Don’t hurry to see Eastern Long Island

Written By: Kathleen Sites

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how great Eastern Long Island is and how one simply MUST experience its wonders. Admittedly, much of this talk is from East Enders. But, believe it or not, there are some who do not live out east or have never even visited there. They don’t understand why the East End is great! Go figure! And, I must tell you this: I actually have two people living with me who also don’t understand! These people are, obviously, wrong. But, why? WHY are they totally misinformed to the point that it’s laughable and we no longer want to associate with them? Well, when I think of Eastern Long Island, do you know what comes to mind? Nothing. Nothing in particular. And I wouldn’t hurry out there, either. Why hurry to the East End when there’s really nothing there? Ah, but, these are the very reasons you MUST venture to the East End! Oh, the irony! Oh, the madness! Perhaps I should explain.

My parents used to venture out east every week on my father’s day off. This sojourn, as I felt it was, usually included visits to various points north and south. Yet the trip was never planned. Time did not exist. We followed whatever road invited us that day and experienced whatever came our way. Oh, one day, we might take the north fork and would happen by a peach farm in Jamesport, for example. I vividly recall picking luscious, ripe peaches from a farm and just enjoying that fragrant fruit. I suppose it was “work,” but boy, did we have fun. I can taste that warm, sun-kissed peach right now. Of course, in the days to come, we enjoyed the fruits of the fruit: pies, turnovers, jam. Mmm. I don’t think I’ve picked peaches since that time, come to think of it. Still, it’s just a peach. And what’s a peach? Nothing. Yet, it’s something. Hmm…

On another venture, unplanned, with neither time issues nor restrictions, we took the southern route and happened by Shinnecock. On a crazy whim, my father wanted to go fishing. And since the trunk of our car was a repository of miscellaneous sundry items, fishing rods were at the ready. I distinctly recall standing on the dock and reeling in two fish at once on my double-hook line. Wow, what a thrill! My father hurried over to help me unhook them and my mother offered the proper accolades with glee. And I can see myself on that dock, excited at my first catch ever. We were all excited. Of course we threw the fish back, but I can feel the elation even now. You know, to this day, I have never gone fishing, let alone catch two fish at once! Yet it’s just a fish. And what’s a fish? Nothing, really. Yet, it’s something.

One excursion landed us in the town of Speonk. We were actually on our way back from an East End Excursion when our car broke down. As fortune would have it, my aunt & two cousins were passing by and stopped to help. What ensued next is one of my favorite memories of the East End. The car would take hours to get fixed and we happened to break down in front of a local tavern. We all went inside and while our parents had a beer or three, we three cousins played the jukebox and just laughed at…well, nothing. And everything! The proprietors were accommodating, the food was good, and we had a lot of laughs. Even my parents laughed at the “crisis” that proved to be serendipitous. It was just a moment, frozen in time, and it stands as one of the best days I ever had in an East End town. Time didn’t matter. We could have stayed there an hour or 10 hours. But it was nothing, really. A car breaking down, basically stranding us far from home. Yet, it was something…

You may say, “Oh, sure. Time never matters when one is on vacation!” Ah, but we weren’t on vacation! My father worked as a motorman in the City, where time and schedules were his life! And this was his one precious day off. So, if anything, one might assume we would hurry to see and do everything! But, no. Time stood still.

So, to the detractors, to the naysayers, to the uninformed, what do I think you will find as you embark on an East End adventure? Nothing. Yet, everything! The timeless memories that I have from these seemingly nondescript events truly bring a smile to my face and an all-around good feeling. I would suggest you pick a peach, catch a fish, and laugh with friends in a local establishment, even if your car doesn’t break down. There are a lot of memories waiting for you. Just don’t hurry.