Thursday, April 05, 2007

Stirred, not Shaken

Out at Fire Island, where my parents had a beach house, we all rode bicycles.
Robert Moses, arguably the most influential man in New York in the 1930s, moreso even than the governor, tried his best to get roads running along what would have been the remains of sandy white beaches, fortunately to no avail.

Here’s where Fire Island is, for those of you reading in Korea, South Africa, and Canada (among other places where Surfcountry readers are):,+NY&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=12&ll=40.669442,-73.126717&spn=0.106245,0.226936&om=1 .

Between Ocean Beach, the commercial center of Fire Island, and Cherry Grove, the Corinth and West Village of the island, lies a small community of folks who escape Wall Street and Madison Avenue each Friday afternoon, take the Long Island Railroad – or drive from Greenwich, Connecticut – and hop the private ferry that goes to the private dock, and they enter a place that has been private and relatively unchanged for a decade of decades. We would go there for the month of July and, once we owned instead of rented, we went there weekends during April, May, September and October. Some of my best friendships were developed there.

There is a small church there, and ministers on summer break come for one, two or even three weeks and preach between the final Sunday of June and Labor Day. In return, they get to stay free in the Minister’s Cottage, enjoy the beautiful white sand beach, and attend all the best cocktail parties thrown by Wall Street executives.

I remember years ago one minister in particular, a man I was very influenced by and liked very much. I was in college, and was considering the ministry myself, and I asked him why he didn’t give a more clear call for people to follow God. He said that he had to balance his message so that he would get asked back the following summer.

I still don’t know whether this was cowardice or wisdom.

Today is Maundy Thursday.

photo: scataudo

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