Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Monday morning we celebrate Columbus Day. For most of us this is just another three-day weekend. There are likely to be more visitors to the island should the weather be nice on this holiday. We often have a visitor from the northeast to commingle with the other off-islanders. According to weather forecasts, however, we are due to have cooler temperatures than normal, with no storms in sight.

I was shocked by the announcement of Margot Hartmann becoming president and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. They got it right, selecting her. Isn’t it about time we had a leader who has actually labored in the trenches? The hospital has had bureaucrats/bean-counters running it as long as I am able to remember. Dr. Hartmann is a refreshing change to lead the hospital.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed how many traffic signs are lost in foliage around the island. There are dozens of stop signs obliterated, with speed-limit signs running in second place. Aside from hedges and trees masking signage, there are myriad streets where a driver has to edge out into traffic (risking an accident) in order to avoid an accident.

Then there are people who have urged the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting to adopt national standards for our bike paths. These measures would mean trimming back undergrowth along the paths, in order to improve visibility for both riders and drivers as well. At one point there were branches hanging over the paths, not to mention paths that became too narrow for a couple of bikes to pass by one another.

Most of the complaints have come from riders who live out of town and use the Polpis bike path. My supposition is that there are fewer riders on that particular path, compared to the Surfside or Madaket bike paths. The path on the Milestone bike path is the oldest and the least impacted by overactive plant life. On Tuesday, the DPW was clearing part of the Polpis bike path. Now for the rest of the offending brush . . .

I was happy to see that our current sheriff has taken back his opposition to using the soon to be “old police station” as a new sheriff’s office. It has been said that Richard Bretschneider caved to town administrators and the police department. I’d like to add that it may help him secure a few votes in the upcoming election.

Last week’s Nantucket Maritime Festival went over very well. An officer on duty at the festival estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people attended. Even if the low estimate is accurate, that was an exceptional number of people, having a wonderful day in the sun. I can’t wait for the second version of the festival.

Another recent happening here was the opening of family scalloping season. A friend of mine went out for her first time on Sunday. For a couple of weeks prior to the season we conferred on waders and the other accouterments necessary to harvesting and opening the tasty mollusks. This time around, our favorite shellfish is more precious than in recent years, and that’s saying quite a bit.

My friend and her husband set out to push-rake the Monomoy area. We had both heard that there were a handful of scallops there, compared to almost nothing down harbor and in Madaket Harbor. I received an e-mail that evening, reporting that the two novices had brought home a little over two dozen scallops. Not only that, they were checked out by a warden and their catch was legal.

I was taken aback when I read that they figured out how to open the scallops by watching a YouTube video. It seemed as if the old way of learning to open by watching someone in a shanty had gone the way of dragging dredges behind catboats. Still and all, it was a good first try.

It appears that beachcombing has taken on a new meaning of late. I had a friend (back in the 1970s), who used to go walking along the south shore, looking for flotsam and jetsam. On most of his early-morning walks, he found fishing lures, along with the usual debris we are all used to seeing. One morning he found the body of a gentleman who drowned several days before. That put an end to his early-morning jaunts.

The New York Yankees’ hopes of capturing the American League East title were put to rest by Boston Red Sox last Sunday. That wasn’t as good as getting into the playoffs, but that made most of us feel a little better about the way the season ended.

The New England Patriots put a hurting on the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. A road win against a division rival goes a long way to boosting a team’s spirit. Our Whalers had a road win this past week, too.
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

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