Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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We’ve had some very cold weather of late. Compared to most places in the northeastern states, what has visited Nantucket would be welcomed by others. Having spoken to friends in Connecticut and one up near Boston, it’s our time to celebrate. The temperatures are colder than here, plus they have two to three feet of snow on the ground. Black ice is common as the slight melting releases water, which then freezes on roads as the sun sinks in the sky.

Living on Nantucket allows us to avoid traffic jams in icy and snowy conditions. We have our rush-hour traffic problems in July and August, and they take place (mostly) in daylight hours. Whatever one thinks about the solitude of our winter days, the island is preferable to anywhere north of Florida. Actually, Florida and much of the South have had temperatures and weather that in many ways has been worse than ours. At least we have the proper clothing to get through to May.

I have noticed that there is a fair amount of building happening on-island, and carpenters are working in the windy and overly-cold conditions. That tells me work is still somewhat scarce. I don’t have to explain to people in construction what’s next.

Soon customers will be calling for spring work. They could have done so in the fall and early winter. Few people think that having their work done early makes a difference. Now, they’ll all want a winter’s worth of work done by Memorial Day. In the time I’ve lived on Nantucket, it’s always been thus.

When I see that disposing of Miss China could cost the town $20,000, all that comes to mind is how that money could have helped out senior citizens, kids or perhaps kept a teaching assistant on the payroll. Why are we going to pay for a derelict vessel that over the past several years has done nothing worthwhile, and was an accident waiting to happen? The town needs to find ways to prevent this from taking place again.

Recently, I received a letter with part of my column from a couple of weeks past. I had used a term incorrectly and the word was circled in bright ink. The woman in question is one of my favorite people and I enjoyed being caught by her eagle eye. My mother edited my columns for 15 years and she too caught me using the same word in the wrong place. What bothered me was that I thought I was over getting it wrong. I’m an old dog that is willing to learn.

Soon it will be time to begin thinking about Town Meeting. This time around, it would be great if more folks showed up to participate in town and county affairs. I realize how tough it is for many working couples to go out and spend hours sitting in the Nantucket High School auditorium. There are complaints by voters over what did or didn’t take place at Town Meeting.
These complaints are usually from citizens who stayed home, or in some cases showed for a specific article. Of course that’s another problem: voters who wait for a single article and then traipse out the doors in clusters after the voting is complete. You may feel you’ve done your duty, but you haven’t. It has never been more important than now to get involved. People died to ensure that we have the right to govern ourselves.

Next Thursday, Feb. 3 is the first Food For Thought (aka Brown Bag Lunch) at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The speakers are Charles Clark, head of school at the Nantucket Lighthouse School, and Dave Provost from The Nantucket New School. Their subject is (what else?) “Island Schools.” Show up at the Whaling Museum by noon with a sandwich and a drink and I believe you’ll learn some things about island schools from the experts. There is no charge to attend.
– Goodman’s Gam appears regularly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

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