There can appear to be a social pecking order in most seasonal beach communities. Do a stop-and-chat with almost any random stranger on the beach during the summer and (go ahead and time this) within 60 seconds that person will utter some version of “I’ve been coming here since XXX and…,” no matter how awkward it might be to squeeze it into conversation.
You: “Hey, are you O.K.??? You are bleeding really badly!”
Them: “Yeah, I’ve been comin’ down here my whole life and never had to call the ambulance before I bled out completely. Could you help?”
It is habitual. It is uncanny. But it is not absurd. In some cases it is a dominance move, but usually it is a very simple and factual way to express one’s deep and abiding love for their little slice of beach.
Then of course you’ve got your renters vs. homeowners, full year residents vs. part year residents, those who live on the Island and those who live on the mainland, etc. It all depends on the context and the judge. There is still no absolute final set of rules which determine who gets to call themselves a local.
But I certainly can’t think of any circumstance which could disqualify someone who was born here as being considered a “local.”
Folks, I bring you tidings of great joy. For unto the Island is born this day a Tiny Flower. It is with great pleasure I announce that LBI’s first local Peregrine Falcon has hatched to Jo Durt and BridgeBoy at the BOIS Tower.
On a personal note, I’m really thrilled for Jo Durt. I’m not going to repeat the whole back story here, but as any longtime Reader knows, I have been following this bird on the Island for four years… from her arrival at Holgate as a fledgling, to her takeover of the Surf City Water Tower, to her budding romance with Bridge Boy, to her takeover of the Causeway nest and tragic failures there, to the building of the new Tower at Bonnet Island, and now, to her successful hatch of her first offspring. I make a lot of stuff up, but Jo Durt is real, and all of the above is true. The Durt’s are as real and as valuable a part of the LBI community as any other creature. The Durt’s love this Island as much as anyone.
Congratulations Jo & BeeBee.
And a special heartfelt thanks to all of the good folks and great organizations who have been working towards this moment over the years. Kathy, Ben, Tina, and Tara, NJ Fish & Wildlife, The CWFNJ, the NJ DOT.
For any Reader who remembers Jo Durt’s backstory and how she was born in a flowerpot, you’ll understand why I propose we name her first baby after a flower. Please leave flower-name suggestions in the comments.
And the first person to comment that this tiny flower baby technically doesn’t count as an LBI local because it was born on Bonnet Island and not LBI proper gets a gold star for being clever and obnoxious.
Good luck Jo, BB, and your new little flower!