Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Not a rash decision

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO A sunset at Shell Beach.

After the news story I wrote last week about the Deer and Tick Committee’s vote to reject the idea of burning on public lands to control ticks appeared, many responded remembering the good old days “when we burned and there did not seem to be as many ticks as there are now.”

The committee did not make a rash decision but rather denied the burning based on many factors.

What this does bring to mind however is how in so many ways we look back on the past as a simpler and less complicated time. Part of those feelings come from the fact that we were younger and the distant past puts an aura of sanctity on the things we remember.

This made me think about the past on this little Island.

Remember when there were two places to get pizza here — Sieni’s and Nettie’s.

When you could take the kids to Louis’ Beach, set out your blanket and maybe swim to the raft out in the water. Then go to Kraus’s for hot dogs and sodas. Wades Beach also had a raft.

There was a time when the recycling center was called the dump  and you did not need to buy bags for your trash. We just buried it all here. And one could always scavenge through the debris for a much needed part for a home project — a 2×4, a piece of copper pipe or a shower head. Everything was available. Some Islanders called it “the shop.”

I remember a tire blowing out on my car on a Sunday and going through the tire pile at the dump to find a suitable replacement with some life left on it. And there was that black pool where septic waste was dumped and covered with lime.

We’ve always had two post offices, but not that long ago we had two fire departments.

Remember Sunday evenings when North Ferry lines went back to The Dory and beyond.

There was a special day set aside by Town Supervisor Mal Nevel when he declared Jake Piccozzi the Mayor of Bridge Street and made pharmacist Charlie Disch the mayor’s personal physician.

In the late 1970’s a movie version of Dashiell Hammett’s “Dain Curse” was filmed here and just about every Islander was an extra.

In the 1970’s there were almost no deer here. But there were plenty of ticks. I remember rushing to the doctor — we had two here then and they both lived here — with a child every time I found a tick on one of my kids. The doctor showed me how to remove the tick myself and avoid the medical costs.

And town-wide spraying was done to control those ticks.

Before the library computerized its collection, you could look at the card in the back of the book and see who read it before. Maybe if you saw someone you did not like you wouldn’t read that book. Who knows?

These are just a few memories that I came up with. I am sure that all my readers have many more. But we can’t spend too much time in the past. We must deal with the present and the future using all we know to assure a safe and healthy and pleasant Island for everyone for many years to come.