Around the Island

Column: Sealing the deal

I opened the top on the Jeep and made the rounds to our various beaches. As I drove along Crescent Beach I noticed a moving lump on a rock in the water off the shore near the Perlman Center.

I slowed down and, low and behold, it was a seal casually sunning himself. I know that harbor seal sightings have become pretty commonplace out here but I thought it was pretty cool. I have seen them in captivity at aquariums and zoos over the years. But seeing one in the wild is another thing altogether.

I recall some 40 years ago when it was a really big deal to see one. I was called out to Mashomack to get a picture  of one visiting a rock off the shore. We ran it in the paper.

I was going to take a picture of the guy last Saturday but it was too far off to get a good shot with a phone. I should have had a camera.

I remember a photographer who was asked about getting good pictures, replying, “Just carry your camera all the time.”  Our regular phones just do not cut it for distance shots.

There were plenty of people walking on our roadways and beaches enjoying the sun and fresh air. Very healthy after being cooped up because of the cold and snow. I noticed that the parking lot at Mashomack was full with everyone taking advantage of the hiking trails.

We’re already more than halfway through winter so there’s warmer weather to look forward to.

It was good to hear about vaccines being offered at Peconic Landing but the list of Islanders waiting is still long. Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli has a list that will be used once the shots come here. It has close to 300 names on it, she says.

I was speaking to someone at the Post Office the other day who had recently returned from

Massachusetts to get a shot and will be returning in a few weeks to get the second one.

We should not have to be doing that.

Meanwhile, last Saturday I watched a Turner Classic Movie film noir called “The Killer That Stalked New York.” It was made in 1950 and dealt with a smallpox outbreak in the city in 1947. In the film, a woman smuggling diamonds into New York from Cuba is the culprit. The film has two themes — customs tracking down the woman for the diamonds and doctors trying to find her because she’s the source of the disease.

The city goes through numerous vaccinations and a plague is averted.

I did some research on this smallpox outbreak on Wikipedia and found that there was in fact an outbreak in March 1947 from a rug dealer from Maine stopping in New York on his way back from Mexico. It was declared over on April 24, 1947.

Five million residents were vaccinated in the first two weeks and 6.3 million were vaccinated all told by the time it was over.

I wonder how they did that?