When you get to be sixty-something, you reminisce about things that makes you smile. Over the years, I have been blessed with many favorite moments. I thought I’d share a few, perhaps make others think and smile too.
Although I have had thousands of sailing sunsets, along with many ocean dog walks with beach sunrises, and even a few storms that were all memorable in wonderful ways, I suppose a favorite that comes to mind first was the first time I – with my three brothers – cruised through the Montauk jetty aboard my dad’s Pacemaker in the mid 1980s to do a week of tuna fishing. Dad was so proud and excited as we docked at the Montauk Marine Basin, and that started a wonderful relationship with the Darenberg family that lasted decades. Seeing that beautiful, picturesque Montauk lifeguard station for the first time up on the boat’s bridge with my dad and my brothers was the beginning of a love affair with Montauk that had me eventually living and working in that hamlet.
Back in the mid-1990s, my youngest daughter Blair fell out of a tree in Pelham Manor and severely injured her arm, which required a surgery at Children’s Hospital at Columbia University. Dr. Dick and a team of 12 doctors did an amazing job putting it all back properly in place with a big screw to hold it all together. Blair, then but 6-years-old, could not go into the water above her waist. That was the summer it was above 100 degrees for a few consecutive weeks in Manhattan where I then worked. I rented a 2-room suite in the Crow’s Nest in Montauk for my wife, dog, and two small daughters while I actually commuted into work. The temperature in Montauk was in the mid-80s and even cooler at night. One weekend day we all went to the Montauk Lighthouse and flew kites right up over the lighthouse for a few hours. I am not sure if that’s legal now, but back then 27 years ago no one said anything. It was a special day. Afterwards, we took Blair to Gin Beach so she could gently dip in up to her waist.
Like most sixty-something folks, music has played a huge role in my life. Attending bigtime concerts, buying and listening to new albums like The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s created a soundtrack for our lives. One Sunday in 2006, I was going to hear Jimmy Cliff play at the Talkhouse. However, I received a call in the late morning from Nick Kraus to say the show was canceled, but there would be a newly scheduled benefit for a local named Rafferty with a $20 charge at the door for his medical needs. Then Nick said, “There will be a surprise special guest. I can’t say that Paul Simon will perform, but there will be a special guest.” Sure enough, Paul Simon did perform, and he was still in top form with just him, his blue baseball cap with just a Y on it and his guitar. He sang six songs, all classics, and invited Nancy Atlas out to sing Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard acoustically! However, the highlight was when he did The Boxer with the whole Talkhouse audience singing the chorus in unison. That was a most special moment, and as it happened, it was so magical, so cohesive, so powerful that Paul Simon himself felt it and said, “That was so special I want to buy everyone in the Talkhouse a beer.” And he did. I ordered a Heineken!
I suppose another phenomenal Hamptons moment was back in April 2009 when I was in the musical Anything Goes, produced by The Springs Theater Group. It was performed at the recently completed $23 million renovated Guild Hall. I actually recited the first lines of a live show performed at the renovated Guild Hall on the brand-new stage. That was a thrill! In the audience of one of those later shows was the woman who is now my wife!