Even the Sharks in Palm Beach Have a Social Season, and a Note About Republican Activist Helen Cluett

And in this case I’m not referring to the attorneys:

Sharks gathered off Reef Road Thursday morning, but were not moving into public swimming areas.

Mark Hassell, town lifeguard supervisor, reported Thursday that no sharks were seen congregating at Midtown Beach or Phipps Ocean Park. Both public beaches remained open.

Midtown Beach was closed for about 30 minutes last week when a group of sharks moved through the area.

Rick Wentley, owner of PB Boys Club and an avid surfer, said he checked conditions Thursday morning with the thought of going out.

Although he usually surfs in the North End, he said he was going to move farther south along the Palm Beach shoreline — just in case — to avoid sharks. But it turned out the waves just weren’t there.

Sharks typically migrate north in March and April.

Gary Goss, professor of biology at Palm Beach Atlantic University and a local shark expert, said the grouping of sharks is most likely a prelude to the upcoming seasonal migration.

The schooling behavior is typical for fish and the sharks that go after them for food, he said.

“They’re getting ready to go north.”

The seasonal migration pattern is a well-honoured practice amongst the human residents:  south to winter in Palm Beach (with the social season to go with it,) then north for the summer.  So why not the sharks?

My family was somewhat exceptional in being year-round residents.

And now for something completely different: saw this piece about Republican “activist” and philanthropist Helen Cluett:

When is it time to get out of politics? A) When you’re about to turn 90. B) When you realize that all of the candidates you’ve backed have lost. C) Never.

Helen Cluett will tell you the answer for her was B, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll see that the real answer is C.

Cluett turns 90 in May, and she says she’s “worked my fingers to the bone” for the Republican Party, and that it’s time to step aside to let a younger crowd take over the battle.

And you may in fact not see Cluett working the phone banks in 2012 or even this fall when the fate of Congress again is put before the American electorate.

But she’ll be deeply involved — if only to argue a point or two with visitors, family and friends. That’s the nature of one of Palm Beach’s most noted activists, both in politics and in charitable causes.

The Cluetts were the “sellers of shirts” whose weight on the vestry of my home church Bethesda-by-the-Sea was crucial in the 1968 booting of my mother’s ladies guild’s rummage sale from the church proper. That in turn led to the start of the Church Mouse resale shop, now something of a Palm Beach institution.  Obviously Helen wasn’t directly involved in that, as in that time there were no women on the Vestry (her husband Bill was another story.)  But for me, active in both Republican politics and the church, it’s hard not to feel an affinity with someone who has been diligent in the G.O.P. and lists Jesus Christ as a “most admired person” in the Shiny Sheet.  Besides, the whole Church Mouse saga is a classic “lemons to lemonade” story.

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