Oak Bluffs: Poor February!

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Tom Dresser with Kutter, the dog he adopted earlier this year. — Tom Dresser

2022 is NOT a leap year. Why, you ask? To be a leap year, the year number must be divisible by 4 — except turn-of-the-century years, which must be divisible by 400.
Stay with me: the Earth takes a little more than 365 days to orbit the sun, 365.2422 days to be precise. So we have leap years to make the adjustments that keep the seasons from drifting. The practice is not modern — even ancient calendars show extra days added for presumably the same reason.

But how do you celebrate your birthday if you were born on Feb. 29 in a leap year? If you are a leap year baby, please let me know!

Another interesting fact about February: it is the only month that does not always have a full moon. Poor February!

I’ve been watching the Beijing Olympics, and to me, the men’s snowboarding half-pipe competition is the most thrilling of all the events. I mean, one of them soared 24 FEET above the top of the pipe — that’s about 44 feet from the ground! We saw Shaun White take his last runs as he retires, and the new 23-year-old half-pipe champ, Ayuma Hirano, who broke records in his last run with something called a triple-cork. The commentator (whose favorite description of these feats was “insane!”) was Todd Richards, world champion snowboarder and U.S. Olympian.

Todd grew up skateboarding in Massachusetts, and he came to Oak Bluffs in 1989 for a skateboard competition. Sponsored by Peck’s Bad Boy, the competition took place in the parking lot of the high school, and skaters from all over the East Coast came to compete and hold demos. Todd Richards won in the older division (he was 21 at the time) and went on to become one of the top snowboarders in the world, pioneering the half-pipe competition at the 1998 Olympics. That contest in the parking lot of MVRHS was actually a pivotal moment in sports history. J.J.Cheney of Oak Bluffs took the gold that day in the younger teen category. He and his friend Oman Frame never forgot the thrill of mingling with the pro skaters.

Get wild at the library! Starting Feb. 19, join the Wild Animal Scavenger Hunt. Explorers can pick up a clue sheet at the children’s desk, and hunt the top floor to win a prize.
I checked in with Tom Dresser to ask about life with “Kutter,” the pup he and Joyce adopted in January. Tom, a self-professed “cat person,” was honoring his wife’s wishes to adopt a dog. Kutter, a rescue from Mexico, is a miniature Schnauzer who took up residence with Tom and Joyce on Jan. 28, just in time for Tom’s birthday. As Tom describes him, he’s “cute, happy, active, affectionate, and adorable.” The word “smitten” was also used, so it sounds like Kutter has settled into their house and their hearts.

The Surprenant ladies from Nashawena Park have been on the move again. In fact, three “Soupy” sisters traveled to Georgia to celebrate with the fourth sister, who just retired from Emory University Hospital after 30 years as PT coordinator of the wheelchair clinic. Muriel (O’Rourke), Jeanne (Popielarz), and Renee (Nolan) hid under babushkas to surprise Diane (Beckwith) at her favorite Mexican restaurant in Snellville, Ga. Also in attendance were Muriel’s daughter Erin Fuller and granddaughter Madison, as well as Diane’s daughters, Lindsay and Emma, who orchestrated the surprise. Following a weekend of fun and laughter, Muriel, Renee, and Diane traveled further south to Naples, Fla., for some fun in the sun.

Our February birthdays include Garrison Vieira on the 17th, Carrie Tankard and Joel Rebello on the 18th. Caitlyn Clark shares the 21st with the amazing singer-songwriter-civil rights activist Nina Simone. On the 22nd, sending heavenly birthday love to Deidre Diodati. Happy Birthday on the 23rd to a trio of amazing women: Sarah Omer, Jeannie Wright, and Gloria Wong.