Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Town Meeting took place last week, though it seems not many townspeople were aware of it. Having attended all three evenings and seeing so many unfilled seats in the auditorium, you’d have thought there had been a scheduling mistake. Could it be that school vacation was taking place? No, just another case of I don’t give a damn.

On Monday night some folks stayed home to watch UConn win the NCAA basketball crown. Tuesday there was a Boston Red Sox game at Cleveland. I had no qualms about missing an early-season game that the Sox would go on to lose. I am saddened and somewhat disgusted that so few of our fellow citizens are willing to participate in something essential to our way of government.

As one fellow said to me on the closing night, “A lack of voters makes my vote that much more valuable.” How right he is. When less than 10 percent of registered voters weigh in on town business, a single vote is powerful. It’s no longer a drop in the bucket. Most places, a single vote is minuscule in the scheme of things. On Nantucket, we have all seen a single vote pass articles at Town Meeting and local elections decided by one person’s vote.

Recently I commented on how there were fewer political signs in people’s front yards. Sure as the sun will rise each morning, a few days later signs were everywhere. My favorite yard had signs from two opposing candidates. Either there were two inhabitants with differing views, or the household didn’t know which way to turn. One candidate for selectman told me he was going to pull up his campaign signs right after the polls closed rather than sit nervously, waiting for the final tally. Jim Perelman made sure that his signs were gone within a couple of hours after his successful run for sheriff.

This column is going to be turned in before results of the election on Tuesday have been counted. For all the folks who took the time to vote, thank you. Those that couldn’t spare 15 minutes to act like a citizen, shame on you. I (along with fellow registrars of voters Carolyn Gould and Janet Coffin) helped 20 voters cast their ballots at Our Island Home. For many of the residents, just getting up in the morning is an effort, yet they did their duty.

While I’m on the subject of Our Island Home, the activities that are available to the residents are quite varied. I’m most familiar with the art classes conducted by Kathy Duncombe. Kathy was one of the first people I encountered upon moving to Nantucket. She is terrific with the folks in her class. She’s reminiscent of many nurses: tender inside but tough when needed. Her students have an obvious love for Kathy and she for them. Not only that, the artwork is well done.

Then there are two art teachers at Nantucket Elementary School. Karen “Miss O” Olszewski and Rob Head guide their over 600 pupils through art that transcends the stick figures and clay ashtrays we used to turn out. In my case, neither was collectible. That isn’t the case with these kids. They’re not only encouraged by their teachers, but many of the kids are truly talented.

Over the past three years the elementary-school art has been displayed in several storefronts on Main Street and in the Town and County Building on Broad Street. This year, Bob Pollack offered a couple of his windows for displays and I can’t thank him enough for his generosity. Now, it’s time to get ready for his summer displays and I’m trying to find other windows to display the kids’ artwork. Any help would be appreciated.

I received an e-mail this morning complaining about something I’d written two weeks back. To summarize, the e-mailer received a text from a friend saying I had said this, that and the other. I replied that it might be wise to read my column prior to dumping on me and my words, most of which were never said.

To that end, here are the pertinent ways to contact me. My phone number is (508) 228-4325, the mailing address is P.O. Box 1263, Nantucket, MA 02554. No letter bombs, please. If you’d like to e-mail me about the contents of this column (assuming you’ve read it) I can be reached at
– David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears regularly in this space and The Inquirer and Mirror

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