2005-08-18 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

shells in cakes. The latter were the multitude of white displays that rose like rivers from the beach.

A fireworks explosion lights up Mackerel Cove’s sky Saturday evening. Photo by Vic Richardson A fireworks explosion lights up Mackerel Cove’s sky Saturday evening. Photo by Vic Richardson Rocket Dawg B.J. Whitehouse was on the radio bringing vital information and patriotic music to his fans thoughout the island. At the same time, he was putting together the American flag later to be illuminated on the beach. We roamed the beach supervising the activities and asking stupid questions.

At 8:30 all was at the ready. Cars and trucks were moved to leeward, across the road. The crew got its fire-proof coats ready and discussed assignments. All of the shells, with the exception of the ground display which was fired electronically, are fired by hand with road flares.

Eddawg was going to light the shells in the reloadable steel banks that hold the big boys. Earlier, he had told me, “When these things go they have to be respected.”

Freddawg and Tonydawg were to work the racks. “I’m going to be running the dance of death among the flowers of fire,” said Tonydawg with tongue planted firmly in cheek. “Do you want to fire one this year Jimdawg?” he asked. We quickly demurred,

pleading a shortage of guts.

At 9:03, with the road shut

It was the biggest KA-BOOM ever on Jamestown. The light

and sound of 1,114 exploding shells over a period of 30 minutes reverberated off the walls of the canyon known as Mackerel Cove.

Islanders told us it was the best yet. That was because of the generosity of Jamestown residents, organizations, and businesses.

After two fog-outs in July, Saturday’s shoot began shortly after 2 p.m., when the truck with the shells arrived from New Hampshire and the racks and pipes came in by truck from Barrington. The crew began nailing them together into cubes. The workers consisted of Ray Medley of Barrington, Telstar Display Fireworks’ local representative; Rocket Dawgz Fred Brome, Tony Gutierrez and Ed Booth; Bill Fields of Fairhaven, Peter Butler of Newport and Ray and Jonathon Pezzullo of Barrington.

When we arrived at 6, Ray Medley told us everything was on schedule. Aside from a heat haze, it looked like a go for the evening. The crew was working on the last rack for the finale and beginning to load the shells into the tubes, well over a thousand, all by hand. There’s a lot of heavy work, and on a hot day like Saturday, it becomes dirty, sweaty work.

This year’s ground display consisted of 15 candles and 1,000 down and a complete stillness and quiet in the air, the first shell went up. For the next 30 minutes, Jamestowners had their Independence Day celebration being observed on the eve of V.J. Day that 60 years ago saw the end of World War II. Two events hundreds of years apart, but both very significantly entwined in the formation and continuation of our nation’s love of freedom.


Kudos to the police and fire departments for their great assistance. The police moved the traffic in and out smartly and the firefighters made sure the sparks did no damage in the dry conditions. The recreation department raked the beach for a level setup and the harbormaster kept the boats in the cove at a safe distance.

Also many thanks to Bill Murphy for the loan of his generator that provided light in the beach restrooms that the town didn’t want unlocked or lit.

Rocket Dawg thanks to Conanicut Marine Services Inc., Thomas Harris and Maureen Coleman of East Shore Road, and Bruce Sundlun of Seaside Drive for their donations. The money gives us a nice jump on next year’s blast. One final KA-BOOM!!!


To the Jamestown Moonbathers: All flags were at full staff last weekend.


Jim Pemantell plays his bluegrass mandolin even during Patriots games. He turns down the audio on the TV and strums away. Other times he practices along with a CD or while listening to a bluegrass show on WRIU.

On Sundays, he sometimes drives out to Westport to jam with other musicians, and on the third Thursday of every month he hangs out and plays along with other instrumentalists at Main Street Music in East Greenwich.

“I play every day,” he told us. His love for the bluegrass mandolin comes across in his conversations about the instrument. The bluegrass shaped mandolin came into use some 70 years ago and has a different sound to it,” Jim said.

You’d think that the retired Jamestown Police Department chief has been playing the mandolin for a long time. Actually, the 67 year old’s been with the instrument only five years. He said he’s always liked the sound of the mandolin so he began taking lessons. “I took a few lessons from a guy in town. He moved away right after that. I hope it wasn’t because of my playing,” he said, laughing. From there he learned his strumming from books.

But Jim goes for professional guidance at least once a year. He just got back from his second trip to a bluegrass getogether called Augusta Heritage at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W. V. Jim said it’s in the middle of nowhere. Musicians come together for five days of lectures in the mornings and afternoons and jamming in the evenings. They stay in college dorms and eat cafeteria food, and Jim said there’s nothing like it. If you want to take an elective and learn another instrument, you can. Families come along for square and contra dancing.

