Montauk community notes

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It’s really been party time around these parts, and though the Christmas and New Year’s holidays have not quite begun as we write this last epistle of the year, we’re already reeling from “an elegant sufficiency,” as our British son-in-law is wont to say.

We were pleased to attend a party in Southampton for members of the Southampton and East Hampton Press staffs on December 12. We had the good fortune to share a table with our publisher, Joe Louchheim, his wife Hilary, columnists Tom Clavin and Kelly Ann Smith and her husband. We got to talk to a most interesting wise man, long-standing journalist Karl Grossman, and met his wife Janet. Husband Ed commented that most everyone there was “so young.” Is there perhaps a shorter shelf life for older reporters, we wonder?

Unfortunately, we missed another party, a surprise celebration of the 80th birthday of neighbor Jim Rice, given by his wife Margaret and his children and stepchildren.

Along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, we dropped by Gurney’s on Wednesday to take a peek at the annual event it sponsors for the Child Development Center of the Hamptons (CDCH). There must have been at least 70 energetic kids, with parents and teachers in the room—quite a scene!

Then there was the annual holiday party of the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society at the South Fork Country Club in Amagansett Saturday night. Montauk’s own president, Eva Moore, who has worked in publishing for many years, wove a wonderful story for some 95 attendees, of the evolution of this group, from initially a few horseback riders to a membership of more than 600 families. They hike, maintain, lead hikes twice weekly and sometimes create trails at the behest of the town fathers and mothers.

There will be a “hikers holiday” today, Christmas Eve. However, if you’d like to mosey around Hither Woods, this Sunday, there will be a 6-7 mile hike led by Judy Kossover (267-6747). You can hike the famous Paumanok Path from Napeague Harbor Road and return via the Serpent’s Back Trail. Meet at the Hither Hills West overlook off Route 27 at 10 a.m.

On New Year’s Eve day, December 31, you have an opportunity to enjoy the last hike of the year. Called the Money Pond Loop (and who doesn’t want to find another source in these troubling financial times), you will also hike to the Montauk Lighthouse and to Turtle Cove for spectacular views of the ocean. Meet at Camp Hero Road off Route 27, a mile east of Deep Hollow Ranch. Check with hike leader Ed Porco (668-2093) if you need information.

Speaking of the lighthouse, people are still flocking to see the lighted lighthouse, so if you’ve missed it, you will have an opportunity until January 6, we’ve heard.

Though we’re departing somewhat from personal policy to write only about things Montauk in this column, there are distinct connections we observed. On Monday, December 15, many Montaukers flocked to Guild Hall’s Boots Lamb Education Center to enjoy a delightful reading of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” by The Naked Stage. Among attendees: Dawn and Ed Johann, Montauk School teacher Kathy Havlik, her daughter Emily, her mother Virginia (Jeannie) Barry, Gloria Di Lorenzo, Betty Pyne, and Carolyn Balducci, program director for the Montauk Library. And, full disclosure is warranted here: our aforementioned British actor-son-in-law, Gerard Doyle, was an outstanding Malvolio, his totally objective mother-in-law states.

Josh Perl, the producer of the group, which has offered several successful staged readings at our library this past year, is now asking theater lovers to give some “human capital” to the company. Help with public relations, graphic design and fund-raising is needed. They are also asking for a tax deductible donation to support their exciting plans, which include a “Theatre Marathon” in April. You can send a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit corporation to The Naked Stage, 5 Trynz Lane, Hampton Bays, NY 11946. Check out their new website: www.thenakedstage.com. It’s a special treat to have theatre so accessible in our area, so do consider supporting it.

Reviewing the past year, this writer is very grateful for the kind words people say about the Montauk Moorings column and The East Hampton Press. Like most social columnists, we’d love to have more news from readers. One of our readers gave us the nicest compliment. Mary Miller, former president of the Montauk Village Association, whom we saw recently, told us she was so touched by the column’s story of the fund-raiser for Tucker Geery and his family, and the work of Roger Feit and Alice Houseknecht, that she was sending a contribution.

Mike Burns has proudly reported that his special English reading teacher, Judith Pfister, raised $435 dollars for charity in the Polar Bear Plunge for Hunger at Coopers Beach in Southampton on December 13.

Montauk’s good-hearted community at work is one of the ongoing pleasures of discovery for us. At this time, we once again can reaffirm that giving of self is the gift that gives extra meaning to these holidays.

On that note, we hope that readers may consider volunteering to do tutor training workshops and give the gift of literacy to Montauk residents who cannot use the library. A free Q & A informational forum on tutoring, sponsored by Literacy Suffolk, Inc., will be offered on February 2, from 5:15 to 6 p.m. at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton. Call 286-1649 for more information.

We wish all a beautiful Christmastide and New Year and the courage to work for the “Peace on Earth” that this weary globe needs, starting right here in this sacred place called Montauk.

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