Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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Nantucket lost an important member of our community last week, when Whitey Willauer passed away in a Boston hospital. I got to know Whitey a few years ago when he was first elected as a selectman. He was the most involved member of the BOS, in my memory, since Bernie Grossman. It’s unlikely we will see another member of the board that has the time and will to serve this island as diligently as Whitey.

Now that we’re well into July, it feels as if things have calmed down from the craziness that took place the week before and following celebrations on Independence Day. That won’t mean much as August is coming soon. Then, Nantucket reaches our saturation point, and it’s full steam ahead until the week before Labor Day arrives.

There was a time when our season ran from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The idea of “shoulder seasons” wasn’t even an idea. Then, visitors began coming here for Columbus Day, Christmas Stroll, and Daffodil Weekend. Our season(s) expanded to include those holidays, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and weekends in spring and fall when weather forecasts predicted nice weather.

Today, many homeowners (some with their own aircraft) spend time here when they have a few days of free time. I appreciate seeing people visiting here in colder months. They see what Nantucket is when things are what I would call “normal.” Too many folks think that this is merely a vacation spot. Year-round citizens know better.

Sometimes we miss the beauty of a place we inhabit every day. Every now and again, we need to sit back and remember that living here is our permanent vacation. Any time I leave this heap of sand, even for a day, coming back home is an adrenaline rush. There are few experiences that are comparable to that feeling. I doubt many people have that zing, when they come back to wherever they live.

Balloons filled with helium fascinate kids and adults alike. The problem with these floating objects is that they often are released into the air, whether deliberately or by mistake. Either way, they are a hazard to many creatures, from birds to sea turtles. I’ve seen these far offshore, and tangled on electric lines and in trees.

People who wouldn’t throw litter on the ground often litter the ground and sea by letting go of balloons. There is a petition being passed around the island asking the BOS to prevent the sale and use of helium balloons on Nantucket. Let’s hope they take a close look at this situation. What do you think?

My goal this summer is to sample every lobster roll (under $25) on-island. So far, I’ve tried four: the Downyflake, Oyster Crackas, Sea Dog Brew Pub and most recently, Dune. All three were very good, with the Downyflake being an eatery I frequent most often, lobster roll or not.

The other three were outstanding, but then, their rolls were twice the price of the Flake. So far, I have yet to eat any lobster that wasn’t tasty, anywhere, anytime. At Dune, the French fries accompanying my lunch were the best I’ve ever tasted. A friend with me tried the frites and agreed that these were special spuds. They came close to eclipsing the lobster roll.

Next Monday will be the third anniversary of my liver transplant. I bring this up not to celebrate, but because there are several hundred people living here with Hepatitis C that are unaware that they have the virus. The Nantucket AIDS Network conducts free testing for both Hep C and AIDS. Baby-boomers are most at risk. I had Hep C for 40 years before discovering it. Don’t wait to find out until it’s too late. Please, get tested.

Monday morning after the downpour, complete with its thunder and lightning storm, was sunny and beautiful. Looking out at my side yard, I noticed dozens of dragonflies. They were so thick, at first I thought it was an apparition. By the afternoon they were mostly gone. I have never seen so many in one place at the same time.

There are few things better than hearing what you have to say, whether this column piqued your interest, or you have something to add that I missed. My telephone number is (508) 228-4325 and my e-dress is dgoodman@nantucket.net. For those folks who would like to write me, the address is P.O. Box 1263, Nantucket, MA 02554. Be well.
– David Goodman’s “Goodman’s Gam” appears occasionally in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821.

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