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Veterans! And we paid tribute to them on Veterans Appreciation Day at Playland May 29.

“Westchester County has the privilege of honoring our veterans, and Playland really is the perfect place to host it,” said County Executive Rob Astorino. “On behalf of a grateful county, thank you, welcome home, and God Bless each and every United States veteran, living and deceased.”

Veterans, as well as residents of all ages, enjoyed watching four U.S. Marine helicopters land on the field at Read Sanctuary. When the dust settled, spectators were allowed to go inside for a closer look.

  • Photos by Melanie Cane

Abu’s Ice Cream

By Khalid Azim

As my parents and I waited at an airport gate in New Delhi, I asked if they would like a cup of tea. They both declined, but then, with a smile, my father asked for ice cream. I tried to find something in the crowded food court, but as our departure time approached, I told my father I would get him some ice cream when we were back in America.

When we landed, I took my parents back to my home in Rye, instead of their New York City apartment, giving them the chance to recover from jetlag in a more relaxed setting. I knew how much my father enjoyed the landscape of my suburban home, surrounded by families with children, the color green, and the sound and smell of Long Island Sound nearby. For him, the shape and texture — and even the time and space — of the world mattered. “Come here,” he would say, as he showed me something I had seen countless times in my home, and I would look at it through his eyes for the very first time.

“Abu,” I said, “Let’s go for a walk.” Though my father’s mind had faded, when we walked together, it was his intellect that penetrated the poignant elements of our conversation. He would talk about phonological origins of various languages, discuss Islamic history and civilization, and question the validity of a math theorem. As a retired professor, his language was always measured and each word he spoke always had a definitive purpose. His most annoying and endearing trait was the manner in which he repeated himself. Sometimes it was for emphasis, sometimes it was a way for him to gather his thoughts, and sometimes the act of repeating himself became a metaphor for the mind and memory he was losing. 

My father’s long-term memory remained largely intact, and it was this history I always tried to mine in the hope that through understanding my father’s past I might better appreciate some of the events which weighed on the course of my family’s history. Yet, piecing that history together was like being on a sailboat, my father’s memories were the rudder, yet without a commensurate wind of context. A rudder without wind simply meant that it was impossible to point, let alone move in any one direction.

As we walked in Loudon Woods, I could see that he was happy, so I asked him if he wanted to continue our walk into our small, charming downtown and get some ice cream. He delighted in the idea. We sat in front of Longford’s, each with a cone of mango ice cream, my father’s favorite. 

“Abu,” I asked him, “Do you remember when you took me to your village in India and showed me where you planned to plant your mango orchard?” He recalled that day perfectly, but not the time he showed me the graves of my grandparents, his description of the mango tree leaf, bloom, and harvest, nor the tremendous heat which overpowered me. Most of all, I remembered him picking up the soil from the fields of his village with his hands and telling me how this dirt had brought him tremendous despair and impecuniousness, yet it was also the foundation of everything he would become.

The next day I took my parents back to their apartment in the city. The following day I received a call from my brother who was very upset. Our father needed to be immediately taken to an emergency room. We learned that he had an acute gallbladder infection, which had built up over time but was probably triggered through the digestion of some fatty food. 

When my father died six months later, following a maze of circuitous events, I was the second, after my brother, to take a shovel and place dirt on his grave. As I picked up the dirt, which would cover the remains of my father’s body, I tried to measure in my mind the improbability of my father’s life. His horizons were measured in miles, while mine were in inches. Perhaps I might find the wind to set sail, and my rudder might still be the memories of my father’s life, but I longed for my father to direct me along the way.

Caption

The author, age 4, in his father’s arms

 

Hail Honorable Women and Humor

Supporters of the Rye Youth Council filled the large dining room at Shenorock Shore Club for their annual spring benefit luncheon May 4. Glasses were raised for Susan McGovern, this year’s Community Honoree, for her immeasurable contributions to the Rye Youth Council for over a decade, as well as the community-at-large. McGovern, who currently serves as Director of Rye Youth Employment, is one of the co-founders of Rye ACT and has been involved at Rye Country Day for a number of years. 

 

And there was another reason to celebrate. After lunch, Rye’s very own best-selling author and columnist Annabel Monaghan shared her humorous take on the trials and tribulations of parenthood. 

 

— Kathleen Durkee

We’ve been lucky to have Rye Neck High School senior Philip Beebe the past six weeks. He’s turned press releases into prose and handled anything we’ve thrown at him with aplomb. And he’s already set up a template for the end-of-summer Back to School issue.

Wishing Philip good luck at Emerson College, where he is headed to study Journalism.

On Memorial Day morning, spectators lined Purchase Street, confident that it wouldn’t rain too hard on the annual parade on its way to City Hall, where the official and solemn ceremony was held.

All ages waved flags and cheered as veterans, emergency vehicles, newly awarded Eagle Scouts, members of Rye’s treasured community organizations, and City officials passed by.

At the ceremony, Rye American Legion Post 128 Commander Fred deBarros introduced Mayor Joe Sack, who walked to the podium carrying a mock-up of the front page from The Rye Chronicle published on Memorial Day 1946. The paper reported that the 1,400 Rye residents who served and the 46 who gave their lives “served with distinction to themselves and their city.”

By Bill Lawyer

It was a beautiful and sunny morning May 12, the kind of day on which many people would naturally head to a park, work in their garden, or go for a hike.

But the takeaway message from a panel of scientists and experts at a community roundtable at Rye City Hall that morning was “not so fast.” The focus of the program was ticks — what we can do to prevent getting bitten, and, if bitten, how to decrease the likelihood of serious, chronic illness.

The ever-rising number of people who’ve contracted tick-transported diseases (Lyme disease is just one of close to 20 in our area) prompted the Rye YMCA and the Healthier Sound Shore Coalition to organize the event. Y Executive Director Gregg Howells and Dinah Howland, a founding member of the Coalition, welcomed a crowd of interested citizens. When Howland asked the audience if they or a relative had contracted Lyme or similar disease, nearly everyone raised their hand.

The first speaker was Dr. Mayla Hsu, director of research and science for the global Lyme Alliance. With the use of excellent graphics, many using greatly enlarged photos, she described the physical attributes that enable ticks to prey on unsuspecting mammals, such as white-footed mice, deer, and raccoons.

Dr. Daniel Cameron, president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society

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