OCEAN BAY PARKBy Barbara Gaby PacillaWelcome back and rest assured we “winter folk” took good care of Ocean Bay Park while you were gone. Although there are only 20 or so of us who reside in OBP year round, there’s news to report, some happy and some sad. But then, that’s the circle of life regardless of whether you live on a barrier beach island or on the mainland.The summer of 2015 was fantastic with beach weather every weekend and events and parties galore to attend. Schooner Inn, Flynn’s and Fire Island Hotel were booked and busy with weddings from the end of August to the end of September. The lucky couples had perfect weather and beautiful beach wedding pictures to remember their special day.The glorious summer of 2015, when each weekend seemed better than the previous, came to a crashing halt on the first weekend of October when a storm named Joaquin roared up the east coast. By the time Joaquin reached us, it had been changed from a hurricane to a clas-sic Nor’easter, which as any island dweller can tell you, can be just as bad. That weekend, Oc-tober 3, happened to be the wedding of my youngest sister, Alison Jacobs to Robert Charles Winters. We had spent the entire summer planning every last detail and now had to deal with how to get 70 people to Fire Island and back to the mainland, assuming the ferries were even running!Photo 1 Alison & Robert WintersWhen you live on an island, you learn to be resourceful, rely on the love and support of friends and to always have a Plan B. That weekend, the roads were flooded, and Ocean Beach had morphed into Venice. So a “shuttle” of vehicles was manned by Seaview’s Debby and Larry Mattiasen and my husband, Steve to transport the guests to the little white church in Ocean Beach – the Plan B for the ceremony site that had originally been scheduled for the bay beach. Instead of her satin pumps, the bride wore my rubber Wellies that Rob sprayed gold (as a gift to the distraught bride.) The unflappable wedding planner, Lisa Jaffe, pulled out the all stops and pulled it all together. The church was lit with dozens of candles and assorted lanterns. The Is-land Mermaid was glittering and the food fantastic and thank you, Steve Trebing, the tent stayed intact. Although uninvited guest “Joacqun” decided to hang around, love saved the day. It was, as they say, “an affair to remember”!So what to do for an encore after all the drama of October 3? The following weekend the weather was great and the annual FI Hotel fishing tournament took place on the beach. Steve, Angelo Sakonas, Paul Brincat and everyone else came up empty poled. Anticipating that there might not be striped bass to serve, the Hotel hosted a pig roast! A few weeks later, we contin-ued the tradition of the OBP Trick or Treat and Pot Luck Dinner which each year gets bigger and bigger. As long as the homeowners keep extending their season and Steve Jaffe is willing, Trick or Treating will go on, and Steve and I will continue to host the Pot Luck Dinner.Although some hearty souls spent Thanksgiving on the beach, with the approach of win-ter, things got quiet. The snowbirds – Robbie Harris and Tom Byrnes, Pat and Mike Supple, Denise and Rick Andersen, Dennis and Peter Curry, Mike and Donna Hanburger all flew down to OBP South aka Nettles Island, Florida. This OBP “satellite” also had visits from Maryann Reuther and Clem, Kathryn Sekulo, Eileen Murray, Ellie Mal, Niza Shor-Egan, Meghan and Paul Morhring and so many more I’d need the directory to name them!We were fortunate this year, we did not have the crippling snow and ice we had in 2014. With the exception of one or two storms the winter was uneventful. The bay did freeze several times, but never long enough to recreate that magic moment I shared with Jeanne Lynch when we sat and sipped French wine on an ice floe in the bay. My magic moment this winter was when I spotted a young seal sunning itself on the beach while out for a walk one afternoon. I watched as it waddled down to the beach, dove into the water, rode the waves and then re-peated it over and over again all the way down the beach to K street in Seaview.Speaking of Seaview, I watched Larry Mattiasen’s “Field of Dreams” take shape on a daily basics. Larry and his crew have worked tirelessly all winter and spring to completely re-build the Seaview Ballfield. Aside from the fact that we “share a border”, there is a friendly but fierce competition between the OBP and the Seaview softball teams which culminates in the Labor Day championship game, which we usually win.Photo 3I never want to end a column on a sad note, but sometimes you must. This past winter we lost members of our community who each, in their own way, epitomized what it is to be an OBPer. Each of these people should have a column devoted to them as they all have so many stories to tell. We said goodbye to James Lindsey, Charlie Reuther, Audrey Manzo, and my dear friend Jackie Streicher, who introduced me to the art of “shopping” on community clean up day! Thanks for reading and again, welcome back. Looking forward to a wonderful summer of 2016!Email your Ocean Bay Park news to Barbara at oceanbaypark@fireisland-news.com.