Every once in a while an item pops up on one of the local community Facebook sites where a few parents whine that there is nothing for their kids to do on Amelia Island since the movie theatre, water slides, and roller skating rink closed.
These folks think that the community should build water parks, skating rinks, and much more for their kids. They are looking to the community to entertain their offspring, otherwise, as one recently whimpered, their kiddos will resort to alcohol and drugs. Good grief! Talk about twisted parenting.
Life on this island is as good as it gets for kids of all ages.
There are parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, an ocean, beach, a fort, marshlands, recreation centers, bike and hiking trails, fishing, miniature golf, a skateboard park, and so much more for kids to use. And the city does a great job. Jay Robertson, who heads Fernandina’s Parks and Recreation Department, puts together year around programs all over the place for families and is always looking for suggestions. In fact, the utility bills mailed out by the city this week contained a lengthy questionnaire seeking input from residents ranging from how the city could improve current recreational opportunities to suggestions for new programs and facilities. Mr. Robertson and the city do more than required of them in this category.
So, instead of abdicating their parental responsibilities these misguided nitwits should point their progeny toward the front door explaining that they can hop on their bikes or walk to a nearby baseball diamond, basketball or tennis court, playground or park, or the beach to play volleyball, fly a kite, swim, surf, fish, play touch football, baseball, Frisbee golf, stickball or encourage their children to get them involved with hiking, biking, boating or nature organizations, Little League, Pop Warner football, soccer teams, etc.
There are the boys and girls clubs, scouts, school clubs, a variety of other sports teams, chess and book clubs, even Petanque, and more. Take their electronic gizmos away and tell them and their pals to use their imaginations and entertain themselves and encourage the little fatties get some much needed exercise.
These unimaginative, little couch potatoes need a parental authority to take away their play stations, Nintendos, X-boxes and turn off the 200-channel plus cable TV, lock up the DVDs, CDs, cell phones, Smart Phones, personal computers, iPods and any other electronic junk that stifles the tyke’s imaginations. Toss the urchins out the door and tell to stay outside and play with their friends. And if they don’t have any, tell them to find some find some.
Or, here’s a novel idea. Get junior a library card and introduce him to literature, art, other cultures, history, and so much more. The new library downtown has a special section devoted to children.
Do they need spending money? Then let them push a lawnmower down the street and knock on doors, baby sit, wash cars or run errands. And so they don’t turn out as screwed up as those asking their neighbors to entertain their offspring, encourage them to volunteer their time at a nursing home or pick up trash on the beach or some other program where they can learn values their folks obviously lack.
Oh, and I also don’t want to go downtown and hear your kid stand on a street corner and attempt to play the guitar or sing either, thank you. If I want to do that I’ll attend his or her recital once they learn how to carry a tune and play an instrument.
Asking the community to take over your parenting responsibilities is a warning signal that the Florida Department of Children and Families needs to visit your house. Based on some of the comments I’ve read these people shouldn’t even be allowed to own pets.
Painting The Town Red Hot Tomorrow: There’ll be a hot time in the ‘ole town tomorrow (Saturday, February 21) running from 11 am until 4 pm as the Amelia Island Montessori School conducts its 9th Annual Chili Cook-Off fund raiser in downtown Fernandina Beach with 20 contestants vying for the best Bowl of Red trophy. This year’s event extends from Alachua and North 2nd Street in front of the Crab Trap Restaurant, across Centre to the middle of the South 2nd Street block stopping in front of Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro and the eclectic Pajama Life shop, caddy corner from the Hampton Inn. It t also includes a special kid’s area on Centre up to 3rd Street. I’m on a team this year staffed by friends Ashley Woolley; Amelia Island Boat Club owner Monty Kitchen; Joe’s 2nd St. Bistro Chef and owner Ricky Pigg; and Florida House Innkeeper and Chef Marshall Sands. Our “Endangered Species Chili” squad will be set-up on South 2nd St, between Pajama Life & Joe’s, so stop by, and as our banner says: “Be one of the first to taste one of the last.” According to Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Director Jay Robertson, the event will also feature a kid’s zone, vendors and musicians such as The Crazy Daisies, Wes Cobb and Yancy Glegg. I also understand that a surprise musical guest star will make a special appearance between the Pajamadave Voorhees’ Pajama Life chili stand and our Endangered Species tent. Cook-off winners will be announced between 3-3:15 pm and the crack Endangered Species chili staff will be available to provide free guidance to attendees on the proper voting procedures. Adults that want to taste chili can buy a wristband for $10 and children 12-years-old and under wanting to sample bowls of red can do so for $5. If you do not want samples you can wander around without paying, but do not expect chili contestants to provide you with a taste, because if you don’t have a wristband and they give you a sample, they will be disqualified from the competition, covered with shame and disgraced in the eyes of Chilidom forever. Stop by and see us and taste some spotted owl, peacock, etc.
