The first weekend of this new year was snowy, windy, and cold. Despite two solid days of snow, remarkably little has accumulated on the ground, only a couple of inches. The wood stove kept us warm, and the bird feeder provided entertainment. There was thick pea soup to eat, made from our Christmas ham bone, and our wedding anniversary chocolate cake.
Mike and I were married New Year’s Day 25 years ago. We eloped to the West Tisbury Church, where the Rev. Jim Martin married us. Blue Cullen was my attendant. Mike’s brother, Jared, was best man. Blue made our wedding cake and has maintained the tradition of making us a facsimile every January 1 for all these years. Somehow we managed to keep it secret; the next day, most people who saw Mike’s van outside the church thought there was some carpentry emergency.
I have steadfastly refused to cook on my anniversary. Over the years we have gone out to dinner: to the now-defunct Beeftender, to the Square Rigger, or the Ocean View. All have inconveniently closed on New Year’s Day. Then we had Julia Humphreys’ party to attend. I was bemoaning the fact that this year Julia wasn’t having her party because she was having so much company over the holidays. Our dear friends, Bill and Betty Haynes, invited us to dinner at their house.
Thursday night, New Year’s Eve, Mike came home clutching a bag from Conroy’s. Inside was a big bottle of Nyquil and a big bag of cough drops. “In sickness and in health…” I reminded myself as dreams of our romantic anniversary changed to concern for my beloved. A hot shower, a bowl of soup, and Mike was up in bed by 7 o’clock. So much for New Year’s Eve and for much of the following day. Blue stopped by with our cake. Sue and Jared stopped by during the afternoon. I told them we were invited out for dinner and that I planned to go by myself if Mike stayed home in bed. By 6 o’clock, he was up and, fortified with cough medicine and aspirin, we took separate vehicles so he could leave early if necessary.
Betty and Bill outdid themselves. Their dining room was magical, the table beautiful with flowers and champagne glasses from the Glass Works next door. Candles flickered on the table and on every surface around the room. “Happy Anniversary.”
Bill was pouring our drinks and hors d’oeuvres were being sampled as someone drove into their driveway. “It looks like Glenn,” said Mike, “and Linda.” It was. Car after car, truck after truck arrived, one after another of our friends. The romantic dinner table was whisked away to make room for a fabulous West Tisbury potluck.
It felt, in many ways, as though we were seeing our lives together in that room filled with so many people we love and who love us. Hillary Clinton was mocked when she wrote “It Takes a Village.” But she was right, that the bonds of community are the strength of us as individuals. Or couples, as it was that night. For better or worse, West Tisbury has been our village, and we couldn’t have been luckier. This anniversary was more than I imagined. Different, surely, as have been the 25 years we celebrated that night. Thank you all.
Carol Carrick has been in Florida since before Christmas, emailing friends up north regarding the unreality of holiday preparations amid sand and palm trees. Of course, she also mentions the balmy temperatures, compared to our snow and arctic winds.
Norman and Kathy Lobb had both their daughters here over the holidays. Amanda Lobb came from Winooski, Vt. Her sister, Dee, with her husband, Doug Quesnel, came from Huntington, Vt. After a lovely time together, they returned home mid-week.
Sarah Wasserman and Brian Bassett arrived with their boys, Henry and Hugh, to spend the holidays with Suzi and Bob Wasserman. Following family tradition, they had picked out their tree right after Thanksgiving, storing it in the Wasserman’s barn till everyone regrouped right before Christmas. They spent a few days in Connecticut with Brian’s family, then returned to town for a snowy New Year’s celebration. They were packing up their presents and heading back to Boston on the 12 noon boat Sunday, according to Henry when we saw him at breakfast that morning.
Two West Tisbury students were on the Falmouth Academy’s Headmaster’s List. Seventh-grader Aidan Huntington and senior Lily Cronig were recognized for their academic achievement. Congratulations to you both.
January is Cary Grant Month at the West Tisbury Library. Join your neighbors for the free movie and popcorn on Monday nights at 7 pm.
Chickadees, finches, nuthatches, cardinals, juncoes, and titmice are some of the birds at our feeder. Mourning doves poke around for seeds in the snow. We can watch as we are eating breakfast. All too often, I lose time looking out the window.