Saltaire Summery by Hugh O’Brien

OhmyGodthereareonlyfourissuesthisyearandcolumnscanbeonlybe500wordsandwedon’thavespacetoreporteverythingbutifwecramitallinlikethisit’llbeimpossibleforanyonetoread. According to the computer’s word count, that entire line constitutes one word, thereby proving the 500-word limit can be manipulated. But let’s play by the rules.Just as the paper’s been curtailed, so has our summer – or, as those Saltairians who moved out here at the beginning of March call it, fall. Due to the COVID crisis – excuse please, the Hunan flu our Stable Genius has totally beaten – the festivities with which our summers are normally flecked have been canceled, cut back or reconstituted. Thus, the field is now a park and you can’t play organized sports like softball, soccer or rollerball in a park, so only small groups of huddled masses yearning to breathe free of masks are presently permitted, at the requisite required respectful remove. The playground is open for swingers only because the Jungle Jim is simply a hotbed of potential infection that has to stay off-limits.Elsewhere on our cut-back calendar, SCA’s summer activities have been canceled, as have other faves such as the July bonfire, the fireworks, the Fire Company’s pancake breakfast, pretty much everything with “fire” in it, except there’ll be a scaled-back fire parade July 18: no band, no food, maybe no music, just a few guys with flags on go-carts, but the spirit will be there. So don’t despair. After all, the Market’s running; Patrick Adams has done a fabulous job getting the place up to contemporary snuff, except the supply of snuff has sold out. The Club’s open, likewise the Post Office and Library, an innovative recreation program is getting underway, and there’s always the beach to revive body and soul even as the days start growing shorter.In short, follow the rules, and keep abreast of developments, which does sound kind of dirty. A lot of folks are trying to make this memorable summer one you’ll never forget, because you’ll live through it. They say Saltaire doesn’t want to become another Kismet, Fair Harbor another Saltaire, the Pines another Grove, no one wants to become another Ocean Beach, everyone wants to become another Point O’ Woods but won’t admit it, and Oakleyville positively detests Whalehouse Point, but one thing none of us wants is to become another Texas. So when asked to cover up politely reply, “Thank you, Masked Man,” which is tonto-mount to acknowledging our fate rests on your face. As someone sort-of said at last week’s Board meeting, it’s almost appreciated.