God Bless America: It turns out that the condemnation of a student’s “God bless America” phrase following his broadcast of Yulee High School’s morning announcements was about as welcome Jane Fonda at an American Legion Convention. The ideological bomb dropped by a couple of high school kids, who allegedly were outraged and offended that a fellow student said “God bless America” following his school broadcast last week generated national media attention, loads of print and online local news coverage, sign-waving protesters supporting the “God bless America” kid, local and state politicians and the school board rushing to defend him and his free speech rights. As the dust settles we’ll learn more, but I’m willing to wager that the two students didn’t act on their own initiative to contact the progressive atheist organization American Humanist Association (AHA) to condemn the “God bless America” phrase that caused the brouhaha. Could adults with a left wing ideological axe to grind have been involved in this? Just wondering.
Selective Free Speech Department: In his “Athwart” National Review column James Lileks makes a point that illustrates the hypocrisy of the left and selective political correctness saying: “If you decline to hire someone who is one-twentieth Samoan, has earlobes stretched to accommodate gauges the diameter of a pie plate, and wants you to install a ‘polygender safe place’ in the form of a third restroom, you are a hater, and speaking your opinion on the matter is hate speech, inasmuch as it does not validate the other person’s self-conception. If, on the other hand, you put up a website devoted to fat people who drive scooters around Walmart with a JESUS IS MY CO-PILOT bumper sticker on the back, you are hilarious.” Green Beret sniper Bryan Sikes said it best when he penned an open letter to leftist film maker Michael Moore, who called the late “American Sniper” hero Chris Kyle a coward, telling Moore: “It’s almost funny how people like you preach things like ‘acceptance’ and ‘not passing judgment’ or ‘labeling people’, but then are the first to do so when a person is in some way dissimilar from you.”
Speaking Of Free Speech: If you are planning to seek revenge on an “ex” girlfriend or boyfriend act with caution and exercise restraint if you plan on scrawling something profane about your former lover on the wall of your favorite watering hole’s restroom. I was told that a gun-toting Nassau County District Attorney recently charged into one of my favorite downtown pubs and questioned the manager and a barmaid concerning a “derogatory” statement about a woman that was allegedly inked on one of its restroom walls. The proprietors were asked who wrote it, and when told that they didn’t know because they don’t accompany their patrons into the restrooms, were requested to paint over the offending comments. Apparently a very upset female requested the action through an attorney for an act that I’m not altogether sure is a crime, but then I’m not a lawyer. So play it safe when you go to a public restroom and keep your pen in your pants.
Speaking of Restroom Graffiti: Two of the most humorous examples of bathroom graffiti I’ve ever seen were in New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Memphis’ Peabody Hotel. Memphis, which is the home of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former residence and his burial site, sported the following in the classy Peabody bar’s restroom facility: “If Elvis was such an important person, why is he buried in the backyard like a gerbil”? While traveling on business many years ago and using the restroom at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport I noticed very neatly penciled onto a wall covered with vile epithets and crude obscene drawings, a note saying: “Beam me up Scotty. Obviously no intelligent life here.”
Science Fun Fact: Someone sent me the following which I thought was humorous enough to share: Scientists have shown that the moon is moving away at a tiny, although measurable distance from the earth every year. If you do the math, you can calculate that 85 million years ago the moon was orbiting our planet at a distance of about 35 feet from the surface. This would explain the death of the dinosaurs…the tallest ones, anyway.
