The Gus Scutari Challenge Coin

Photo of Gus Scutari Challenge Coin by Katheryn Laible

Thank You Gus

I always mention Gus Scutari on Memorial Day as coordinating that parade down Jackson Avenue in Syosset was very important to him. It was also how most of the broader community got to know him. Maybe, though, the 4th of July is an even better time to talk about him.

Here is the story I was blessed to write with Gus. I share it often because I think what Gus had to say was important, that the impact he had on people was incredibly positive, and that his brand of patriotism is among those I most deeply appreciate. I also find that, the more I read those words, which are mostly his, the more I learn.

Gus was friendly, and witty. He knew how to have a good time, and how to make other people feel seen and heard. He felt very strongly about the American Flag, and honoring our Nation’s Veterans. At the same time, his patriotism was very personal. Gus cared about the big systems and decisions, for sure, but what he really emphasized was the importance of the individual; the everyday choices we make as citizens, and the idea that America will only ever be as good as we, its people, will.

Gus wanted folks to give it their best and to think for themselves. He wanted people to be good to each together. Mostly, he wanted us to give it our best to be worthy of so many who give so much, and to let the world know that most of the folks he met in this life seemed to agree. For this, he was deeply thankful.

From an event honoring local champion of veterans Gus Scutari in 2016

Honoring Good Citizenship

I wrote recently about Max becoming an Eagle Scout. One of the things a parent is instructed to do when their child earns this honor is to alert all the localities’ elected officials and other key civic associations, all the way up to the President and whomever else, that someone has basically just earned a degree in good citizenship. Everyone has their own way of responding and you end up with this pile of certificates that I find fascinating.

By far, the most meaningful token came from the local VFW, Post No. 6394, recently named the “Gus Scutari” Post in Syosset: A Gus Scutari Challenge Coin. This coin speaks not only to who Gus was as a person, but to the impact he had on those around him; an impact perhaps most directly illustrated in this very endeavor by our local veterans to imbue Gus’ joyful, earnest civic spirit in others. It’s what Gus did himself, after all, for so many years with whomever caught his eye and returned his friendly smile.

In addition to his nickname, “Mr. Memorial Day,” Gus was also the “Americanism Chairman of Nassau County.” A proud booster of the Scouts, he attended ALL local Eagle Ceremonies. He was known for his entertaining, thoughtful speeches, and for his way of pinning a US flag on the kid’s chest as a badge of good citizenship and a reminder to keep it up.

I don’t think Gus ever left the house without his VFW hat. He was known as a WWII hero, though he’d tell you over and again, he got lucky. When he told the Vietnam Veterans and so many others that their own service was at least as honorable, thank you for doing the best you could figure how, it meant a very great deal. Every Memorial Day, Gus encouraged folks to make the best of things; to be good citizens worthy of the fact that young people give their lives for them. Gus was a great booster for both the VFW and the American Legion in Syosset and beyond. Moreover, he was an incredible ambassador and a proud, responsible member of the United States. If you asked, many who knew of him would tell you that Gus was The Community Spirit of Syosset, if not America herself.

Because it’s up to US

Gus advanced the Patriot Pen and Voice of America Scholarship Programs and would regularly talk to young and old alike about history and current events, honoring people for their service and asking folks to think about things and consider what it is best We the People do.

Why? Because the basic message from Gus is that we have the freedom to make what we will of this Nation, and that, yes, the grand actions of leaders and heroes are important, but it’s how everyday people choose to conduct themselves that makes a difference, and that sometimes it may seem like a crazy thing to do, but doing the right thing seems to work out pretty well most of the time. Even when it doesn’t, it’s still the right thing to do.

It was an honor for Max to receive this coin, and I am blessed that he shares it with me and that together we can offer it to you. May we go on out there, try to stand up straight and make the best of whatever life hands us. May we take it at least as well as we give it, give it our best to be decent and honorable, and remember, whatever happens, to laugh.

May God Bless America.

