Kismet Kapers

by FIN |

TEAMWORK: Granddaughter Mindy and Granddad Don Podesta at the Arthur Lem Memorial Kismet Kids Snapper Derby.

By Bradlee White ~ At one week from Labor Day weekend, this is the last issue of the Fire Island News for 2021. It has been a great summer with good weather (okay, it rained and there was a hurricane warning a week ago but…), the relief of gradually shedding our masks (okay, we’re putting them back on but…) and the evolving feeling of community in Kismet. Grandchildren were born. The Bellafiores moved into their newly renovated home. Fall is traditionally beautiful and the demand for rentals hasn’t abated. See you in September! We welcome the slew of late summer visitors but with a sense of caution as we approach the Labor Day blow-out. There have been an alarming number of bicycle thefts reported in the last two weeks, assorted vandalism and pictures of garbage strewn and buried on the beach.

Thirty-some people came for a terrific event, Kerry Cannava Turner’s signing of her memoir, “Worthy,” on Friday, Aug. 13, planned and hosted by Amy and Sam Wood. Kerry and her family spent many summers at the Kismet Boatel. Describing family tragedies, the book’s upbeat message is that terrible events can be used to turn life around: “Look for the gifts in a painful experience.”

On Aug. 17 downtown Kismet was thronged with 51 children under 12, all clad in white T-shirts for Kismet Kids Annual Snapper Derby, with 17 logos of sponsoring local businesses and services adorning the back of the shirts. It looked like a great day for the fisher-kids when, at 10:06 a.m., super fisher-girl Molly ran to the weighing table outside Kismet Market with the first fish. It recalled the year Fiona Crowe, then 10, won four trophies for the number and size of fish. Organized by Kim Sitone with Warren and Lee Lem, 10 volunteers joined them to pull off a memorable event. John Altieri used his bully bullhorn to announce the rules: parents could help but kids had to catch and hold fish themselves, hand them over for weighing and gently return them to the bay. Snappers were the target, mackerel were okay but puffers were not. Tommy Field weighed each snapper while Kevin and Ginny Butler, Regina English, Patti Lyon, Sharon Sitone, Ela Swicord and Rose Ann Harris kept things running and shared anecdotes of past and present. Lee told me that the event was initiated by Joyce Cole and Bob and Ellen Ryan to create a special end-of-season event for children with the Lems assuming leadership in ensuing years. Warren donated a stash of poles stored in “Company G,” found when the house was sold. Along the docks kids eagerly learned the fine points of baiting a hook and casting a line. At one point a ferry captain jumped out of his water taxi, using a brief layover to share his expertise. At the end, every child received a lanyard medal for an excellent job. Miniature trophies were awarded to Aleksa, Patryk, Reagan, Landon, Ben, Victoria for their haul by age group – Damien and Molly took home additional trophies for most fish caught.

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