Odd Fact I Recently Learned: At least 50 percent of Icelanders believe in elves says Michael Booth in his new book “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.” I’ve also read elsewhere that Icelanders drink more heavily than folks in any other nation, so there may be a connection between the two.
Question For The President: If 11 million illegals will help the US economy why didn’t they help the Mexican economy before they left?
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Downtown Front Street’s Salty Pelican reignited its popular Sunday Brunch, and tell me it will be running it until the end of August. This year’s special is a “Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar”. Every Sunday the Pelican will begin serving its brunch menu from 10 am to 2 pm, featuring crab cake Benedict, huevos rancheros, stuffed French toast, breakfast skillet, seasonal fruit platter with yogurt, and more. In addition they’ll offer bottomless blood orange Mimosas as well as its regular menu, and if you hang around long enough singer-guitarist Dan Voll will perform starting about 4:30 pm and staying until well after sunset. For a $125 per person fee you can attend the 3rd Annual International Wine & Food Tasting event at the downtown Amelia Island Museum of History Saturday, March 7 beginning at 6 pm. If you’d like to go but don’t want to cough up $125 then you can get in for $65 a pop for the general admission price and mix with the no-black tie optional crowd from 7- 9 pm. Money raised by this Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise group goes to Arts Alive Nassau and for your entry fee you’ll get an array of wines, craft beers and hors d’oeuvres from various local and regional eateries. I’m told Dan Voll will also make an appearance at this function, probably not in black tie though. Get tickets online at ameliaislandrotary.org or at Wines by Steve, 4924 First Coast Highway. In my opinion the best wing deal in town is still the North 2nd Street Crab Trap on Wednesdays when you can get 50 cent flappers and $2.00 beer and be entertained by popular barkeep George Morris who dry-docked his Flying Fish jet ski business until the weather warms. So tuck into some cheap wings next Wednesday, quaff a couple cheap cold ones and make a warm weather jet ski reservation all in one stop.
Someone just told me about your blog today, specifically the kudos given to my hubby, Jay Robertson. I just wanted to say thank you for noticing him. He works so hard to bring events and programs to the City, and sacrifices much of his free time to make a difference. As a salaried employee, he gets paid the same whether he works 40 hours or 80 so believe me when I tell you that he does not do it for the money. I often question why he would want to put in so much extra time that he could spend with our son, Taylor, and he continuously tells me that as a Parks & Recreation employee, he feels it’s his job to bring fun things to the community and he genuinely enjoys doing it. He brings many great events throughout the year including two BBQ events (rib cookoff and butts & brisket cookoff), Slide Into Spring Music Festival with the Home Brew Competition, Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival… just to name a few. And the great thing is that each of these events feature a kids zone set up near the main entertainment so adults can enjoy the event while the kids play. Sometimes I look around at all the kids running and having fun, and I think how fortunate my son is that we have all these great events because we didn’t have these things when I was growing up. I personally think he will always remember all the wonderful days we spent outside with family. Well, most of the family. Jay is always running around crazy and doesn’t actually get to hang out with us, but we do catch a glimpse of him from time to time.
Again, thanks for your nice comments. And if you ever need to talk to Jay about the exciting things he has up his sleeve, I’m sure he would be more than happy to speak with you. Most of his events go unnoticed by the NewsLeader and that’s really a shame.
Let me try to address the comments so far: Jim. I’ve heard from several island sources they are Russian trawlers but can’t verify that. Al, Nan still has the title, but Jay is doing such a great job I promoted him. Tom, check out the ball park behind the Atlantic Recreation Center on Jean Lafitte, as there are always kids putting a game together there and in my neighborhood I even see kids playing touch football and catch in their yards, like we used to do when we were kids in the Tampa Bay area. And yes, Betsy, you are correct, but I try to toss at least one or two errors in each week so English majors will read all the way to the bottom. Thanks, as always, for the comments folks.
Dave, what R the ships just off shore of our Island heading north & south up 2?
Unless there has been a change Nan Voit is still the Director and head of Fernandina Beach’s Parks & Recreation department. Jay Robertson is listed on the city’s Website as one of two managers.
I can’t remember the last time I saw kids playing catch and/or seeing pick-up baseball games? I have seen several pick-up basketball games around the island.
Dave, Did you intend to say epithets instead of epitaphs?