By Gail Craig - June 1, 2006

I always seem to be caught off guard when the beach weather comes! I'm sporting a bit of a sunburn following a few hours with the family at State Beach today. It was simply glorious to be back on the warm sand and yes, in the water swimming. I can't believe that only about a week ago, I still had my electric blanket on and now, we're at the beach. The kids were in heaven, as they have been desperate to get back to the sun and fun. They thought the water was cold but went in undeterred. There were a good number of other brave souls in around us as well but for the most part, people seemed to be happy just sitting in the sun.

I would like to extend my congratulations to my husband, Jamie, for his resounding victory Friday night at the Speckled Band dinner, which he attends every year in Boston with his father. Up until now, Jamie has always gone as his father's guest but this year he became a member of this Sherlock Holmes society by submitting a learned paper. Membership is contingent upon acceptance of the paper by the society. Each year, three of these papers are presented at the dinner, with the winner selected by the level of applause received. Jamie was up against two rather scholarly fellows this year but managed to steal victory away with a slideshow presentation about Dr. Watson's weapons of choice, into which he somehow managed to incorporate Josey Wales, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars. As victor, he will now be hosting the coveted silver Speckled Band Bowl for a year, while also taking home a smaller version of the bowl to keep. He worked very hard on his paper and presentation and though I have, more than once, indicated my boredom with regard to this event, I am pleased that he was rewarded for his efforts.

I have received a wonderful response to the news last week about Ozzie, the dog hit by an unidentified car and left on the side of the road. Ozzie's owner, Annie, is touched beyond words by the outpouring of support for her and her dog. She was overwhelmed that her friends have created a fund at the Dukes County Savings Bank to help with Ozzie's extensive medical bills, which exceed $10,000, and she is equally amazed at the public response and support the fund has received. Ozzie was moved to Tufts last week, where he underwent six hours of surgery to remove fragments from his spine and to relocate his hips. Ozzie's doctor feels that the surgery went well, though he is concerned about his fever. As I mentioned last week, Ozzie means a great deal to Annie, as he was devoted to her during her own life-threatening illness so the trips to be with him and the costs of medical care are a non-issue for her. As the owner of a dog with two fake (and expensive) knees, I understand Annie completely and commend her for her choice. Animals bring so much to our lives. They become such a part of us. How could we treat them any differently than we would other loved ones?

I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind drivers out there that if you do hit a domesticated animal, the law requires you to stop and attempt to find the owner or call the proper authorities. Leaving someone's pet on the side of the road is not only unkind, it is a crime. I realize accidents happen and some things can't be avoided, but if you do have the misfortune to hit someone's pet at least do the right thing and stop and call animal control.

I received a call this week from Tom Benedict regarding American Flag etiquette. Awhile back, he noticed an assortment of flag decals on the right side of vehicles that appeared to be backwards, with the stars in the upper right. He thought they were probably just incorrect but then he noticed one like that on Air Force One and figured, or at least hoped, that they probably knew what they were doing. Upon further research, he discovered that when a flag emblem is on a vehicle, the stars should be on the upper left on the left or driver's side of the vehicle, but they should be on the upper right when placed on the right or passenger side of the vehicle. Apparently, it is representative of the way the flag would face while the car was moving forward. This is apparently also true when flag patches are placed on the shoulders of uniforms. I found the topic very interesting. Now, Tom, if you would please find out whether the stars should be on the left or right when a flag is hung with the stripes facing down, I'd appreciate it. I've seen it both ways, don't know which is correct, and would love to know the answer.

Have a great week. Enjoy the last couple of weeks of relative peace before things go completely nutty!