Saltaire Summery: August!

By Hugh O’BrienMy word, it seems only a month ago that Mario was busy sending out messages on coming weekend events. Come to think of it, he still is. Even so, as usual, it feels as though we’ve hardly begun and already the finish is in sight. But also as usual, we’re jamming in as many events as we can insure that summer leaves with a Navaronian bang.To that end, fireworks will spark the evening’s detonations signaling the finale of the bay picnic, the coda to the Music & Art (or, depending on the poster, Saltaire) Festival on Saturday, Aug. 4. The event’s evolved over the years but its core – crafts, the Captain Al Watermelon Party and, in the words of “Gilligan’s Island,” the rest – will give everyone something to enjoy over the course of the day’s span. The crafts portion runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; art shed activities from 11 a.m. to noon; watermelon with light music from 3 to 4 p.m. at the shed and playground; two hours off for good behavior; until the picnic at 6 p.m. down amongst the bulkheaded sands of the normally all-quiet western bay front. This year there’ll be prizes awarded for the best of assorted culinary contributions as well as the wagon exhibiting the best of the Saltaire spirit, whatever that is – maybe one that’s parked in the proper space on the dock or something. It’s not just a social occasion, it’s a competition! Anyhow, it all culminates with the fireworks at 9 p.m., more or less sharp and weather permitting. On that subject and as noted previously, hopefully this year the winds will cooperate so that we don’t again risk turning the town into an offshore extension of a mutual-aid drill at the county’s Fire Academy. Admittedly it livened up the place last summer, albeit at the cost of a few burned fingers and scorched shoe soles. Guess we should issue an Ember Alert.Looming down the SCA’s track, the Jogathon – Sunday, Aug. 19. Two races, the 1-mile (corner of Bay and Broadway) at 9 a.m. and the 3.5-mile (from the firehouse) immediately following the conclusion of the first race. Ribbons and prizes to all the winners. Register on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 9 a.m. to noon at the gazebo. Presumably there’s an entry fee, but you get a T-shirt emblazoned with the J’thon’s unique anniversary number. It started back in ‘78 so this should be the 41st event, but the shirts have occasionally lost the thread of which anniversary a given ‘thon was. Cool souvenir though, an ever-re-washable reminder of the recipient’s remarkable run.In between, the 20th Perlberger Cup soccer tournament will be held the weekend of Aug. 11-12. Registration is Saturday, Aug. 11, from 8:30- 9:30 a.m., with teams and playing schedules posted by 10:30 a.m. The fee fa’ whirled-cup football of this kind is a mere $15, and while of course it’s open to anyone, male or female, age 13 and over, priority is given to Saltaire residents and their guests, or “ringers” in the vernacular of the opposition, which is only fair since it’s the locals whose taxes will pay to rebuild the field afterwards. An early appearance at the registration table is recommended since spots fill up fast and Ralph quickly runs out of five-dollar bills from making change for so many twenties.Now, I received an email from SYC Commodore-presumptive Connie Lawler the other week, a tad too late to include in the last issue, something about her ongoing efforts at building bridges across the community, a critical qualification for anyone planning to lead a vital village institution. Anyway, the message is still timely, so here’s Connie’s text, verbatim save for the necessary “News” style tweaks, plus the inevitable editorial comment in brackets: Connie Lawler’s Annual Bridge has started the season at the SYC with Supervised Bridge from 6 to 7:15 p.m., a short dinner break and Duplicate Bridge from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., every Monday night through Aug. 27. [A 15-minute break for dinner? Whoa. What’ll folks do with the extra 10? And you said service at the Club was slow.] What started as a small group [shouldn’t that be “gang”?] of four now has 20 beginners/advanced, eight duplicate players and growing, and four individual instructors supervised by Carole Sirovich, Clare Briody, Laura Nowak, and Geri DiCostanzo. [“Instructors” sounds so much nicer than “overseers.”] If you want to increase your brain cells, this is the game for you. [Yeah, but, see, the thing is, you’ve already eroded so many brain cells just reading this column that at best playing bridge will only restore what’s been lost. Still, it’ll even you up.]Oh, please note that the signup sheet is located on the bulletin board hammered into the sailing shed across from the fifth tennis court, and speaking of getting hammered, well, that comes after the cards. Fifteen minutes, remember.There was a special book night at the Library last weekend, featuring our own David Fisher, co-author (with Dan Abrams) of “Murder or Self-Defense? Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case that Propelled Him to the Presidency,” which has been on the bestseller lists for weeks now. I couldn’t make it but by all accounts it was an enjoyable celebration of an excellent work. But I was particularly struck by a quote from Cassandra Clare inscribed on the whiteboard outside the library: “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Truer sentiments were seldom writ or read, but it’s a trifle disconcerting that they came from the pen of someone called “Cassandra.” Hellenically speaking, that means no one would believe them, which, given current assaults on free speech and the reduction of cognitive thought by some people to 140 less-than-honest characters, would be a classic pity … in every sense of the word. As Homer never wrote but would lament, we’ve greeced the skids.