Lest We Forget

As regular readers of this now exceedingly intermittent column know, At Quaquanantuck delights in examining the fuzzy interface between specific dates and the seasons they are meant to divide, as well as the events and issues that are pinned to these squares on the calendar. 

So, yes, as has been pointed out many times before, even though the calendar and the physics of astronomy tell us that the season following spring officially begins on the solstice (June 21)—and students will tell you that it doesn’t really begin until school lets out—Memorial Day weekend, especially in the summer resort mecca of eastern Long Island, is almost universally accepted as the starting line for summer. 

The beach awaits. —A. Botsford Photo

But way back when, Memorial Day was principally about the day itself, originating as the national holiday known as Decoration Day in 1868 to honor Union and Confederate war dead. Observances were held every year on May 30 until it became a federal holiday in 1971, to be celebrated yearly on the last Monday in May, after expanding in its scope to include all those who had fallen while in the service of the United States Armed Forces. By the 1970s, the weekend had also become accepted as the unofficial start of summer, bookending with Labor Day on the first Monday of September as the last day of summer, with the Fourth of July holiday sandwiched near the middle. 

At Quaquanantuck is old enough to remember working at a newspaper when obituaries were coming in for the last surviving veterans of the First World War. Today we read about the last few men and women who served in World War II passing on, and it reminds us of the many who did not survive but who fell in that global conflict. Sadly, we do not need these now long ago wars to be reminded of those who laid down their lives. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq in 1990, Iraq again from 2003 to 2011, Afghanistan 1999-2021. 

As long as there are armed forces in the U.S., there will be women and men who give their lives for their country, in both war and peace time. In the giddy celebration of the start of summer, may we always reflect, somberly and soberly, on the ultimate sacrifice made by these truest of patriots.   

This year’s Memorial Day Ceremony, sponsored and organized as always by the Quogue Volunteer Fire Department, is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (rain or shine) on Monday, May 29, in front of the Firehouse. Chief Mike Nelson will welcome everyone with some brief remarks, followed by the invocation by the QFD pastor.  

These We Honor. —A. Botsford Photo

Mayor Bob Treuhold will offer a few words before organizer Steve Alpert introduces this year’s guest speaker, Colonel Kamal Kalsi MD, US Army Reserves. Dr. Kalsi is an emergency medicine physician from New Jersey who has served in the Army for 20 years and was awarded a Bronze Star for his work taking care of hundreds of combat casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan. Now transitioned into the Army reserves, he now serves as a senior advisor for Policy Vets and is a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council. He founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) in order to promote diversity, religious freedom, and service.

Members of the Quogue Fire Department will lay a wreath and flowers at the memorial in front of the Firehouse and all those who attend will be offered the opportunity to lay a flower as well. The ceremony will conclude with QFD volunteer Patrick “Skip” Heaney bugling Taps. 

Treegret. —A. Botsford Photo

Incorporated Quogue Turns 95
Speaking of significant dates, Quogue Mayor Bob Treuhold sent out a birthday greeting to the village on May 12, noting that 2023 marks the 95th anniversary of the village’s incorporation in 1928, “when some of our very astute residents had the good sense to incorporate our village,” the mayor wrote, “thereby giving us much more control over our destiny.”

May 12, as local history buffs know, was the day 364 years ago when the Village of Quogue was established upon the purchase by John Ogden of a vast parcel of land stretching from Canoe Place to the east (now the Shinnecock Canal) to Beaverdam Stream to the west (now Westhampton) and extending three miles north from the high water mark. 

All those interested in knowing more about village history will have ample opportunity to explore further this summer, thanks to the unstinting efforts of the Quogue Historical Society; exhibitions and archives at its Pond House headquarters; and at the 1822 Schoolhouse Museum on the grounds of the Quogue Library. www.quoguehistory.org

Mayor Offers State of the Village Address May 27
Quogue Village Mayor Bob Treuhold’s very first State of the Village address is scheduled for this weekend on Saturday morning, May 27, at 10 a.m. in front of the Fire Department. In the event of rain, the mayor’s talk will be moved into the courtroom on the north side of the Community Hall.

Topics for Hizzoner’s address, will include—but not be limited to, by any means—the Village elections scheduled on Friday, June 16; an update on the 2023/2024 Village budget and tax comparisons; an update on the Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) coastal erosion/beach nourishment project; and an update on some upcoming road projects (which the Mayor assures At Quaquanantuck will be nothing as significant, or disruptive, as the recent Scrub Oak/Jessup reconstruction).

Mayor Treuhold will also discuss some green initiatives and Suffolk County Water Authority guidelines for water conservation, while leaving time for questions from the assembled citizenry. 

Quogue Association Annual Meeting; Summer Events Update
The Quogue Association has scheduled its 2023 Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 27, at 8:30 a.m. the Quogue Village Courtroom, with a pledge to conclude the session in plenty of time for QA members to get over to the State of the Village address next door at the Firehouse at 10 a.m.

As part of the Annual Meeting, a new board member nominee, Claudia Step, will be presented by the membership committee for member vote approval. QA members can cast a vote to approve the new board member before the meeting by emailing “Yes” to quogueassociation@gmail.com

The Quogue Association has rolled out the calendar for this summer’s three big events: The second annual Concert on the Quogue Village Green will be held on Friday, June 23; the Duck Race from the Quogue bridge to the Village Dock will be held on Friday, July 28; and the annual QA Beach Party at the Village Beach will be Friday, August 18, with a rain date of Friday, August 25. Watch for updates and details from the Quogue Association. 