 

Solo Show at the Firefly: “Untethered” by Drigo Morin

“Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon” A solo show by Drigo Morin. Thank you, Chris Yee for the Exhibition Postcard!

Check out this video of Firefly Drigo Morin, made by Firefly John Lazzaro. Drigo has a gift for portraiture and a passion for space exploration. He’s been working on this series on and off for years, with some really good pieces completed recently.

There will be a solo show “Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon”
Where: The Firefly Artists, 90 Main Street, Northport. 
Works will be on view July 1-16
A reception will be held July 11 from 7-9pm
 

This is going to be amazing!!!

 

About The Firefly

The Firefly was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. The goal was to create a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations.

Over more than a decade, we have had the great privilege of displaying a stunning variety of works by well over 400 artists through our Main Street locations and pop-up galleries. We boast extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique on Long Island.

In 2020 we expanded our offerings, creating a “Darcy Arts Center” to feature special exhibitions and classes in addition to the rich selection of works by our resident artists. We are thrilled to continue to develop this in our beautiful new space, right in the center of everything! 

Every time you purchase something from The Firefly Artists you support at least two local artists. Come, experience our beautiful gallery. Bring home that perfect thing to brighten your world or someone else’s.

Thank you for your support.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website for all the latest updates. Even better, come to our beautiful location, The Old Hardware Store at 90 Main Street, Northport

***NEW SUMMER HOURS***
Mon-Tue 11am-6pm  
Wed-Fri 11am-9pm  
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 9am-7pm

Love From the Garden: Savor Summer Blooms, Tend to Autumn Ones Now

Photo of native honeysuckle by Katheryn Laible

Garden Delights

I am thrilled at the hydrangeas this year, as well as echinacea and tick weed that, after splitting a few years ago I run out of faith would ever bloom again. I now have renewed hope for my NY Asters, too, but will have to wait and see…

Time to Trim the Goldenrod and Asters!

I can’t say for sure which of my many asters have returned yet this year, but I am certainly am tending to them! In fact this weekend is the perfect time to significantly cut back fall bloomers such as Agastache, Asters, Eupatorium/Eutrochium, Goldenrod, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Rudbeckia, Solidago, and more…

You can cut them to about 1/3 of their size. Then they’ll be bushier and less likely to be falling all over themselves come autumn!

There are more detailed, professional instructions (and a whole lot more great LI gardening guidance) on Facebook, courtesy of Dropseed Native Landscapes.

Building Community

I super grateful to them and everyone at the Long Island Native Plant Gardening Group, which is a FANTASTIC resource filled with great people. Find them in our Native Garden and Ecolandscaping Resources.

Knows other great resources? Let me know and we’ll add them to the list!

The Getty Initiative: How a Passion for Arm Wrestling Sparked a Remarkable Photography Program for Local Youth

Getty Initiative Class of 2024

…So…I discovered this amazing program that connects young folks who would like to explore photography with mentors, equipment and business experience. I wanted to know a lot more. My first question, though, looking at the materials, was this: What does Arm Wrestling have to do with it?!?

Continue reading

Happy Father’s Day!

Photo of my father, wandering the village of his grandfather

Thinking About Fathers by Katheryn Laible

Happy Father’s Day!

Here is a photo of my own father, wandering through the village of his grandfather, telling stories about him, the mother he raised, his own father, and his father…

I am grateful for him, for them, for my sweet husband, and for all who give it their best to be a good man and serve as a father. It means more than I can say….Thank you!

Apparently Father’s Day didn’t come about until quite a few decades after Mother’s Day. In fact, while in the US it was apparently initiated by a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd in 1909, whose dad raised her and her five siblings alone, it didn’t become an official national thing until 1972!

You can read about that and other fascinating bits in this Britannica entry, as well as in this History.com article.

I love this collection of “The Best Quotes on Fatherhood” from The Art of Manliness

Did you know there’s a National Fatherhood Initiative dedicated to helping foster fatherhood?

