Saltaire Summery

By Hugh O’Brien

Saltaire’s former ambulance in its new life, exploring the byways of Zion National Park in Utah. (Photo by Tom Cole)

Once this issue hits the streets, the first thing you’ll do is bend over and pick it up, since no true Saltairian ever litters the boardwalks; true Saltairians throw their litter in the bushes off the boardwalks. Anyway, when you pick it up it’ll be on or about the official start of real summer, and veteran readers know that that affords us our annual opportunity to simultaneously note (or rub in), first, that happy news, and second, the rather more doleful fact that that first day of summer also marks the high point of daylight. After that the days will be getting shorter as the sun reverses its long northward struggle towards Babylon and begins its southward slide to its designated December mid-ocean setting, whereupon the whole thing starts again. No better place than right here to watch the progression of the seasons as our star performer makes its trot across the skies, first right, then left, then back again, year in, year out. It’s the same celestial vista witnessed since 1910 by our community forebears, and before that by the four bears who used to rummage around the pre-VOS wilds before the Fire Island Land Development Company arrived and began imposing restrictions in order to sell lots to rubes from the city.

Point being, the sands of time are starting to run out, so grab hold of the approaching hullabaloo and enjoy it even as the Plutonian darkness slowly consumes our bright sunny days and converts them, piece by piece, into black, starry nights. Which are actually quite beautiful.

Well, “irregardless” (as a former Village administrator used to say and write with a frustrating “irregard” for English), what better way to mark the start of Saltaire’s seasonal busy-ness than with a message from Commodore Connie Lawler of the SYC? None, so here it is, unedited, unvarnished and uncompressed for time and commercials: “For the first time ever in Saltaire and on Fire Island, I have made arrangements for a sanctioned ACBL Bridge Game where players can obtain master points. It will take place on Monday afternoons from July 8 through August 26 (eight weeks of bridge) at the Yacht Club. Since we are a private club, it will be for members and guests only and by invitation. The game will run from 2 p.m. until 5:15 p.m., and I have hired a Director from the ACBL to come to Saltaire. This is a fantastic deal for us as there has never been a bridge club on Fire Island and all of us will be able to participate in tournaments on the mainland and give our own tournament if we choose too. Hope you will advertise this in your Fire Island newspaper, and give us some good publicity so that other Saltaire members would like to join. Many thanks from your local bridge guru, Connie Lawler.”

Okay, first thing is, I lied. I did have to make a couple of tweaks to Connie’s message, but only those necessary to conform with the Fire Island News’s standards and practices: no words were destroyed in the reconversion of this paragraph, just squeezed together and reworked a bit. And while I thank Connie for her reference to “your Fire Island newspaper” it is of course not mine; I only work here, and barely holding on at that. In any case, we’ve played the cards we were dealt, bridged the gap between Connie’s prose and the requirements of modern journalism, and brought you oh my God I just drew aces and eights.

Incidentally, Commodore Connie is helming the Club toward another promising season, aided immeasurably by the board and staff (sounds like a Yorkshire pub, doesn’t it – the Board and Staff?). Already tennis camp is in full swing, sailing registration starts June 29 (first Landlubber race June 30), of course the restaurant with its superb cuisine and bar with its superb drinks have been open weekends and go all 7/6 from June 21. But wait – there’s more! Members check your calendars and watch for weekly Conniemails.

Memos! The Post Office opened in its dingy digs at 14 Bay on June 20. Remember the SCA’s annual members’ meeting at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22, at the brand-spanking-new Village Hall, immediately following the spankings. Oh, the SVFC’s Ice Cream Social is Saturday, July 6, at 2 p.m.

Speaking of electronic messaging, V.A. Mario Posillico has been dispatching ever-more effervescent weekend updates for forthcoming events, even alerting us to the fact that as the office begins its relocation into said spanked Village Hall its communication would be spotty for a few days as phones and computers were removed and reinstalled at taxpayer expense. But he, Donna Lyudmer and (as the “Gilligan’s Island” theme initially put it) “the rest” were working hard to keep things humming amid the chaos. It’ll all be worth it when the move is made and they have an ADA elevator to hoist them to the second floor.

And about that second floor, it’s now official: the temporary HQ of the Village Court this summer will be in that upstairs conference room after all, the absence of an alternate exit notwithstanding. Turns out that should our Village Justice (name withheld to preserve his personal security) provoke one of the miscreants hauled before him into uncontrolled violence, His Honor will indeed have either to jump out the window or install a judge-rope by which he can shimmy down the drainpipe and escape via Pomander, though that street offers little natural shelter and he’ll have to rely on passing pedestrians to serve as human shields. Of course, this isn’t the kind of rope the unnamed Justice Frank Markus of 300 West Walk is used to dangling before his clientele, and he’s certainly not a second-story man, but it’ll do until we get him safely installed in his brandspanking- new courtroom at next year’s 14 Bay. With a high-altitude escape pod at the ready, that’s when the spankings will really begin.