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Sixty-Something: The Awakening And Countdown To Memorial Day

T.J. Clemente

With this year's Easter Sunday now in the rear-view mirror, and yearly seasonal places like the Clam Bar of Napeague now open and serving lobster rolls, the next big date on the calendar is Memorial Day. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

Today I woke up to the sound of lawnmowers next door. Yes, it's time to head to the shed and find those rakes, small planting shovels, seed spreaders, and fire up the lawnmower. I am still on the fence about turning on the outdoor water and switching on the lawn sprinkling system, but by the time you read this they probably all will be active.

As I have aged into my sixty-somethings, I have begun to enjoy and appreciate this time of year. It's just the way it is. I now enjoy watching the perennials pop out of the ground and do their thing. It gives me a nice feeling watching the magic and circle of life firing up for another growing season. I love watching the trees and shrubs just start budding and still get a thrill at seeing the early cherry blossoms and dogwoods doing their thing. Walking or riding my bike around the neighborhood, I love to see all the yards waking up and beginning to blossom.

Since I was a small boy, I have had a special affection for the scent of pine trees. It's always a good moment when on walks I get that first whiff of pine trees while passing homes that line their properties with pine trees! It always sends my imagination back to shopping for Christmas trees every year with my dad, and then later on with my children. Who doesn't pleasantly remember that special strong pine scent in the middle of all those Christmas trees for sale? Walking past big pines in the spring brings all that back!

One gift the South Shore of the East End never stops giving is the phenomenon of the magic of the ever changing conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. I was fortunate to live on the ocean in Montauk and observe how the ocean currents, tides, and moon cycles changes everything every day! One day at Ditch Plains beach it was rocky like Maine's shoreline, then the next day there is a wide sand highway from Montauk Village to the Lighthouse! It was truly amazing those years walking my dog every morning on the ocean shore seeing how Mother Nature could make millions of tons of sand appear and disappear overnight! I still imagine the sight and sounds of observing that first morning sun and the seagulls celebrating the new days' sunlight by flying in mass up into the sunlight and crying out in a unison choir of pure seagull joy! If you have witnessed this, you never forget it.

With this year's Easter Sunday now in the rear-view mirror, and yearly seasonal places like the Clam Bar of Napeague now open and serving lobster rolls, the next big date on the calendar is Memorial Day. That marks the official start of the Hamptons season. Last year, due to COVID, many people actually inhabited their summer homes well before Memorial Day and are still in them in 2021. You couldn't help but notice the non-locals around the East End towns all off-season using their homes as sanctuaries. However, come Memorial Day, there will be an influx of people, that seasonal traffic, yet a new energy, and for East End businesses, the pecuniary benefits they need to survive.

I love retelling this story. In October 2006 I moved into one of those special Ditch Plains trailers. Every day I cruised to work at Dan's Papers/Montauk Pioneer, driving back and forth to the Bridgehampton office starting by driving down Deforest Road along Ditch Plains Beach. It was only us trailer folks, the surfers, and Dick Cavett, who lived in the first big home behind the trailers, in his Subaru Forester using that road. Then came my first Saturday Memorial Day (2007) weekend - and when I left the trailer to drive to the Montauk IGA for eggs, it took about 40 minutes to dive one mile to Route 27!

Unfortunately, all East End folks have their own Hamptons traffic nightmare story. So, enjoy the wide-open roads these last few weeks before Memorial Day! I will use this time mostly to get to my sailboat to paint it and get it back in the water!

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