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Sixty-Something: Once Again Spring In The Hamptons Is Here

T.J. Clemente

The author enjoys his first lobster roll of the season. (Courtesy Photo)

Over the years the arrival of spring has taken on different personal meanings. As a youth it meant the beginning of little league baseball. In college it meant time to ready for finals. Now it means a measure of time as so many springs have gone by. Spring was always special because my mom loved flowers. Our Pelham gardens were the best because her touch and knowledge of flowers, plants, trees and shrubs was lovingly masterful.

With our most recent dreary winter now being history, the signs of the arrival of spring in the Hamptons are diverse. For me personally, the opening of the Clam Bar at Napeague is one of them. Again this last weekend on my way to the Montauk St. Patty/Friends of Erin Parade I sampled my first zesty, tasty, and just plain delicious lobster roll of 2019. This is a tradition I have now done for the last ten years.The lobster roll was great.

Noticing the daffodils now beginning to present themselves with their yellow prowess is something I enjoy every spring. This last weekend I wandered over to the boatyard on Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton to inspect how my modest 22' Catalina sailboat made it through the winter and was pleased there were no surprises.

One long ago Hamptons spring ago, in need of a 4th job to make ends meet (writing then in the winter provided limited financial opportunities), I delivered flowers/plants/supplies for the East Hampton Village firm of Wittendale's Florist and Greenhouse. The job was humbling yet fulfilling. Case in point; I would deliver flowers to a home, ring the doorbell and see the joy in the eyes of an old woman getting flowers for her birthday from her son. Then I would deliver van loads of annuals to a Lily Pond Road mansion and be told to unload the vanload of plants/flowers and carry them up and over to a spot 150 yards up a slight hill. The mansion's gardener ate his lunch and walked beside me - never offering to help or even touch a tray of the plants/flowers. After unloading the whole van and carrying them all, he said as he bit into his lunch was, "Don't drive on the lawn." I didn't.

I enjoy driving the backroads of the Hamptons in the spring and watching everything come to life as the buds on the trees begin to flower into white, pink, and other budding fruit tree colors. The farm fields also come alive as corn and other crops sprout out of the dark soil along the roads. The sun is brighter, warmer and I enjoy that too. Long walks on the ocean beaches in the spring are great therapy. Springtime in the Hamptons is special.

It's time to get my East Hampton beach sticker and to paint my sailboat. It's time to put away the heavy winter coats and find my favorite short pants and tee-shirts. It's time to open the car windows while I drive and breathe that fresh ocean air so many take for granted on the East End. It's wonderful watching the sunsets get later and later every night. Taking after dinner walks with my wife with the golden sunseting light everywhere and feeling the breezes getting warmer every day. I love it.

I remember my first spring when I moved out of NYC and lived year-round in East Hampton. It was the sound of those birds chirping just before sunrise that woke me every morning. Everyone hears them. They are a sign of spring's arrival.

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