I am also really, really grateful for all who step up to serve in a fathering role, This expecially includes all those folks who for one reason or another end up wearing both mother and father hats, and those who are determined to be the father they wish they had.

One sweet and broadly helpful example is this guy, Rob Kenney who hosts “Dad, how do I?” on YouTube. Kenny’s dedicated to doing his “best to provide useful, practical content to many basic tasks that everyone should know how to do.” He started out just trying to do it for his own kids, and now we all benefit.

Grateful!

LI Celebrates Juneteenth! Special Focus on the Town of Huntington: “Freedom to be Fabulous” & “Freedom Day”

Come to amazing events celebrating beautiful community.

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Solo Show at the Firefly by Katheryn Laible: “I <3 LI”

Photo of a Diner sign with info regarding an art exhibition detailed below

“I <3 LI”: A solo show by Katheryn Laible. Thank you, Chris Yee for the Exhibition Postcard!

There will be a solo show of works by Katheryn Laible 
Where: The Firefly Artists, 90 Main Street, Northport. 
Works will be on view June 17-30.
A reception will be held June 20 from 7-9pm
 

Some are almost black and white. Some have quite a lot of color.
A few are painted with a brush, Most, with a lens.
Some are finely framed. Most will be clothes-lined. 
Some of these places are unmistakable.
Others show detail you may not have noticed.

All focus on our beautiful Island. Come see!

About The Firefly

The Firefly was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. The goal was to create a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations.

Over more than a decade, we have had the great privilege of displaying a stunning variety of works by well over 400 artists through our Main Street locations and pop-up galleries. We boast extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique on Long Island.

In 2020 we expanded our offerings, creating a “Darcy Arts Center” to feature special exhibitions and classes in addition to the rich selection of works by our resident artists. We are thrilled to continue to develop this in our beautiful new space, right in the center of everything! 

Every time you purchase something from The Firefly Artists you support at least two local artists. Come, experience our beautiful gallery. Bring home that perfect thing to brighten your world or someone else’s.

Thank you for your support.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website for all the latest updates. Even better, come to our beautiful location, The Old Hardware Store at 90 Main Street, Northport

***NEW SUMMER HOURS***
Mon-Tue 11am-6pm  
Wed-Fri 11am-9pm  
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 9am-7pm

2024 Pride Month: Local Events

Photo from the 2023 Huntington Pride Parade by Katheryn Laible

Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan when, following a raid of a then-illegal gay bar that included invasive personal inspections to validate individuals’ gender identities, folks of all stripes took to the streets to demand their right to exist and be openly themselves. 
 
This was an extraordinary eruption of the human spirit that is seen as a tipping point in the Gay Rights movement. You can read about it here at the Library of Congress, the National Geographic, and the History Channel websites.
 
Fundamentally, it’s a celebration and affirmation of the broad spectrum of humans who may not fit neatly into cultural conceptions of gender, and a recognition that the biology of gender and sexuality is actually quite complex. It honors the significant contributions to society made by LGBTQ folks, asserts their fundamental right to exist, and welcomes them as our neighbors, family and friends.
 
Here are a couple local events:

 

Sunday, 6/9, 12-5pm in Huntington Village: The “34th Annual Long Island Pride Parade” will kick-off at 12pm, beginning at the intersection of Clinton Ave. and Main St. Participants will march to the intersection of Main St. and Prime Ave., where a festival and concert will immediately follow in Heckscher Park. In coordination with LI Pride, which organizes the overarching event, The Hesckscher Museum will host a related “Price Celebration” of community art making and appreciation.
 
This is part of a series of events, others of which include 6/10 in Freeport, 6/20 in Bay Shore and 6/24 in Greenport.
 
Saturday, 6/15, 12-5pm Northport Village: There was a flag raising the week prior at Village Hall. Now, this weekend,
community members will come together in the spirit of “All Are Welcome Here” to hold the “The Northport Pridefest” in the waterfront village
park.
 
Other local Pride Month parades and events may be found in Newsday (Mind the paywall. Please support quality local journalism).