Sign of summer: rosa rugosa. —A. Botsford Photo

Schmidt’s Country Market Lighting Up Jessup Avenue
For those seasonal residents and visitors just now arriving on the scene, you will have surely noticed the transformation of Jessup Avenue with the opening in late March of Schmidt’s Market, late of Southampton Village. 

Southampton’s loss is truly Quogue’s gain, as attested not only by the array of fresh produce, a bustling (and thankfully hustling) deli counter, extensive salad bar and homemade soups, full service butcher, and super friendly and helpful staff, but also by the effect of the increased traffic on the nearby Quogue Shop and the newly expanded Homespun. 

Meanwhile, there is a gratitude contest going on. Village residents and shoppers from nearby hamlets and villages believe they are the most thankful that this wonderful store has opened in Quogue; while Dan Schmidt and his family are convinced that they are even more grateful for the wonderful response and warm embrace they have received from the community. It’s a good contest to have: everybody wins. If you haven’t already, which is hard to imagine, stop in at the store, and also check out the website, schmidtscountrymarket.com. Summer hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HTC’s “The Portuguese Kid” On Stage Through June 11
Thanks to a splendid press release from Hampton Theatre Company President Roger Moley, At Quaquanantuck can report that “The Portuguese Kid,” a dizzyingly funny adult comedy from Oscar, Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley, will conclude the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2022-2023 season, with performances running from tonight, May 25, through Sunday, June 11, at the Quogue Community Hall. 

Esmeralda Cabrera, David Cardali, Vay David, Andrew Botsford and Rosemary Cline in a scene from “The Portuguese Kid,” running through June 11 at the Quogue Community Hall. —Dane DuPuis Photo

Returning to the romantic-comedy orbit of “Moonstruck,” the hit movie which won Shanley a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, “The Portuguese Kid” spins a marvelous comedic web involving two mismatched couples and one overbearing matron. 

In Providence, RI, a habitually widowed Greek temptress named Atalanta Lagana pays a visit to frazzled lawyer and childhood friend Barry Dragonetti, ostensibly intending to clear up her latest late husband’s affairs. Instead of establishing legal clarity, the larger-than-life Atalanta badgers her insecure, self-aggrandizing attorney into imagining a hysterical alternate universe of what-ifs and what-might-have-beens. Add Barry’s impossibly obstreperous Croatian mother Fausta, his beautiful young Puerto Rican wife Patty, and Atalanta’s new boy toy Freddie, who just happens to be Patty’s ex, and you have in hand a perfect recipe for comic combustion. 

“The Portuguese Kid” was originally produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in September 2017, and featured a cast including Sherie Rene Scott, Jason Alexander, Mary Testa, Aimee Carrero and Pico Alexander. The play was lauded by The Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout as “the funniest new comedy I’ve reviewed since … well, maybe ever,” adding, “I don’t know when I last saw another stage comedy that was funny right from the top, or one that whose last scene was so unmanipulatively touching. To laugh this hard for that long is downright therapeutic.” 

Entertainment Weekly called the play “uproariously entertaining” and “deliciously funny … ‘The Portuguese Kid’ makes for a wildly entertaining 90 minutes of whip-smart banter.” And NY1 promised, “You will laugh – of that I have no doubt!” 

“The Portuguese Kid” features a spirited cast of five, including three HTC veterans. Andrew Botsford (last seen on stage in “A Doll’s House, Part 2”) is Barry; Rosemary Cline (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”) is Atalanta; and Vay David (HTC’s “Other Desert Cities”) plays Fausta Dragonetti. Making their HTC stage debuts are David Cardali as Atalanta’s young boyfriend Freddie Imbrossi and Esmeralda Cabrera as Patty Dragonetti. 

Bob Kaplan (HTC’s “Mauritius,” “Glengarry Glenn Ross”) directs; Laurie Atlas (recently on stage in HTC’s “The Lifespan of a Fact”) is the producer. Set design is by Mr. Kaplan and Ricky Bottenus and Meg Sexton; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; sound by Seamus Naughton; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun. 

Performances of “The Portuguese Kid” will run from May 25 through June 11 on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 2:30. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, June 10 at 2:30, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. Note: This adult comedy contains strong language; viewer discretion is advised. 

Two “talkbacks” with the cast will be offered to ticketholders immediately following the June 2 and June 9 Friday-evening performances. Tickets are $36, $31 for seniors, and $20 for students 25 and under, and are available at the Hampton Theatre Company website at hamptontheatre.org or by calling 631-653-8955. Patrons can also purchase season subscriptions and individual tickets for the theatre’s 2023-2024 season; details will be available on the HTC website.

Esmerald Cabrera, David Cardali, Andrew Botsford and Rosemary Cline. —Dane DuPuis Photo

Mark the Calendar for More Events You Won’t Want to Miss
The Quogue School Parent Teacher Association will host the 31st annual Chicken Dinner next week, on Friday, June 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. This evening of fun and games, great food and fellowship in support of the school—rated among the best in all of New York State—is one of the best community events of the year. Don’t miss it. 

The Galvin Cello Quartet will perform in a Quogue Chamber Music concert on June 17 at the Community Hall.

On Saturday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m., Quogue Chamber Music will present the Galvin Cello Quartet, winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, at the Quogue Community Hall, with a program including works by Mozart, Bach, Rossini, Piazzolla, Gardel, Gershwin, Fitzenhagen and Popper. The program will be followed by a post-concert celebration. Tickets can be purchased online at www.quoguechambermusic.org.

East End Hospice (www.eeh.org) is holding its annual gala on June 24,  and the Quogue Wildlife Refuge (quoguewildliferefuge.org) will host the 15th annual Wild Night for Wildlife Summer Gala at the Refuge on July 15.

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