2007-10-04 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Vic Calabretta is currently a town Planning Commissioner, Rear Commodore of the Conanicut Yacht Club and Deputy Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus.

That's just what he's doing these days. He was the Town Moderator in the 1980s, president of the town council and a harbor commissioner from 1989 to 1992. He's a Past Commodore of the Jamestown Yacht Club, a retired principal with Maguire Group and the 2004 Rhode Island Engineer of the Year.

And, he's Italian, or so we thought. With Columbus Day being observed on Monday we asked him to tell us his impression of the day.

"The Walrus has posed a very simple challenge to me. "As an Italian-American, please discuss the meaning of Columbus Day in your eyes." This should be easy. As I start to write, however, I've found that I've entered a world of contradictions. First I must start with a confession. My mom is pure Polish, so I am only half Italian. But then, Columbus was an Italian who settled in Portugal and sailed for Queen Isabella of Spain. Also, Columbus never set foot on the North American continent in any of his four voyages to the new world; Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba, South America, Central America, yes, but not North America.

"Is this typical of Italian hero's? Columbus sailed "west" searching for the "east" Indies. He had no idea where he was (but he did find his way home), and he never did find the North American continent. Yet we made him a hero for discovering America, and declared a national holiday. Also, how does one "discover" a world that is already inhabited? And, how about the claims of Leif Erikson arriving in 1001, or the 1421 theory of the Ming Dynasty exploring the west coast.

"I celebrate Columbus as one of history's great adventurers; "Boldly going where none have gone before," to quote Gene Rodenberry. As a sailor, Columbus carried navigation and exploration to a new level. I also celebrate that Columbus' discovery introduced European Laws, European concepts of jurisprudence, freedom, equality, and Christianity to the new world. His discovery helped bring opportunity and prosperity in the world to a new level. I expect that many would argue that America could have been better off if Europe had left it alone. But then there would have been no Italian or Polish immigrants and hence, I might not have been born in America...or at all. Thank you Columbus for my existence."

Nor would we be having all that great Italian food we'll be enjoying next week.

Thanks, Vic, we're glad you're here, too.

***

Get lotsa hugs ready, Bill Caldarone will be 90 on Oct. 10.

***

Today is the day the Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties holds their free blood pressure clinic at the library from 1 to 2 p.m.

They stop by the first Thursday of each month.

***

The Press' multi-talented reporter and columnist Sam Bari has composed and arranged a Christmas song entitled "Special Time of Year," now being rehearsed by the Jamestown Community Chorus and to be introduced at the group's Holiday Concerts on Dec. 8 and 9.

According to publicist Jessica Wilson, "The Chorus' fearless leader B.J. Whitehouse and accompanist Janet Grant are ably shepherding us through as we practice the lyrics and harmonies.

"The piece is written not in the usual four parts, but in eight, with separate parts for first and second sopranos, first and second altos, first and second tenors, and double bass parts, too! It promises to be a star of the program."

Way to go, Sam!

***

Cat George, about 5 years old, totally white with a gray spot on his head, is a new arrival on the island, but nobody knows where he is.

He was adopted from the Potter League for Animals by 9-year-old Stella Rufo but after a few days of apparent adapting himself suddenly took off.

Stella's mom, Carolyn, said that George, better known in the Rufo house as Geo, has been sighted briefly at times in the neighborhood. Everyone living in the area of Lawn and Narragansett Avenues is asked to keep their eyes peeled and call 423-3956 if you see him.

George became Geo to rhyme with Leo, the other Rufo cat, a 6- year-old part Maine Coon adopted from the Potter League six years ago.

George joined the household after Stella won $61 in a raffle at a concert and proclaimed to her mom that now they could afford a cat for her.

Go home, George! Stella's worried!

***

Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic tells us that although it's fall we can't let down our guard against the ticks and fleas. "Just because summer vacation might be over does not mean that all the warm weather issues are done with for the year. We still see a lot of fleas and ticks this time of year, so don't lapse in using appropriate preventatives till there has been at least a few good frosts to reduce making your pet into a meal for these bloodsucking parasites!

"Also, remember to keep your pet on heartworm preventatives because the mosquitoes are not fully gone either. A lot of pets will also develop seasonal allergies this fall and may develop itchy skin, runny eyes, and even skin infections like hot spots. Monitor your pet carefully and if you notice signs of skin irritation or allergies do not hesitate to talk to your veterinarian about ways to curb those allergies before they get out of hand or paw.

"Common preventative measures include regular bathing to reduce skin issues and sometimes antihistamines or more aggressive treatment with steroids depending on your pet's condition."

ARF!

***

We had only one reply to last week's lyric. Betty Kinder wrote, "Open the door Richard, Open the door and let me in, Open the door Richard, Richard why don't you open the door?

"My mother used to sing this silly tune all the time and even more frequently after I named my son, Richard."

***

There was no reaction to "Wet birds don't fly at night." We think it was comedian Norm Crosby. He used to break us up.

***

Native Jamestowner Robert J. McCormack, who works for the Fort Adams Trust is seeking volunteers to assist in the trust's third annual "Fortress of Nightmares" haunted tours in historic Fort Adams.

There is a meeting for volunteers this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. at the Fort Adams Visitor Center. The tours will be conducted Oct. 19 to 21 and 26 to 28.

Questions? Call 841-0707. BOO!

*** All or nothing at all............

***

Get lost and have fun at the PTO's Jamestown Family Day at the cornfield maze at Escobar's Highland Farm in Portsmouth Friday afternoon, Oct.19, from 3:30 p.m. to dusk.

Buy your ticket from the PTO for only $5 with 50 percent of all sales to be returned to the PTO to purchase items for the Jamestown School.

Apple cider and snacks will be on sale, arts and crafts set up for the children, and for $5 you can make and bring home your own scarecrow.

BOO!

***

Columbus Day is Oct. 12 but will be observed on Monday.

Tuesday is Fire Prevention Day. Hug a firefighter.

*** Be true!

***

Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. Send e-mails to jtnwalrus@hotmail. com, or drop your items off at the Jamestown Press office.

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