Richard’s almanac: A Jack(ie) of all trades

COURTESY PHOTO
Jackie Smith.

I met up with Jackie Smith last Friday at the library. 

Having arrived on the Island in 2015 as a retired year-round resident, Jackie has quickly become involved in many different activities.

I first met her after I put a notice in this column that the Senior Citizens Foundation was looking for new members. Jackie called me and I referred her to then-president Cy Weissman. He discussed the goals of the foundation with her and she was voted in at the next meeting.

Jackie is now the treasurer and a very active member. The foundation is an independent self-sustaining Island organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Island seniors.

This Ohio native is also an active volunteer with the Shelter Island Historical Society and serves on the board of the Shelter Island Educational Foundation. She is its treasurer.

The educational foundation provides funding for Island students to take advantage of opportunities not in the school’s budget. They have gone on various trips and participated in numerous camp activities.

Jackie also serves on the Island’s health task force.

When I asked her how she found Shelter Island, she explained that her late husband met a man at a little league game in which her son was playing. The man’s name was Jim Egan, a commercial pilot who was developing a large parcel here — Conservancy Estates. That was 1985 and they bought a parcel as an investment.

She and her family were living in West Islip at the time and it was not until 2008 that she had her house built here.

Jackie is a registered dietitian who has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State and a master’s from Stony Brook. She was food service director at Plainview Hospital and has taught at Stony Brook and Suffolk County Community College.

“I believe that food is to be enjoyed. We should savor it,” she said, adding that she does not eat “garbage food.”

The mother of two grown sons who live on Long Island has three grandchildren. 

“And I love to travel,” she noted, explaining that her father was career military and “we went everywhere.”

Jackie has been to six of the seven continents and will be leaving shortly for Czech Republic and Germany and a river cruise on the Elbe.

She said she’s returning the day before the next Senior Citizens Foundation meeting. 

Jackie seems to love the Island and all the opportunities here for seniors.

On another subject, I thought I’d remind everyone once again about the dangers of the extreme heat and humidity that we are again experiencing. 

I have talked about all the sensible precautions that we should take when being out in the sun — like wearing loose cotton clothing, using a sun screen, drinking plenty of water — but not too much — and staying indoors with AC when it’s just too unpleasant outside.

The extreme temps can cause heat exhaustion which raises the body’s temperature and can cause heat stroke leading to problems such as kidney, liver, brain or heart damage.

I made the mistake of sitting in the sun reading last week and later that day did not feel very well. Next time I’ll follow my own advice. 

We all need vitamin D but in small doses. The carefree days of sunbathing are over. Kind of gone the way of smoking and second martinis.

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