Happy belated birthday to Harold Zadeh, who turned 65 on March 26. Sadly, that day also marks his retirement from firefighting duty in the Edgartown Fire Department. Harold has been a firefighter for nearly a quarter of a century, and for the last eight years served as the Lieutenant of Chappy’s Fire Pumper #3. He served as Clerk of the Works for the town during the construction of the new Chappy Firehouse. The Fire Museum in town incorporates much of his handiwork. In particular, Harold constructed the big barn doors as a donation to the project from the Chappy firefighters.

He was also among the first Chappy EMTs. I have always marveled at how quickly he could recall the names of ailments and anatomical terms. During one of our one-minute conversations aboard the ferry I was sharing with him my opinion that it seemed ironic that the protective barrier surrounding the heart could turn against you and retain too much fluid and hinder the proper functioning of your heart. Before I finished, he calmly said, “Yes, pericardial tamponade. Definitely a problem.”

Harold was first elected to the Edgartown Board of Health in 1995 and has served ever since. During his recent terms he took on the additional role of chairman. Following a particularly-complicated complaint hearing attended by a large and raucous crowd, Harold calmly explained the scope of the board’s powers of enforcement. When the audience persisted in arguing, Harold politely but firmly stated that though valid, our concerns were not in the purview of the board and that we were welcome to continue our discussion outside and he nodded toward the door. It was exactly the right thing to do and I believe that most of us were relieved that he had so effectively defused the situation.

I have appreciated Harold’s uncomplicated approach to problem solving in the fire service, as well. On behalf of his community I thank him for his many years of public service.

It is in my nature to overburden my decision-making process with too many ifs, ands or buts. I find it very refreshing to observe someone using their powers of simplification to solve a problem. One day we adults were wondering to whom one of our kindergarten teachers is married. My granddaughter happens to be in that classroom and we figured she would know. “Hey, Emily, what is Mrs. Searle’s hubby’s name?” After a quizzical sideways look Emily repeated the question as she returned her attention to her art project. “What’s Mrs. Searle’s hubby’s name?” I got the impression from her tone of voice that she may have considered that query to be in the silly questions category. Still, I was pleasantly surprised when she quickly responded, “Mr. Searle.”

Don’t forget about the ferry ramp repair work scheduled for this Saturday, April 6. Erik and I have been able to get all but the final step of the project completed during the past weekends. We have removed the deteriorated wooden bulkhead, constructed a cofferdam to contain the new concrete and placed a protective pile of rocks beneath the Edgartown ramp. All that remains is to pump concrete into the void beneath the retaining wall that supports the ramp hinge and holds back Dock Street. I want to give the concrete time enough to set so that it won’t be washed away by the propeller wash of the ferry.

Therefore, we will carry cars in the morning between 6 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. We will then continue to operate the ferry on the quarter hour to carry only passengers between 6:45 a.m. and the moment that the concrete hardens. Passengers will embark as usual in the Chappy slip but will be dropped off at the south corner of the wharf.

There are several ways that you can find out when we return to regular service. The best way is to sign up for Chappaquiddick text notifications. You do this by texting the word “CHAPPY” to the number 69302. The technologically up-to-date folks already know how to do this. Don’t be shy about asking someone to help you, because this will also be very handy in the future for receiving messages regarding Chappy and the ferry.

You can check the Edgartown town website or the Chappy Ferry website for updated notices. You can also check the ferry webcams on the Chappy WISP and Chappy Ferry websites. You can also call our Chappy Ferry hotline at 508-627-6965.

I checked with the police about overnight parking in town. You will be able to leave your car in any town lot or legal street spot overnight that Friday night and Saturday night without getting a ticket.

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. This is an essential repair.

Past Chappy columnist Dorothy Knight would like her Island friends to know that she has moved to a sunny apartment at 6 Beth Avenue, Apartment 239, Leominster, MA 01453. Her phone number remains the same. Dorothy still finds time for an occasional visit to Chappy and to peek in at Blueberry Cottage.

By the time you read this the big barge unloading project at the ferry point will be winding down. It occurred to me as I observed the arrival of machines, vehicles and house-moving gear that it’s basically about defying gravity. The purpose of all of this equipment is to lift and hold things up. And very big things at that, with a whole lot of gravity to defy.

There is a bumper sticker on one of the house mover pickups that reads: “SAVE A TREE. MOVE A HOUSE.”