“I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the country. They all sing, and they asked me why I don’t sing. I told them I don’t think bluegrass and a Rhode Island accent go together.” Jim brings home tapes from his daily lectures and studies them. “It’s a great time,” he added.

If you haven’t heard Jim play, you’ll be able to tonight. He’ll join up with Cape Cod guitarist John Titmas to accompany him for an appearance at the Jamestown Community Chorus’ Talent Show beginning this evening at 7:30 at the Community Center.

We asked Jim how he is doing with his other love, running. Over the years he’s been in 39 marathons. “I’m getting in shape to get in shape,” he replied. Jim plans to run in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31 and in the Philadelphia Marathon Nov. 20.

You can bet he’ll be looking for jams in both those cities.


Kudos to the Newport Gulls for winning the New England Collegiate Baseball League championship. It was the Gulls third possession of the Fay Vincent Cup since coming to Newport in 2001.

*** A letter from grandson Tom at the Yawgoog Boy Scout reservation last week:

“Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

“I am having a great time at camp! I am working on 2 merit badges, First Aid and Citizenship in the Nation. How is it going back in Jamestown. It is really hot here and im (cq) swimming all the time, when I can. Today tuesday I went kayaking on the pond. Yesterday I went fishing. I got to go! “Love Tom

“P.S. send food and drink in package please!”


For the past four years, Tammy Fasano has been perched on a platform at the rear of the Community Center’s auditorium aiming her spotlight on the Jamestown Community Theatre’s activities taking place on the stage.

Tammy’s presence there has been pretty much dictated by her daughter Allie’s very talented enthusiasm for the stage. Putting the spotlight on Allie must have brought much joy to Tammy.

When the CBC Players production of “Enchanted April” opens at the Central Baptist Church on the weekend of Sept. 9, Tammy will find herself on the other end of the spotlight.

For the first time ever, she will be on stage. We asked her why she tried out, and she replied, “I didn’t audition. Someone else did but then couldn’t take the part. Then someone said, ‘Let’s call Tammy’ and I came in for a reading.”

She was offered the part of Costanza, an outspoken older woman who for her entire life ran a large house named San Salvatore and took care of its family. Costanza ruled the house and that is true even when the family decides to rent it out.

As if being on stage for the first time weren’t enough, all of Tammy’s lines are in Italian. “I don’t see any reason I can’t do it, it’s not me, not Tammy,” she said. Actually, Italian is a familiar language to Tammy. Her husband Steve’s family is in Italy and the Fasanos have traveled there frequently.

Is she enjoying her new role? “It’s an honor working with the other actors. It’s a small, very talented group. It’s also a beautiful story.”

“Enchanted April” will be staged the weekends of Sept. 9 and 16.


Kudos to islander Scott Ferguson, winner in the Laser full-rig class in the Buzzards Bay Regatta at the New Bedford Yacht Club.


Do you have a cat that insists on doing some indoor gardening? Here’s what Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic has to say about that in his Pet Tip of the Week.

“Do you have cats that insist on digging in your potted plants? A Jamestown resident, Mrs. S., passed on this trick for cats. Buy either some smelly potpouri (citrus seems to work) or those scented pine cones that are popular around the winter holidays and bury them around the edges of your plants.

“When you water the plants, the smell will permeate the soil, give the house a nice scent, and the cats absolutely hate the smell and will not go digging around in there. Other less smelly options include using black or cayenne pepper and sprinkling it around the soil or getting more of a bark mulch layer on top of the soil because cats do not like to dig in either of those. Good luck and thanks Mrs. S.!” A’CHOO!!


Happy belated birthday to Diane Wright who celebrated “the big one” on Aug. 2. Hugs, please!


Rose Fraley was the first to come in with the completed lyrics for the three songs scattered in last week’s column.

“We joined the Navy to see the world, but what did we see? We saw the sea.”

“A you’re adorable, B you’re so beautiful, C you’re a cutie full of charms, D you’re a darling and E you’re exciting and F you’re a feather in my arms...” We’re not sure of the name of this song but we think we saw and heard Ray Bolger sing and dance it in “High Button Shoes” at the Shubert in NYC.

The last was a patriotic song during WWII. “Buy a bond today, bonds for freedom that’s what we’re selling, buy a bond today....”

Sally Schott e-mailed all the lyrics for the alphabet song right through to WXYZ. “It’s fun to wander through the alphabet with you to tell you what you mean to me!”


Tomorrow’s full moon is the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.


We welcome your contributions to this page — items such as birthdays, anniversaries and other good stuff.

Call your news in to 423-0383 or 829-2760, e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com, or drop the item off at the Jamestown Press, 42 Narragansett Ave.

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