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  •        John de Poo, a man whose zest for life attracted many friends and drew him to master diverse skills, died in Key West, Fla., on Feb. 20. He had been stricken by West Nile encephalitis, but his death was caused by an aortic aneurism. He was 89 years old.

  •     Because I have been a writer, editor, and eventually publisher for The Star over the course of more than 50 years, hundreds and hundreds of obituaries have crossed my desk. Sometimes, naturally, they have been obituaries of relatives or friends.

  •     Almost by chance, but aware that it was Black History Month, my husband and I went to Shelter Island on Friday night for a program on the history of slavery sponsored by the Shelter Island Library and Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. We had been primed by Mac Griswold’s penetrating book, “The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island.”

  •     A friend sent an eBlast this week that offered a balm to the winter-weary soul. Using a service called Paperless Post, his email bore the subject line winter 2014, but its contents, the poem "in time of daffodils" by E.E. Cummings, heralded spring.
     
    In time of daffodils (who know
    the goal of living is to grow)
    forgetting why, remember how
        
    In time of lilacs who proclaim
    The aim of waking is to dream. . . .

           

  •     The surgeon general’s first report on how bad smoking is for the human body came out on Jan. 11, 1964. Fifty years later — perhaps in connection with the report’s anniversary? — CVS Caremark, the huge drugstore chain that has a branch in East Hampton, announced on Feb. 6 that it would no longer sell tobacco products. When I read the news I let out an audible hooray.

  •     Did you hear that 111.5 million people watched the Super Bowl on TV Sunday? This number may not be an eye-opener for sport fans — apparently, this was the fourth time in five years that the Super Bowl has set a record as the most-watched television event in United States history — but it was a stunner for me.

  •     It was 17 degrees that morning, so maybe the reason the conversation turned to warm water sailing was to put our minds over matter. I had been coiling a heavy orange extension cord, which was no longer needed near my desk, and announced rather smugly to a co-worker who happened to be standing nearby that I knew how to coil lines correctly because I had spent a lot of time on boats.

  •     About 20 years ago, when my husband and I were courting, we came across one of Dr. Dean Ornish’s  books, “Eat More, Weigh Less.” The word  “wellness” was not in the air at the time, but we were ready, and old enough, to give serious consideration to alternative ways of improving our health.

  •     On Sunday morning, I awoke to the sound of running water. Actually, I had noticed a soft flowing noise Saturday night, but decided I was imagining things. After all, a plumber had been to our house to fix the furnace and one of the toilets that very day, so surely nothing could be amiss with our pipes. By Sunday breakfast time, however, I realized I needed to investigate. Peering down the cellar steps, I saw a flood. I put on my cracked old boat boots, crept down, and found half the concrete cellar floor covered with water.

  •     Exactly how much of an affront is it if you meet an old acquaintance and think he or she is someone else?

        There I was in the supermarket, having braved the icy roads outside, searching for kitty litter. With my handknit Nova Scotia watch cap pulled way down, I probably wasn’t easily recognizable at that moment myself. But the other person didn’t make the mistake, I did. And, really, I should have instantly known the young woman I greeted in the produce aisle; I have known her since she was a child.