Oak Bluffs: Enjoying summer parks

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The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage. So said Thucydides, Greek historian, c. 460 – 401 B.C. An apt quote as we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday this Saturday. This year the holiday crowds will probably be a bit smaller than years past. But still much larger than the ones we saw when I was a child, “back in the day,” as they say. Then the crowds arrived on Memorial Day, and all left on Labor Day. Our summers were not spent attending celebrations, camps, and fundraisers, but for children it was barefeet time, swimming, young teens earning perhaps 25 cents per hour babysitting “summer people’s” children, bike riding and returning home for lunch when the noon fire whistle blew, and then an afternoon of fun, returning home once more as soon as the street lights turned on. No fears and no worries. For our parents, it meant a different schedule, as their children were not attending school, but their summer workload increased, as dads worked harder while work was more available, and there were gardens to tend to and canning to be done. And if you wanted to travel to the mainland, would you believe neither summer or winter, there were no boat reservations required.

Condolences to the family and friends of Allan Davey, who died Monday last. We met in preschool, and were classmates and friends throughout 12 years of school in Tisbury until the present day. Almost 80 years. It has been difficult these past few years as we have lost so many of our classmates. They are all missed, and we are so very sorry.

As they are every summer, the Parks and Recreation facilities at Niantic Park are open from 8 am to 8:30 pm for pickleball, tennis, basketball, and playgrounds. The Skate Park is also open. This summer, however, brings big changes. Face masks or coverings are required if social distancing cannot be maintained at playgrounds and beaches. There will be no basketball camp at Niantic Park this year, which will bring huge disappointment to many people. The Park Department also wants to alert you of the following: Use the basketball, tennis, and pickleball courts cautiously, at your own risk, and there will be only two pickleball courts available. The gates will not be sanitized. Parents and guardians, please properly supervise your children; no one in the courts but active players, do not congregate in groups of 10 or more, avoid social gatherings, social distancing according to CDC guidelines must be practiced at all times, and face masks are required to be worn in accordance with CDC guidelines. No dogs are allowed in the park playground or on public beaches from May 15 through Sept. 15 between 8 am and 5 pm, and on Inkwell Beach between 7 am and 5 pm. Animals must be under control of the owner, and all waste properly removed.

The Oak Bluffs School library reports that when school closed on March 23, there were 1,293 books checked out from the school library. So far almost 1,000 have been returned. If your book is the 1,000 book checked in, you will win a $20 gift certificate from Bunch of Grapes bookstore and a free cheese pizza from Giordano’s.

The Blazer Book Mobile is on the move. Stop by any of the following locations on July 18 and August 15 to pick out some summer reading: 9 to 9:30 am, Nancy’s picnic tables, 10 to 10:30, P.A. parking lot, 11 to 11:30 am, Featherstone Parking Lot, noon to 12:30 pm, Sea Glen in Royal’s driveway, 1 to 1:30, MVRHS picnic table by cafeteria, and 3 to 3:20 pm, Oak Bluffs School. You are asked to please wash your hands before you arrive, sanitize your hands when you get there, and wear a mask. Masks will be available if you do not have one.

We send birthday smiles to Rahmale Hopkins and Deborah DeBettencourt-Ratcliff on July 3, Joe Alosso on the 4th, Barbara Fehl and Pam Gibson on the 6th, and Erin Pacheco and Karen Hunt Torrence on July 7.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.