Political Life of MA Has Always Had a Distinct Cape Cod Flavor

Monday, August 6, 2018

One of the great things about computers and the Internet is they allow you to appear as if you are hard at work when you are not -- and when you are in fact loafing at some remote location and merely checking your emails and returning the occasional phone call to create the appearance of serious engagement. 

For example, today I am in Harwich on Cape Cod, where my wife and I are enjoying the hospitality of her sister at a house on a beautiful quiet side street, shaded by ancient pines and oaks and punctuated with birdsong during the day, while back in the urban heat island of Boston, my diligent colleagues are suffering the tortures of the damned.

But do not fear.  Our president has assured us that climate change is totally not real -- "fake news" propagated by Democrats, eco-terrorists and those horrendous "enemies of the people," the news media.  (Joe Stalin does a jig beneath the Kremlin Wall every time Trump trots out that "enemies" stuff.)

Speaking of Cape Cod, I noticed on the State House News Service that Father Rick Walsh, chaplain of the Massachusetts House, opened today's informal session of the lower branch at 11:03 a.m. with the following prayer:

"We give thanks for the seasonal heat and humidity and we pray that it does not last too long.  We pray today for those in danger of heat exhaustion and our women and men who work to bring us just and fair legislation, as well as their support staff.  Tomorrow marks the 57th anniversary of the creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the first time the federal government created a national park from land owned primarily by private entities.  We pray those who are enjoying that park today know the blessing that it is."

Note to Father Rick:  I am not on the National Seashore but I know how blessed I am to have a very kind and giving sister-in-law, Rosemary, and to have the opportunity to be on the Cape with her anytime we wish. 

Note to Father Rick's boss:  Thanks for that heavenly 76-degree ocean every day on my early-morning swim.

Speaking further of Cape Cod, I noticed on the State House News Service that the Massachusetts Senate adjourned its informal session today at 11:25 a.m. in memory of the late John Francis "Jack" Aylmer of Barnstable, who served six terms in the Senate (1971-82), was assistant minority leader for the Republicans in the Senate, and had a distinguished career as president (1981-91) of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, his alma mater (Class of 1957).  A Navy veteran and longtime merchant mariner, Aylmer held the rank of Rear Admiral at Mass. Maritime.  He died at his home on July 8 at the age of 84.

I looked up Aylmer's obituary online and learned that he was "raised in the villages of Osterville and Centerville." (That was in the days when the Cape was not close to being the rich man's preserve that it has regrettably become in so many locales.)  He graduated from Barnstable High School in 1952 and did a post-graduate year at Admiral Billard Academy, New London, CT.  Befitting a man of the sea, Aylmer financed his college education at the maritime academy by operating a tug boat for the New England Dock and Dredge Co.  He later earned a master's degree in education and a law degree. 

An outstanding athlete in his younger days, Aylmer played for the former Barnstable Barons in the Cape Cod (college all stars) Baseball League (1952) and participated in the founding of not one but two teams in the league, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (1976) and the Bourne Braves (1988).  In 2012, he was named to the league's hall of fame as an administrator. 

May you rest in peace, Admiral.

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