It was a busy and fast paced summer season and here are some nods from the day-to-day in Point Judith:
*The weather folks had a field day on 22 June. A cold front went north of Point Judith; the wall was black and ominous as it headed east dumping hail on Newport, and points east to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. There were some Race Week sailors monitoring this fast mover—from the standby parking lot—on their iPhone weather apps, as we watched this thing—it looked intense.
The following weekend, “possible hail,” was announced on all of the local weather stations. As a result of this end of times concern for hail, very few folks went to Block Island. It turned out to be a near-perfect day along the coast with the exception of a short squall, which lasted about ten minutes. It’s interesting how the power of, ahem, one noun—hail—can scare the hell out of people. Just sayin.’
*Speaking of Race Week, the surfing, sailing, flying, guitar picker Jimmy Buffett did a pop-in visit to the island after a day of sailboat racing, where sunburned sailors and sailorettes could hoist up some drinks, and listen to Buffett sing a few, as stilted Mermaids strode among the crowded scene in the party tent—whattacountry! Jimmy Buffett made a sharp biz move when he branded the word “Margaritaville,” back in his saloon singing days. His brand hosted this year’s Race Week, and perhaps the word will spread among the racing circuit that not only was the racing good off Block Island, but the party was a hoot. And, maybe more boats will participate down the line. Win, Win.
*The Block Island Ferry Free Library was open sporadically on weekends this summer in the Standby lot. The primary reason for this is that folks are dialed into their phones and their minds are other-wheres. Moreover, the Standby lines were moving steadily all summer long and there was little hang time—which is a good thing.
*Country stars Big and Rich did a gig at Ballard’s this summer. Over the years these guys have charted some country songs and this was a stop on their summer tour. I got yakking with either Big, or it might’ve been Rich. Nice guy, sharp and professional.
*Block Island Times’ editor Lars Trodson wrote a short and sweet crime story— “The Block Island Mystery Writer’s Retreat,” which was published this summer. The ending was played well and the book is worth a read.
*I took the bride out for many date night dinners at the Portside in Galilee before I’d go sailing for a couple of days to detach from the mad whirl of the ferry docks. Said bride would put on a cool get-up and we’d grab some swordfish. I know, I’m a Prince.
*We had a 4th of July picnic on the beach across from our place this summer. And, there were fireworks. I repeat, fireworks. Back in the day, salutes, sparklers, cherry bombs, M-80s or dynamite blasting caps were what we would blow up on the beach—at a barn fire. It was a simpler time. As we sat by our little fire pit and ate finger grub dusk was upon us. Then, the pop and crackle sounds began. Kids were romping around the beach and parents were snapping iPhone pictures while having a grand old time.
As the heavy ordnance came out of the boxes next to the picnickers, the beach crowd “oooohhed and “aahhed,” as the beach took on the vibe of Fort Sumter and the loaded M/V Block Island came into the channel with ‘yahooing’ passengers. All the while I’m thinking, is all this stuff legal? Where does one buy this kind of firepower; this stuff created booming sounds that made the beach tremble. Even our dog Sailor, who is deaf and somewhat blind had that look that said, “Hey, what’s going on here?!” In addition to the hooting and hollering as the bombs burst in air, I saw a drone dodging the flak. This geezer couldn’t blow that clambake fast enough as the fires burned, the smoke was inhaled and children screeched with delight. Jaysus’!
*I met some Brooklyn guys this summer in the Standby lot. They were funny guys with interesting Brooklyn stories. One of the guys hooked me up with some stuff called Sopressata, which is Italian sausage. He also gave me a loaf of bread from Mazzola’s Bakery in Brooklyn. “Now Joey, get some olive oil and sharp cheddar, and some green olives. Then put the Sopressata on the bread with the cheese, olive and a touch of oil. Your’re gonna love it.” Right then I called the bride and told her to get me green olives, cheddar, and olive oil. “Why,” she asked. “Because I have some cool Brooklyn Sopressata and I want it for supper.” “Aw gee,” she said. Of course, I ate too much of this great stuff, and it didn’t settle well. The bride knew this would happen.
*I met a former member of the FDNY who was trying to get on standby to go charter fishing on the island. We got talking about his job as a fireman in NYC. The man had a limp. “I was on the 45th floor of the North Tower when the South Tower collapsed and caught some shrapnel in the foot when the building came down.” He went on to tell me how his day started when the tones went off and his house mustered to head downtown. “When I saw the tail of a jet sticking out of the North Tower, I knew my life was going to change.” Never forget.
*Finally, the highlight of my summer was taking my grand kid Leo out on the sailboat when he and his folks were in from Oakland CA. Leo now has that moment in a file in his memory bank from the Summer of 2019.