This is the first part of a two-part experiment.
I am going away on a vacation to Saint Lucia; I have done all the research and reading on this lush, tropical island in the West Indies. The brochures picture a romantic escape with snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, tennis, a squash court, a spa, a swim-up bar, banana boat rides, aerobics, beach volleyball and cooking classes.
I realize that at my age (over 60) I should be reading great books and filling my off hours with intellectual and enlightening methods of erudition.
However, at the end of the day I find myself yearning for relaxing and mindless activities. During my lifetime I have studied many of the great Shakespeare plays, read James Joyce’s Ulysses, studied U.S. and world history, and written over 600 essays. Evening is the time to get on the couch, slow down and unwind.
It is with sincere gratitude that I recognize the tireless efforts of Fresh Air Fund volunteers in Nassau County as the country celebrates National Volunteer Week. Their commitment to helping New York City children is exemplary for all community members and truly embodies the spirit of the 2011 National Volunteer Week theme, “Celebrating People in Action.”
Juiced’ by Florida Wetlands’ Big Birds
On a cool afternoon this past January I went birding with my wife and two close friends. We start in the heart of a Sarasota industrial park exploring a waterway, which attracts big birds. On one shore an anhinga, partially in shadow, has its black wings outstretched to dry, prominently displaying a white lined pattern on its back. Nicknamed the “water turkey,” the anhinga takes fish underwater. Their long straight necks, long bills, long straight-edged tails and silvery, white-lined back and wing pattern make anhingas striking. This lone bird’s brown hue suggests that it is probably immature. The anhinga’s dark mustard colored, webbed feet look like they are made from sturdy, Army-Navy store canvas. I’m “juiced,” as I rarely see an anhinga.
Two winter weary Jericho couples, the Greenes and the Greenbergs, arrive at JFK airport for a trip to the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana on the eastern end of the island of Hispaniola is the final destination. Paradisus Palma Real Resort is the name of the hotel. The plan is called A.I.P. or all-inclusive plan.
Everything was paid for up front. Not once did we reach into our pockets to pay for a meal. We ate, thanked the waiters and left. No figuring out the tip or the bill. It was a strange sensation for Long Islanders. At a bar the bartender plunked down an entire bottle of Absolut vodka and told us to add as much to the drink as we desired. It reminded me of the bar scenes in western movies when the hero is presented with a whiskey bottle and a shot glass.
(Editor’s Note: Stanley Greenberg is on vacation this week. This week’s column is an encore presentation of a piece originally published on March 11, 2005.)
While I was walking on the treadmill at the clubhouse of the condominium where I live, I started speaking to a fellow condo resident. Having a conversation while you are walking on the machine is a great boon, because it takes your mind off the boring step after step drudgery.
As a New Yorker I was disheartened to hear that the New York State Tobacco Control Program has been slashed to $41 million. This will no doubt be a disservice to the people of New York.
The time has come for New Yorkers to take back their vote. The League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes this can come about only if legislators support an independent, nonpartisan commission for redrawing Assembly and Senate districts in response to the 2010 census. To achieve this end, the LWV has joined ReShape NY, a broad coalition of 30 advocacy, business, union, and civil groups calling on the Governor and state legislature to create an independent redistricting commission that draws district lines using fair and defined criteria while engaging the public in the process. If New York is to have a state legislature that is responsive to the interests of the constituents rather than keeping itself in office, citizens must demand this change from their legislators.
In an unexpected twist, in a conversation with a neighbor, I was told, “I don’t like going south in the winter. I love the warmth and coziness of my own home. I get blankets and a quilt or two and I am in heaven. I don’t need to board a plane to stay in a hotel. My den is much more comfortable.”
I was taken aback because I thought it was a universal desire to reside in the warm sun during the winter months. Do bathing suits, and short-sleeved polo shirts make us happier than scarves, earmuffs, sweaters and woolens? I started to think it over carefully.
With so many competing voices on television, radio, blogs and social media, we can sometimes miss out on certain forthright messages that deserve special attention. Mike Barry’s “Eye On The Island” column in the March 10 edition, however, merits extraordinary recognition.
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