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Humankind & Beyond Belief-are my columns published monthly in the Put-in-Bay Gazette

A short intro: I enjoy writing about life here on our small island in the western basin of Lake Erie. The island is known as South Bass Island, one of three bass islands. It’s about 1.5 miles wide by 3 miles long and is a very popular destination in the summer. The island is best known as Put-in-bay, a name with cloudy beginnings since no one can actually claim to have given the island the name. Our history starts with native Americans hunting and fishing in these waters, then French settlers showed up in the mid to late 1700’s. We are directly connected to the War of 1812 due to the battle of Lake Erie fought just off our shore by the British and American navies. The battle was won by Commodore Oliver Perry and the most often quoted by line of the battle was “Don’t give up the Ship”.

Today Put-in-bay is a wonderful Victorian styled summer island with about 500 or so year rounders. This blog is where all my columns will appear as well as past ones that I have written. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Peter Huston

Octobers column

Beyond Belief- Really I’m not making this up

Summer on South Bass Island is a smorgasbord of stories ideas for writers. All you need to do is hang around Delaware Ave, keep your eyes and ears open and great stories will walk right into you, literally. These are bits and pieces of stories ideas that hailed me like a person needing a cab on a hot day in NYC, but never made it to print.

First there was our own Don Quixote, a young guy still feeling the full effects of his Saturday evening, joisting at the cars while standing in the middle of the street on Toledo one Sunday morning. As each car swerved to miss him, he was incoherently demanding that they take him back to the Island Club so he could sleep. I finally called him a cab. Then as the cab approached he walked away just to prove he could find his own way home!

Early in July if you were down by the harbor docks you may have seen these two young girls dancing the booty dance on top of a very large powerboat from Detroit. As the mixed drinks continued to flow on that warm afternoon along the village waterfront, I can tell you these two would have made the pole dancers at the Nauti-gal Bar blush.

And on Saturday of Christmas in July did you see the two guys walking down the street mooning passers bye? Hope you missed that.

Of course there was the family of 8 with their rolling cooler that explained to me that they had walked from the ferry dock to downtown, then they had tried to rent a golf cart. After finding out all the carts were sold out they decided to take the next bus back to the ferry and leave the island. Now that’s some “day at the bay”!

And then there was this dad and his young son wrestling over control of the steering wheel of their rented golf cart at full speed until they lost complete control and spun out into a lawn, luckily no one was hurt. I was wondering who really was the better driver, I think the boy won out.
Late Saturday afternoon early in August there was this 20ish girl standing in front of one of the most popular bars as the tour train I was driving, passed by. While I was explaining that this establishment is one of our island’s most popular destinations, she loudly invited the riders on the tour train to “come on in and get messed up just like me”. Now that’s hospitality!

And how about a lady who earnestly asked at the chamber office where the bridge to the other bass island was; and then later that day two ladies asked me about the tunnel to Middle bass. Both said they had heard about it from their hotel clerk. Good information is always a big help!

Then there were the guys hanging out at the original De Rivera’s winery on PIB Road (next to the Island Club) that would start acting like monkeys at the zoo as tourists went by on golf carts. Really!
And of course even the nicest people can be pushed to their limit some days. It just so happened that on one of the busiest afternoons this July there was a line of about 15 people waiting for a single golf cart to come available along Delaware. When one finally did, the crowd booed and heckled as the “lucky” two girls drove away from the rental site in an eight-passenger cart.

One of my favorite moments was watching 5 young guys all do wheelies on their mopeds together as they headed towards town on Catawba. Only one crashed, and they all laughed. Good thing there’s no IQ test when you rent one of those.

Finally, on the Sunday morning after “Christmas” I arrived at the Depot and encountered this mother, with her husband and two children, asking me for bus fare or change for the soda machine, she wasn’t sure which she needed. She then told me her golf cart had been stolen the night before out front of their hotel so the rental company, she said, had charged her for an extra day. Now all she had was 40 dollars in her bank account and the ATM would only let her take out 50. She explained to me that her kids were hungry and they all wanted to go home. All she had was a five-dollar bill. Sounded plausible, so I gave her some change. So then she decided on getting a soda for herself and made the family walk to the Lime Kiln dock. Luckily they had bought round trips on the Miller or they might still be here! Nothing spells Christmas F-U-N like walking back to the ferry Sunday morning.

So if you ever hear somebody say weekends on our island are boring you know they were either sleeping or never really here. Now there’s no moral to this story just a series of observations about odd behavior, but as the singer Angus Young of ACDC once said “Don’t worry about tomorrow, forget about the cheque, have a drink on me, (tomorrow) we’ll get hell to pay”. What I wonder as I see such remarkably odd behavior during our peak months is, “can we become a little more boring?”


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