OCEAN BAY PARKBy Barbara Gaby PlacillaLike the Beatles sang, “I get high with a little help from my friends”. Now, before the rumor mills and gossipmongers go into overdrive, please keep reading. The high I am referring to is the good feeling you get when you read something that touches your heart, and reassures you that there are loving, generous young people who live in your community and that their parents are your friends. While the rest of us were enjoying a beautiful July Fouth Weekend, Melody Rose Catanese was in Peru and Aaron and TJ Blake, accompanied by their mother, Lisa, were in Ecuador bringing the true meaning of America to those less fortunate than ourselves. What a fitting way to honor our country on her birthday.Photo 2 Aaron and TJ BlakeWith a little help from my friends Lisa Blake and Tony Catanese, and in their own words, let me introduce you to three young people who embody the future of Ocean Bay Park: Melody Rose Catanese and Aaron and TJ Blake.My next door neighbor, Tony Catanese, emailed me this along with the attached picture “Melody Rose, 17, has just returned from a trip to Chaclacayo, Peru. She was there on a mission trip helping destitute children with extreme disabilities. No sightseeing on this visit. Washing dishes, getting the children to a hospital, feeding babies, and helping children of all ages were the order of the day. One of her many new friends, Victor, made her an ankle bracelet crafted with his toes! Melody Rose stayed at “The Hogar” an orphanage/nursery run completely by donations and the kindness of volunteers. This trip was a life changing experience and one that will always be remembered. Please go online to www.villalapazfoundation.com to see how you can help. Many blessings and let’s not forget to count them!When I reached out to Peter Greenberg for info on Lisa and the boys’ trip to Ecuador, I immediately received an email and pictures back from her. Lisa wrote, “We were stationed at the All Hands Volunteers camp (www.hands.org) in Canoa, Ecuador for 10 days where the boys were demolishing homes destroyed in the recent earthquake. They were also working building temporary housing at an IDP camp (internally displaced persons), and splitting bamboo for all manner of uses including building showers, fences, and flooring…It was an incredible experience for me as a mom to share this hard work with my sons. No TV, no Wi-Fi, just work and conversation. They rose to the occasion. Never complaining, even when the camp ran out of running water and we had no showers or flushing toilets!”It is an honor to know these young people and I hope they inspire others to give up a holiday that could otherwise be spent surfing and sunning to help others. They have done Fire Island, and our nation proud!How do you follow something as wonderful as these two stories? You can’t top it; therefore I present a potpourri of news from around the Park:The week leading up to July Fourth is always one filled with activity in OBP, and this year was no exception. There was a crab fest. No, not the cakes, but the Sponge Bob variety with the return of Lisa Judge’s weekly Hermit Crab Races at the bay beach. Lisa told me this is her 8th or 9th year and that in addition to 100 new hermit crabs; she has two new “apprentices” this season helping her and her crab race veteran, granddaughter, Mikayla Frazer, 15. Grandsons, Lukas, 7 and Jackson, 4 are following in Lisa’s son Brian Frazer’s footsteps. Those crabs must have been exhausted after so many “races.” There were bikes and baby strollers everywhere and the beach was literally covered with kids waiting to begin. New to crab racing was 10-year old Patrick Kozyra, who is spending the summer in OBP from his native Poland. I also spotted Rachel and Fordham Waide in the crowd, but I’m not sure if any of their crabs won. There are no losers as everyone gets a prize.In my last column I mentioned that anyone should feel free to water the plantings in the park. Well, a beautiful little girl, named Avery Anne Haff from Ocean Bay Boulevard, took me up on it and we had a great time watering the plants together. Thank you, Avery!Now let’s pretend we’re playing Jeopardy and since the “category” is Potpourri, the answer is “A questionably sexy hairstyle in which a man with hair of the medium to long variety secures said hair into a firmly rounded bun…” The answer, of course, is “What is the man bun?” This style has been spotted in aBUNdance around OBP. Jared, Luke, Slim, JHaus and Sam – all sporting a MUN!I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when JD DeSerio came home with the bucket of Heineken shoes he won at Happy Hour the other day. Do you suppose he convinced Joan to give up the Manalo’s and Louboutin’s in favor of the Heini sneakers? Keep your eyes peeled on her feet!The Free Union Church, corner of Ocean Breeze and Midway in Ocean Beach, will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a church rededication ceremony open to the public, on August 28. Three of the church’s trustees, Ted Caccia, Rebecca Kuhar and Virginia Lindsey are members of our community.Thank you Seaview Community Fund for hosting movies on the bay for another season arranging to show The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night.” Unfortunately the July 9 showing was cancelled last minute due to inclement weather predictions, but they are in progress of trying to reschedule. I won’t let rainy skies rob me of my chance to end this column by saying that “Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends”.Email Barbara at [email protected].