Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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If you didn’t go down to Children’s Beach last Saturday, you missed a tremendous event for local people. The first Nantucket Maritime Festival was an immediate success. Other than a little too much wind, the day was sunny and warm and everyone I met there was having a great time. Good food and music set the stage for the numerous contests and activities.

This was a day for kids (and there were hundreds of them) to spend time with parents and grandparents. There were hands-on projects, such as painting seashells, and other times opportunities to watch artisans work, while explaining what went into a particular craft. I didn’t see children looking anything but happy. The Build Your Own Boat Race was fun and funny. Everybody seemed to enjoy the comedic aspect of it.

The shellfish contests drew big crowds and having been primed by a fantastic raw bar were still hungry for more. There were lines all day long at the two (mostly) fried-food concessions. I visited both and could have gone back for more, but for once my head overruled my stomach. I can’t wait for next year’s festival, mainly because of how much fun this one was and to see how many more islanders will attend in the future.

I’m trying to find it in my heart to feel sorry for the many Hulbert Avenue residents now asking for property-tax abatements (story here). Folks living along that stretch are making enough that a few thousand dollars won’t change their lifestyle.

Most of us don’t own property along the Nantucket Riviera and have to scrape to pay property taxes. Some Nantucketers have had to sell their home because they could no longer afford to pay theirs. Does anyone think that this could possibly happen to homeowners on Hulbert Avenue?

I must apologize for not having mentioned a couple of things regarding political signs in front yards. Sheila Lyons (who ran in the state senate primary) sent out an e-mail to her supporters to bring their signs inside, when we were about to receive a blow from a tropical storm.

Then, I’ve got to hand it to (candidate for sheriff) Jim Perelman. He and his crew made sure that his yard signs were put up with but a week before the primary. Then, they made sure that the signs were taken down within an hour after the voting ceased. We’re a month away from the general election and the other candidate is going to allow us to see his roadside pollution the entire time.

When I see the many properties being foreclosed on each week it hurts to see friends and acquaintances losing something they’ve worked hard for. On the other hand, many of these actions are happening to people that bought interval ownerships and now can’t afford to keep them, what with a rental market that’s far short of what it was in past years. The gold rush is over.

The Nantucket Historical Association will be presenting its Food For Thought series beginning Thursday, Oct. 7. I prefer to call this the brown-bag lunch series. Show up at the Whaling Museum by noon and listen to some wonderful speakers and pertinent subject matter about our favorite sandbar.

The first week’s speakers are Bill Tramposch, who is the NHA executive director, along with Mark Avery, NHA director of historic properties. Their subject is an inside look at the NHA’s 22 buildings and grounds. You are welcome to bring a bag lunch, which I do. This is a great way to reach out to island people and you’ll learn from these sessions. Did I mention it’s free?

I see that former Nantucket sheriff Louis Ayotte passed away recently. I first met him about 30 years ago, when he appeared at my door to serve the former resident with some papers. He was about the lowest-key man I’d ever met and he did his job without causing waves, or having to raise his voice. Being sheriff is not a police job. It’s for the most part, administrative.

There’s a new book out about Boston sports teams in 2007-2008. Written by Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, the title is “Wicked Good Year.” It speaks to the Celtics and Red Sox championships that year and the Patriots’ almost perfect season. I’m mentioning this tome because Mr. Buckley uses fans to tell much of the story. Jane Hardy, Jeanne Dooley and Joan Fisher are three Nantucket sisters used to illustrate the New England Patriots and their rabid fan base. Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins fans aren’t exactly slouches when it comes to loving their respective teams.
If you’d like to contact me directly, here’s how. My e-mail address is, the phone number is 508-228-4325 and my mailing address is Box 1263, Nantucket, MA. 02554. If you want to say nasty things to me, please try to write legibly as I hate to have to strain to figure them out.
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

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