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Vanishing Traditions

Posted on 09 April 2008

We suppose there are parts of East End heritage that some people would prefer to see disappear. They are inconvenient to a more modern or urban lifestyle; they conflict with values; they are rude. They disturb Saturday morning breakfasts. But we are sad to see so many traditions being edged out by a changing landscape, both literally and figuratively. Just as open farm fields and thick woodlands have given way to McMansions and suburban developments, much of what made the culture of this place is disappearing, or has disappeaed.

Making a livelihood as a fisherman or bayman has gone, for the most part. The last dairy farm disappeared more than a decade ago. Potato farmers are cashing in and moving to North Carolina. Forests for hunting are becoming scarce. We’re becoming more suburbanized and the rough edges of the country are giving way to the well-trimmed and ordered world of those who seek to mold the East End to their wishes. We note here a family that bought a home next to a farm in Bridgehampton a couple years ago actually complained that the tractors kicked up too much dust. This week we even have a letter on this page about one neighbor complaining about another neighbor’s pile of leaves.

Hunting, as suburbia creeps in more agressively, is becoming more of a problem for some. The gun shots around dawn and the inevitible remains. Because it is such a “public” activity — it is hard to conceal the reports — we suspect it is easier to pick a fight with those who practice it. While fishing is no less a brutal sport — imagine a fish being dragged through the water with a hook in its mouth — we find no one denouncing the charter captains in Montauk or Shinnecock. And we would be hypocrites if we said we didn’t enjoy a fresh piece of grilled bass or a roast teal.

The fight over Spring Farm this week is unfortunate, and we fear the future of nearly 70 years of family tradition. We would hate to see one more thing that maintains a tenuous reach to our past disappear.

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3 Responses to “Vanishing Traditions”

  1. Dan maeder says:

    Some traditions are just stupid! Sorry that was crude I mean somethings are just wrong. We no longer kill whales, we don’t own other humans. Why the hell would we allow killing for fun? Lead was outlawed in 1994 but bear in mind every pheasent round is another ounce of lead cast about on the land. Some one will have to clean that up someday. And theres the high lead count in the meat.

  2. Johnny Snell says:

    Keeping tradition around just for the sake of keeping it around does not make a whole lot of sense, especially if it involves cruelty to people or animals. Canned shoots are not real hunting, and just amounts to target practice on live animals, which I do find to be revolting and barbaric. Use clay for that!

  3. Gus Shetrone says:

    good, great article

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