Oak Bluffs: First day of school Sept. 4

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Let’s face it: As this last week of August is here, it is getting more difficult to maintain patience, smiles, and good humor. Now patience is wearing thin as a thread, and it takes more effort to accomplish everyday chores about the Island and still remain courteous to Islanders and tourists alike. As difficult as it is to be nicer than we really are, for more than five minutes, I find it helpful to imagine how I would feel if I were visiting and had to tolerate rude comments and looks from people, and less-than-welcoming attitudes. So try instead to hang in there, being aware of impatient people and drivers.

Of course, what comes next is the first day of school, on Tuesday, Sept. 4. I remember when that meant: getting used to wearing shoes again, as summer was barefoot time; standing in line outside until your teacher called your class to enter; the smell of newly varnished floors and desks; clutching your new wooden pencil box that was probably a gift from your parents or grandparents, and contained two or three pencils, a pink rubber eraser, and perhaps a small ruler. School days began with a salute to the flag, a verse read from the Bible and perhaps a song before we sat down to begin the day. No public kindergartens, copy machines, calculators, TV, or computers, just blackboards and erasers, pencils, paper, chalk, and of course books. But we still managed to learn. Probably the best thing taught was respect for each other, adults, and property, so that was a plus. But unlike today, everyone was expected to learn the same lessons at the same pace. The result was that by the time eighth grade rolled around, many students who learned differently left school in frustration. Now people realize that people need to be taught in a manner that they can understand. No more “one recipe fits all.” But kids still walk, run, ride buses, cars, and bikes to get to school, so please be alert to the unexpected.

Flags are flying at half-staff this week all over the Island and the country as we mourn the death of Senator John McCain. Senator McCain served his country faithfully and with class while in the Navy, as a prisoner of war and as a senator from Arizona. He was much respected by senators of both parties, and bravely spoke for the truth regardless of the political repercussions to himself. Sympathies to his family and his country. How very difficult it will be to find someone who can measure up to his values.

The eighth annual Martha’s Vineyard Wind Festival will take place in Ocean Park on Sept. 8, with a rain date of Sept. 9. Free kitemaking for kids will be from 10:30 am to noon, and flying competitions for kids are noon to 1 pm. There will be prizes for kids. Adult competition starts at 1 pm, and there will be prizes for different categories. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music and family fun. For more info, check out the website at mvwindfestival.com.

Duncan Ross has announced that due to a heavy lack of interest, the Retired Educators Lunch for 2018 has been canceled. He would love to have some feedback and suggestions so that perhaps next year there would be enough interest for this group to enjoy a lunch.

The Federated Church will have its last two early services this Sunday, Sept. 2, at 8 and 9 am. Starting next week, the church will hold one regular service from 10:30 to 11:30 am. The Rev. David Berube is pastor, and music is provided by the Federated Church Choir under the direction of Peter Boak. All are welcome.

Remember the Red Cross Blood Drive takes place tomorrow, August 31, at Alex’s Place at the Y from 1 to 6 pm.

We send birthday smiles to Nancy Giordano and Sean Flynn on August 31, Tony Ferreira and Anne Davey on Sept. 1, Ed BenDavid Sr., Evelyn Christopher, and Valarie O’Donnell on the 2nd, Robert Pacheco on the 3rd, and Skylar Christopher Hall on the 6th.

Enjoy your week. Peace.