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  • Toys and toothbrushes may be turning up in peculiar places, but I wouldn’t trade this month for anything. It is said that grandparents have all the fun when it comes to child-care, but none of the responsibility, and I say, “Hurray.” I suppose that for those grandparents who are charged with caring full time for grandchildren, the fun can wear thin, but there’s no sign of that at our house, even though two of my grandkids are now into the third week of a monthlong stay.

  • July Fourth isn’t what it used to be. It’s been six years or so since the last Declaration of Independence party hereabouts, an annual ritual that lasted for some two decades. It was extraordinary and all-American, a coming together of like-minded individuals to recognize the best things about the United States, things from which we all have benefited. The Declaration was read, a brass band played marches, and the Union Jack was lowered. Guests were then invited to speak or read from pertinent material.

  • Do you know what the difference is between $212,614 and $230,726? I don’t mean the figure you get if you subtract the first dollar amount from the second. I refer to the difference between what the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education earns annually and the salary the Bridgehampton School District superintendent, Lois Favre, will make next year.

  • White Boots, our 8-year-old cat, is 3 feet long. At least that’s how long he looked the other day when I picked him up from the living room floor to move him away from a visitor who is allergic to cats: Stretched out toe to toe, white boots and white belly presenting, he was practically the size of a porpoise.

    White Boots is supposed to belong to one of my granddaughters. She fell in love with him on her 5th birthday, when she was taken for a visit to the shelter run by the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.

  • My daughter, who is also an editor, is always chiming in from the peanut gallery to tell me that my column is best when I resist my natural inclination toward sententious themes of doom and gloom. She likes to warn me, only half-joshing, not to allow my column to become a “Whine of the Week,” and perhaps she is right. But today’s sky is awfully gray, and it looks like it’s going to rain for the next two or three days . . .

  • Have you heard the news about the 10-fold increase, since 2011, in the number of children coming illegally and by themselves into the United States? The Obama administration has called it a humanitarian crisis. Almost unbelievably, it is estimated that 60,000 children will be apprehended this year trying to get into the U.S. across our Southwestern borders. Many of these children — from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — are placed in the care of a federal agency called the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Others, from Mexico, are routinely sent back home.

  • A career-guidance test we took in high school that supposedly scientifically assessed students’ personal characteristics had me ranking high on what was called persuasiveness. The suggestion was that I would make a good lawyer.

    With the benefit of hindsight, however, I think it’s a good thing I didn’t follow through on that career advice: What sort lawyer is too impatient to wade through fine print, as I’ve always been?

  • About six dozen yellow irises greeted me on a gray morning this week, testimony to a place where others have lived and gardened before. The old lilacs aren’t as bountiful as I remember, waiting perhaps for  judicial pruning, but there are enough for bouquets.

  •     Complaining to a colleague, as I am wont to do, about my difficulties hitting upon a subject for this column every week, she asked when I first began to write it. It turns out — and I had to pull out a folder from a crammed old filing cabinet to be sure — that the first “Connections” appeared in The East Hampton Star on April 28, 1977, which means it passed the 37-year mark a few weeks ago. (Even I, a hater of unnecessary exclamation points, want to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence.)

  •     The East End, or at least the South Fork half of it, is like a sponge filling up with more and more people and events every year. Sometime in the almost forgotten long ago, the sponge would begin expanding on Memorial Day and shrink again come Labor Day. Nowadays, the sponge gets heavier and heavier earlier and earlier in the season and, while it does begin to slim down in September, it doesn’t really resume its normal shape until after Thanksgiving.

        They say children are overscheduled in this day and age, but what about us?