Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Fall is here. Our weather has stayed absolutely beautiful and it shows in people’s attitudes. I see faces that mirror the good feelings brought about by sun, warmth and lately, a lack of windy conditions. This time of the year we wish the sun would set a bit later, but I find that the soft orange glow emitted by Old Sol feels warmer than a 90-degree day in August. Another month of this and facing winter won’t seem quite as much of a chore.

I would like to thank our state representative, Tim Madden and state senator, Dan Wolf, for opposing casino-gambling in Massachusetts. They’re in the minority, as most legislators see this as a way to collect more money to help fund the state budget. It may look that way, but the social ills that it will likely engender may well set the Commonwealth back by having to treat those who become gambling addicts.

Look at what the Massachusetts lottery has done to many people. When I am in places where tickets are sold, it’s amazing to see how many Nantucketers are hard-core buyers of scratch tickets. Very often you’ll see the same people out in their car, scratching away at tickets and then returning to buy more tickets. Even when these folks win, the money goes back to pay for more scratch tickets from the store from which they were purchased.

The lottery likes to make the point that all of the money (other than expenses) goes back to local governments. That sounds fine. I have to wonder how many citizens are left living at an income level that’s less than they normally would, had they not spent so much on scratch tickets. It isn’t unusual to see people spending $30 to $50 at a time, trying to strike it rich. They’ll be back the next day and the day after. I buy a couple of $1 tickets (not scratch) when the prizes exceed $10 million. After all, if I’m going to lose my money, I’d like it be a huge loss.

I have to wonder if the Board of Selectmen is going to go back to holding their meetings in the Town & County Building now that the summer’s done. I recall that was their plan when they had a test run on meeting at the new police station. The test is over and my guess is that they’ll stay where they are. It’s sad, because this would be one more blow to keeping downtown Nantucket alive and viable.

Speaking of that, it was sad to hear that the Even Keel is going to be closing in just over a week. The same man that is asking these rents for his downtown properties is now poised to build more luxury units at the White Elephant. Of course, the guests staying at these units wouldn’t be likely to eat at the Even Keel anyway. You may be sure that someone will lease the Main Street building that used to be the Even Keel, Espresso Café and at one time The Sweet Shop.

Now for this Saturday, Oct. 1. Family scalloping begins that morning and from all I’ve heard, this should be a very good season. Next up, is the Maritime Festival which takes place at Children’s Beach, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. This is a great day for locals. This isn’t advertised off-island, it’s for us.

There are going to be tours of Brant Point Lighthouse and the shellfish lab, a scallop-shucking competition, paddleboard races, a harpoon-throwing contest and much, much more. There will be live music, good food and you’ll know most of the people there.

Later that day, there’s the Scallopers Ball. This takes place at the Nantucket Yacht Club and is another activity that is geared toward islanders. You will hear great local music, enjoy fantastic food and once again, run into many of your friends and acquaintances that you haven’t seen since last spring. It takes place from 6:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Bookworks and there will be people selling them on Main Street on Oct. 1.
– David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror.

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