Saltaire Summery

by Hugh O’Brien

Hello back. We told you this day was coming, and here it is: Memorial Day, and the start of the 2023 season. Except this might not feel like the Saltaire Memorial Days we’ve become accustomed to these past 40 years or so. No election, no rush to get to the polls before 9 p.m. on Friday, no Monday meeting of the Board of Trustees to see newly elected officials sworn in and sworn at. Just peace and serenity, save possibly on the tennis courts, and with luck the weather will cooperate (admittedly, a subjective assessment).

         With elections now in mid-August and no governmental business to transact, everyone’s free to devote their weekend to jump-starting the summer social scene. Assuredly the Yacht Club has some get-togethers planned, and with grass mowed, sands raked and nets dipped, softball and sundry other games and sports can commence on beach, field and water. So, relax and enjoy yourselves, though keep in mind that the Village assumes no liability for the recently-reported “catastrophic” rise in ocean temperatures and merely recommends you dive in before it evaporates, or stay ashore and wait for the anticipated flood.

Bay Prom in January - Catherine O'Brien

Quiet time: An uncharacteristically empty Bay Prom in January. (Photo by Catherine O’Brien.) 

         One upcoming event to keep in mind is the SVFC’s Pancake Breakfast, Sunday, May 28, from 8 to 11 a.m. This is one M-Day tradition that the tides of change have not swept away, so remember, anything that helps the Fire Company helps the community. As you know, for several years now there’s been no admission charged, the department relying solely on the generosity of residents whose only contact with the Company, it is earnestly hoped, will be as patrons seeking breakfast, not victims needing aid. So drop in, say hi, have a great breakfast, and contribute generously.

         A brief pivot as we emerge from the island’s winter hibernation and take time to honor those Saltairians no longer with us to greet this Memorial Day. We don’t have space to do each one justice, and in any case a few words can’t summarize their lives or all they meant to us. But raise a glass to them once more, as we remember John Connolly, Andy Lawler, Ellen Notaro, Bruce Merchant, Charlie Hull, Rita Burke, Del Viarengo, David Grossman, and Peggy Garafola. See you guys anon.

         And so begins my 49th summer helming this column. This came to mind because the Fire Island News has been proclaiming 2023 its 66th summer. Except, well, not exactly. First published in 1957, the paper is indeed 66 years old; but this is its 67th summer. Consider: the News turned one year old in 1958, but ’58 was its second summer. And so on down the years. I once had to explain this to a brilliant Saltaire Wall Streeter who successfully juggled billions of dollars each year but couldn’t unpack the mysteries of the calendar. (But I couldn’t do what he did.) Either way, that’s a lot of sentences, crafted over a lifetime sentence. Glad to be back.