Sep 16, 2007

A Visit to the Hamptons

In 1964, while on active duty in the navy, I was assigned to the USS Maloy (DE-791) to serve as Chief Engineer. My Damage Control Assistant (a job that requires a Jack-of-all-trades) was a most capable fellow named Ron Gray. This was a very small ship and all the officers became close friends, but I think Ron and I were especially close because our professional activities were so entwined.

Ron left the navy in 1965, after we decommissioned the Maloy. He and his wife Dorothy and their daughter Kristen moved to Long Island where he became a building contractor. It was a career he had planned for. We stayed in touch over the years. In 1971, a group of us, including Ron and Dorothy, and our former Captain, Jim Fernandes and his wife Doty, got together for a "mini-reunion" in the Washington DC area. This weekend, after only 36 more years, I went to visit Ron and Dorothy. I also got to see Kristen.

A couple of observations:
1) We should never allow this much time to pass between visits to those who are dear to us.
2) Old friendships are amazingly robust -- we related instantly.

I took the Bridgeport Ferry over to Port Jefferson and drove out to Ron and Dorothy's. They have a beautiful home, a very open and inviting design, and Dorothy has appointed it wonderfully.

Saturday afternoon, we went to the local airport for a display of antique airplanes and cars, after which we went into Sag Harbor for their Tricentennial celebration. The town was packed with tourists like me. I got to see Billy Joel's home, overlooking the yacht harbor, along with his piers and boats. After getting cleaned up, we dined at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, an experience not to be missed! It was a memorable evening of wonderful food and great conversation.

Sunday morning, Ron took me on a tour of some of the fabulous homes he has built. He is a genuine artist. He has every right to be very proud of a construction legacy that will be around for a long time. Now I can't wait to get Mary Ann up to Long Island to meet the Grays.

Thanks, Ron and Dorothy and Kristen, for a fabulous weekend...

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