Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Another year’s end is upon us and for whatever reason, this one seems to be early. I realize that as one gets older, days, months and years fly by. In this instance, the spring and summer seasons were nearly perfect. For me, it was a dreamy, slow-moving time. Wonderful weather will do that to you. Perfect climes make people forget about time passing and what will come next.

All too soon, reality sets in and before you have time to ponder the situation, those seemingly endless days have worn down to a handful of nice days every now and again. Before you know it, a “good” day is bright, with little wind and in the mid-40s. We are now there. Nantucket feels comfortable and remains a small New England town.

That’s now. Tomorrow, this will be a small New England town with several thousand visitors, most of whom will be looking for an experience (the Stroll) not to be found where they come from. Unlike years gone by, I’ve become less bothered by this influx of tourists looking for something that isn’t found in a particular piece of ground, but what’s inside a person, or a community.

If coming to Nantucket and spending money to travel, eat, obtain lodging and buy gifts makes folks feel more in the spirit of the holidays, so be it. If something feels real, then that’s the only reality needed. For many islanders, this is a weekend to stay out of town and let the visitors take over the core district. Give them their moment. Besides, the crowds have fallen off to a more reasonable measure over the past few years.

I certainly don’t mind. How is this different than a day in July or August? We know better than to brave Main Street when crowds are there. A December hiccough is a minor inconvenience, and some of our neighbors will be able to pull in some extra cash to get them through the winter months. With luck, they’ll spread the money around to the rest of us.

While Stroll Weekend is right in front of our faces, shotgun season for deer is already happening and will continue for another week. On Tuesday, I took a ride to discard my recyclables at the dump. Other than a single hunter clothed in orange who was driving out of town, I didn’t spy anyone on the ground along Madaket Road. I remember when there would be dozens of orange blobs every few hundred yards all the way along the ride going west.

I believe that the lessened pressure out that way could be due to fewer off-island hunters, and more posted land. Or, it could be that I was at the wrong end of the island. A couple of people have told me that there appear to less hunters coming to Nantucket each year. Not as many people have the wherewithal to take a week from work and pay for a place to stay out here these days. A poor economy could lead to a higher deer population on-island.

Speaking of deer populations, the southeastern part of Massachusetts is becoming almost as overpopulated with the four-footed critters as Nantucket. For many hunters used to taking the boat over here, a drive to the Cape is easier and less expensive. We have posted so much acreage, year by year, that finding a place to hunt is diminishing.

Seeing a notice in the I&M that Melo had passed away was a shock. I first met her in 1973. She left the island a while back, and like many people who come and go, I often wonder where they are. Melo was a sweet, funny woman. That’s how I’ll remember her.

The passing of Ernie Davis was sad. Even though he was almost 90, Ernie was in better shape than many folks half his age. He ran a nice, old-fashioned guest house, an entity that is close to extinction around here. Ernie will be missed.
Hanukkah began at sundown last night. This is a great holiday for kids.

Happy Birthday, Beth.

– David Goodman
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

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