I Hope The Fish Are Jumpin’

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”

Well, you won’t find the high cotton here in Chatham, but the rest is possibly true. George Gershwin wrote the tune and DuBose Hayward added the lyrics in 1934. Hayward also wrote the novel “Porgy” on which Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” was based.

All of a sudden it is the end of June and Chatham summer is upon us.

All the signs of summer are here. More traffic on Main Street, parking is an issue, difficulty making a left turn, warmer nights (although still not very warm), people going to the beach, Chatham Angler games have started and we’ll soon have Friday night band concerts. Hyannis Sound is appearing weekly at St. Christopher’s and now dinner reservations are suggested. The ocean water is still chilly, but kids and older brave souls are starting to swim. The shark issue continues to be a potential disaster in Chatham and every town up to Provincetown. Although there has been a lot of talk about sharks, we have made little progress addressing the potential hazard. I fear it will

take a serious incident to cause real action. I certainly hope I am wrong.

Some years, the weather changes overnight as if someone flicked a switch. We sometimes go in 24 hours from marginal spring weather to the wonderful warm days of summer. I hope it happens soon.

I have felt a sadness each time I drive by the Monomoy Theatre.

Today, the grass was cut and the place looks better. We will miss the activity and the plays. Alan Rust’s season opening musical was always a highlight. I’m sure the new owner has good intentions, but the attempt to combine the need for profit and the needs of a traditional summer theater will be difficult. I’m trying to be optimistic and waiting for news on the subject.

The restaurant scene in Chatham has changed. I wrote last month of the change of ownership at the Chatham Squire. Fortunately, not much else is changing there. But we have a few new restaurants. From the number of cars out front, Knotts Landing is off to a good start. Several friends have mentioned Branches Grill on Crowell Road favorably, commenting specifically of some of the Jamaican food offerings. Mac Hay has taken over Chatham Fish and Lobster, and opened a Mac’s Seafood Restaurant next door. The menu is diverse and Mac has a good reputation from his other restaurants on the Outer Cape. I don’t pretend to be a food critic, but I do feel it is distinctly positive to see new businesses in Chatham and more dining choices.

I am of the generation that still reads newspapers. Each day, the Cape Cod Times, the Boston Globe and USA Today are delivered to my home at about 5:30 a.m. And, of course, I am a faithful reader of The Cape Cod Chronicle. I do watch the national news on television and have been a long-term fan of 60 Minutes, the CBS news program. But I still get most of my local and national news from the papers and a few magazines. The inability to trust the sources of news from the internet is my major issue. It is so easy to post false information on the internet and I believe the attitude of those who run entities like Facebook and Twitter is appalling. Facebook has basically decided it is too difficult and expensive to police false news posted by its subscribers. And Twitter has determined that it is not their place or responsibility to worry about the “truthiness” of the content. “Truthiness” is a wonderful new word invented by Stephen Colbert a number of years ago on The Colbert Report. It refers to the practice of distorting a news event to favor a particular point of view. Just post it and don’t worry about the accuracy of your post now appears to be a prevalent attitude. Only a few people will check on the accuracy and most will accept the report as actual news. The potential damage caused by purposefully distorted videotape is tremendous. “Truthiness” rather than actual truth rules so much of the internet, so reader beware.

One of the reasons that the seasons sneak up on us is the fact that our sports seasons are all blending together. At one time not long ago, hockey was a winter sport, but the season now starts in October and ends in the middle of June. It has occurred in years past that the final games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are played on days when it was 85 to 90 degrees outside. Professional basketball is worse. If the final playoffs went to a seventh game, that final would have been played on June 16. Major League Baseball started this year in March and games were played with the temperature in the high 30s. It is no wonder MLB attendance is declining. This year, the World Series would end on Oct. 31 assuming no rainouts during the series. Again, the possibility of extreme cold exists, particularly for teams in cities like Boston, New York and Minneapolis, to mention three of the potential contenders. The Super Bowl was in February and the NFL owners are proposing increasing the regular season from 16 to 18 games. You can point to television and you can point to greed on the part of the owners, your choice, but the end result is that our seasons are now blended together and you must check your calendar to determine just where we are. No wonder we are barely ready for summer.

My final topic relates to tourism. The success of Chatham as a tourist destination depends so much on its reputation. Blemishes to a resort’s reputation can be disastrous. I have just read of the six recent deaths at five-star hotels in the Dominican Republic. Some tourism experts have projected significant damage to tourism in the “DR” that could last for four or five years even if there are no further incidents. The Dominican Republic desperately needs every tourist dollar. Chatham and its economy is also dependent on tourism. Whatever can be done to protect Chatham’s favorable reputation as a tourist destination should be done and our leaders must be cognizant of the constant threat that could result in an economic downturn. The risks here are great and a proactive approach is required.

Happy Summer!