To the editor: It is unlikely the President will write, but I imagine it would read like this: To all Nantucketers: I write to express my appreciation and to offer an apology … and a promise.
Jill and I and our family have been fortunate to visit Nantucket for Thanksgiving for many years. Prior to my being elected as your President those visits were a lot simpler. This year we again were treated to a magnificent Thanksgiving dinner provided by Bill Puder of Fairgrounds Restaurant at the beautiful home of David Rubenstein. We also enjoyed lunch at The Brotherhood and some shopping in town. But while those traditions remain, the level of security required has created disruptions in your wonderful community. I am sad about that.
Perhaps the greatest intrusion caused by the need for my security occurred at the Tree Lighting on Friday at dusk. This is a tradition cherished by Nantucketers of all stripes – those born here, those who have made Nantucket their home, and seasonal homeowners. But my sincerest apology goes to the many local and visiting families with children and grandchildren, who missed the “countdown” to the tree lighting because they were held up in the security lines. To those parents, grandparents and children I offer my heartfelt mea culpa.
Jill and I look forward each year to returning to Nantucket because it is a place like no other. Its cobblestoned streets and its history are legend. There was a time when Nantucket was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. For a century and a half whaling provided many jobs and great wealth. Two wars – the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 – devastated the whaling industry. Between 1776 and 1882 the fleet of whale ships was reduced from 150 to a single ship, and things were not much better during the conflict three decades later. But the resilient Nantucketers bounced right back. I love that about this island and its people. And I love the feeling of warmth and welcome that Nantucketers express, not just to Presidents, but to arriving families and to visitors. It is that warmth that instills our desire to return.
So I will close with a promise. If I am re-elected as your President a year from now, I promise to return to Nantucket for Thanksgiving each year. But I also promise to NOT attend the Tree Lighting in future years. I love that tradition, but I will not allow our enjoyment to deprive Nantucketers, their families and visitors to be compromised.
Jill joins me in expressing our sincere appreciation for welcoming us in past years and in wishing all a blessed holiday season.
Peter Hoey (for Joe)