The original Oak Bluffs golf course was the Island County Club. The clubhouse overlooked hole number one along Beach Road past Harthaven. The clubhouse eventually became Anthony’s Restaurant until 1994 when Paul and Kathy Domitrovich re-opened it as Lola’s.

Hailing from Detroit and New York with a run of successful restaurants, the couple couldn’t have predicted the role they would play in the lives of Oak Bluffs folks. Kathy (Lola) developed the southern seafood menu and Paul was the grip-and-grinning greeter who identified birthday boys and girls to their surprise, delight and often feigned humiliation with cupcakes topped by a sparkler as everyone in the dining room sang Happy Birthday, always loudly and at times in unison.

Over the last 21 years Lola’s has woven together a circle of families from near and far who have only Lola’s in common. The refrain “see you at Lola’s” has become more than a slogan. It is an event, an appointment and a mass celebration of summer.

Ours is not the only family who at any given evening finds grandparents, parents and children in the same place at the same time with three separate groups of friends at the place on Island, “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.”

Last weekend Paul celebrated his 80th birthday with a still-expanding circle of friends and family from New Orleans, Key West, Miami, New York, Connecticut, Detroit, Los Angeles and of course our six towns and environs beyond. How popular is Paul? It’s a much longer story, but Paul became king of one of the Mardi Gras Krewes in 2003.

In honor of his birthday, Kathy unveiled the mural (covered during a recent remodeling) comprised of fans that the talented Margot Datz painted over a three month period in 1996. Many of the people whose faces are on the mural are still around, although some have died. Margot said “murals are just sleeping when they are covered, so in reality we are just waking it up to see another day.” It was another great day in Oak Bluffs.

Following some confusion, there is now a general understanding of what has been happening with Niantic park. The entire park is (finally) undergoing a major renovation with several elements; a new playground, new basketball and tennis courts, new landscaping and parking, and a street change. Last year private donations were raised for the children’s playground, which had no town funding. Typically, fewer funds are available for a project whose costs have escalated over time. Add a ridiculously long winter and we are where we are, in a summer with a fenced-in park under construction.

Of course the results will be worth everyone’s patience, and in the meantime we have a brand new beach, bowling alley, a new game room and, hallelujah, a movie theatre. Yes, the beautifully renovated Strand is back in business. If you’d like to donate to Niantic park so we can have better than average equipment, send tax deductible checks to the Town of OB Niantic Park Fund, PO Box 1327, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Janie Peters’ Old Variety Store behind the Flying Horses is open again and she has some fabulous pictures of it and the McFarland Square area which she will be making into a mini historical exhibit. I’ve seen some of the pictures and they’re great — more reasons to be proud to be from OB. Thank you Janie.

Friday evening at 5 p.m. the Oak Bluffs Library presents a ‘50s Sock Hop with the local band Serendipity, a five-piece band that plays oldies and Motown (of course we know they’re both just oldies). The library will be decorated like an old diner and people are encouraged to wear ‘50s clothes. By the way, if you have a vintage ‘50s car drive it to the event to add to the decorum.

Brant Weatherford lives here in Oak Bluffs during the season and in the rural community of Oak Bluff, Tex. (115 acres, 23 houses) in the off-season. He says “it’s within the town limits of Crossroads, Texas (Pop. 800+). And who hasn’t heard of Crossroads, Tex.?”

The fireworks? We need a new plan, Stan. More later. See you at Lola’s.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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