years later, in the mid 1970s, I lived in a house next door to him on Cato Lane. At the time, his yard was what I like to call casual Nantucket style (apologies to Leslie Linsley). In other words, his grounds held some collectibles found at yard sales, the dump, maybe a boat, lobster pots and the obligatory clam/push rake with a wire basket.

Until making a delivery a few weeks back, I hadn’t had any occasion to drive down Cato Lane for at least 20 years. When I came upon Tony’s collection of second-hand goods, the amount he had amassed was considerable. For a moment the enormity surprised me, but then I realized, nothing Tony (ever) did was conducted on a small scale.

Other than the vote about deer hunting at Town Meeting, this spring, I haven’t heard much talk about ticks. While visiting a work site last week, I found the tiny pests are still with us and at least where I was walking, they’re doing all too well.

In less than twenty yards, I picked up four of the little buggers. Three were dog ticks, which led me to inspect my legs more closely. I then found a single deer tick. Had I not been wearing shorts, it’s likely they would have had time to reach other areas undetected.

Not having found a tick on myself for several years, I’d become careless, thinking a back yard was safe ground. Once again, I’ll have to remember ticks are everywhere. Nantucket may be mostly sand and scrub, but we have to have the hardiest and most prolific populations of poison ivy and ticks.
Isn’t there some kind of industry that could be fashioned from the two? Perhaps we could manufacture terrariums, replete with ticks crawling over the noxious vines. Come up with the right name (gotta have Nantucket in it) and they’d fly off the shelves come summertime. The rest of the year, there’s always mail order and FedEx.

Town clerk Catherine Flanagan Stover let me know that there is still time to be counted in the 2010 Federal Census. If an enumerator hasn’t caught up with you, call her at (508) 228-7217 with your name and address. Every uncounted resident is a possible loss of $1,100 to the town. This is particularly important in the case of natural disasters and the amount of aid we’d receive.

The Boston Celtics fell behind the Los Angeles Lakers by a score of two games to one in the NBA finals. Having home-court advantage is no longer theirs, and to win the championship, they’ll have to pull it off on the left coast. They desperately need to win the next two at the Garden. Boston Red Sox pitching is beginning to rise to the standards we were expecting prior to the season. The fielding is clicking as well, and their batting average(s) have been robust. Happiness is a winning team. Be well.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space.

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