Accabonac By Fred W. Nagel

ACCABONAC

 

MEMOIR

 

By

 

Fred W. Nagel

 

 

The house was built by a Finn, a contractor.  He and his wife raised four

 

children there and were retiring to the Carolinas.  It was a handsome Saltbox,

 

a replica of an eighteenth century design, with dark brown, clapboard siding.

 

It inhabited, along with a spacious barn and potting shed, an acre of land

 

almost half of which was populated by large indigenous oaks.  To the east,

 

in winter, from the upstairs bedrooms, one could view the Accabonac Harbor

 

glimmering in the morning light.

 

A few hundred yards distant, at the entrance to Gerard Point, is a small

 

triangle of land with a stone monument proclaiming it to be the site of Molly

 

Pharoah’s wigwam and the birthplace, in 1819, of Stephen Pharaoh, A.K.A.

 

Stephen Talkhouse the last chief of the Montaukett Indians who populated the

 

area in pre-colonial days.  Farther along, at the end of Springs Fireplace

 

Road, overlooking Gardiner’s Bay, is “the fireplace”, the site, dating to the

 

1700’s, of fires signaling to the residents of Gardiner’s Island the arrival of

 

visitors or supplies.

 

Accabonac Harbor and its environs is a place of singular beauty.  From

Accabonac                                                                                       Fred W. Nagel

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certain vantage points, the harbor and Gardiner’s Bay which feeds it, have

 

changed but little through the years.  I surmise, that with the exception of

 

relatively few houses visible along its shores, we see it today much as did

 

Molly Pharoah and generations of her ancestors.

 

Islands of wetland seem to float in the harbor’s shallow waters.  The

 

currents in its channel are unhurried.  In the Spring, Osprey arrive to

 

reclaim their platform nests surrounding the harbor and raise their young.

 

Piping Plover proliferate in protected sandy knolls at the tip of Gerard Point,

 

where harbor meets the bay.  Wrapped in morning light and setting sun alike,

 

the harbor is serene.  It is in The Hamptons, but not of The Hamptons, a place

 

of lingering authenticity.  It was here that we would make our home, have our

 

retirement and share the final fifteen years of Nancy’s life.

 

 

*               *                 *

 

 

It was time.  Six months had passed.  On a mild and sunny day in early

 

September, I took the black box containing Nancy’s ashes from its place in

 

the living room bookcase and took it to Louse Point.  We had long ago

 

decided on Louse Point as our final resting place.  It is a place of spectac-

 

Accabonac                                                                               Fred W. Nagel

 

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ular beauty on the East End of Long Island.  I pushed the kayak into the

 

water and paddled, cross channel, to Tick Island and a narrow spit of sand at

 

its northern end.  Looking east, between the parentheses of Gerard and Louse

 

Points, the waters of Accabonac Harbor spill into the vast expanse of

 

Gardiner’s and Napeague Bays under uninhibited skies.  The view suggests

 

the passage of endless time, a glimpse of eternity.

 

In the shadow of an Osprey nest, I dropped our wedding bands and

 

Nancy’s ashes.  The larger particles sank quickly beneath the surface, some

 

finer ones stayed afloat and drifted, with the current, toward home.  I

 

watched her go, saying my goodbye, and I returned to shore.

 

The harborside beach at Louse Point directly faces Tick Island.  It was

 

a favorite place for us.  We lounged there often and often brought our

 

cocktails to celebrate the waning hours of the day.  It was warm.  I swam.

 

I lay back in my beach chair.  The afternoon sun baked my aging body.  I

 

closed my eyes.

 

*                 *                   *

 

Row, Row, Row your boat

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

 

ACCABONAC                                                                                     Fred W. Nagel

-       4 -

 

 

The childhood fugue laps at consciousness like the little, dappled waves

 

of Jamaica Bay upon the shore.  Everybody sings.  The venerable, dark green

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