Saltaire Summery

by Hugh O'Brien |

Postmistress Liv Hempel outside her temporary place of P.O. exile at 14 Bay Prom, with a brand new storage shed to enhance the view. (Photo courtesy of Catherine O’Brien)

It’s a bit late, but we’d be remiss in our patriotic duty were we not to pause and take reverent note of the just-passed Independence Day. It’s important to do so. Too often we become so enmired in the partisan politics of the day, the accusations and investigations, that we lose sight of all this special nation stands for, the things that have for so long made it a beacon of hope and freedom to the world. Laws enshrine freedom and justice, people can vote and speak their minds without fear of arrest, hard work can achieve security and success. Sure, actions have often fallen short of ideals: some people were brought here against their will, some were too long treated as second-class citizens, minorities have suffered discrimination. The nation has been threatened by crises ranging from depression to secession. But through it all the people have persevered and prospered. They have kept their faith in good times and bad. Those hardy pioneers who braved a perilous trip across the seas, carved a country from the wilderness and secured for themselves and their posterity a nation that spans the continent from sea to shining sea, would be proud that their achievement yet thrives, bloodied on occasion but ever unbowed.

And so we take a moment to belatedly but sincerely honor the date that marks the birth of a nation that, for many today, stands as mankind’s greatest bastion of liberty. So, Happy Canada Day, Canadians! July 1 … celebrating 152 years of warm people in an icy realm. As Anne Murray so memorably sang, “This land is your land/This land is my land/ From Nova Scotia/To Vancouver Island.” Proudly may the bicolour of the Leaf-and-Stripes ever wave! Quietly, of course. They’re Canadians.

Oh, and a belated Happy Fourth of July, fellow Americans. Might as well celebrate something before Trump annuls the rest of the Constitution and stays on until Don Jr. matures.

Anyway, all this is by way of saying the July holiday
scene is fast upon us, with much to look forward to and, if you’ve a mind to, do. The first items I need to note involve the Fire Company, which this year marks the 50th anniversary of its incorporation. Of course, there’s been a volunteer fire department in Saltaire since before the place became a Village in 1917, but not until 1969 was the decision made to spin it off as a semi-municipal commodity by creating a semi-autonomous body that would provide the same semi-services but in an organized and better- trained manner, one where the trustees wouldn’t be the first ones sued for any, shall we say, errors in judgment. Well, in the two-score-and-10 years since the then civic fathers cut it loose, it’s been a going concern, as evinced by the number of people who line the streets concerned about where the ambulance is going. For the 50th, we plan a reinvigorated, interactive, multidimensional parade with more food and more participants (residents too) than ever before. This’ll all come to pass on Saturday, July 20, a date inadvertently but happily coincident with the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, a monumental endeavor in its own right though it engendered less paperwork than the fire department. We’ll have more on the parade next issue, but mark your calendars, get out your cameras, lock up your daughters – um, yeah, don’t worry about that one – and come out to help your SVFC celebrate its half-century of neighbors serving neighbors, as it says on the souvenir mugs. It’ll be great.

There’s another annual event looming on July 20 (rain date July 21), the SCA’s House & Garden Tour; cost is $25 per ticket ($35 on the day of the tour, if available), with a post-tour luncheon with limited seating at $35 per (tickets available until July 15). The tour is traditionally popular and traditionally crowded, so fancy these days its guides are now deemed docents, which is decidedly decent. Meanwhile, get the seasonal thaw underway at the Fire Company’s Ice Cream Social, at the firehouse Saturday, July 6; the meltdown begins at 2 p.m.

Doctor Bob Furey has opened up his summer
practice, though by now Bob doesn’t need to practice – he’s got it down pat. As most of you know, this stands to be Bob’s last summer as Village physician, since the board has decided to allow Northwell to open up a clinic beginning in 2020. Bob himself will be back next year, it won’t be in his accustomed capacity. We’ll have a lot more to tell you about Bob in the coming weeks, so stay tuned, and meanwhile it’s never too late to let Bob know how much he means to Saltaire, whether as doctor, advisor, party guest or sailor.

Lastly, the latest FI scandal. It seems a pedicab company has been given permission by FINS to haul passengers along the Myanmar (formerly Burma) Road, from Robert Moses Field 5 to – well, that’s where the rubber meets the sand. Supposedly they’re only allowed to go as far as the Lighthouse, but in fact hardy peddlers have been trundling folk at least to the Kismet border. This could lead to more visitors coming into the communities (fine), but we have seen problems that have arisen down east, somewhat euphemistically termed quality-of-life problems – not to mention pedicabs interfering with emergency vehicles, like ambulances. Don’t know where this will all lead, but as an incorporated village with its own laws, maybe we can tweak the spelling of our Code provision “Selling and peddling prohibited” and outlaw pedicab pedaling within our borders. Taking inspiration from the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering decision, what’s the good of being a public servant if you can’t twist the law to your own advantage?

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Hugh O'Brien

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