There is a room across the south side of our house. We call it the greenhouse, although it's really just a space where the woodstove sits on a brick floor, big windows with a shelf underneath for plants. It's in its full glory now. The first of our Amaryllis bulbs is blooming, ruffled white flowers on a tall stalk. There is an orchid covered with spikes of tiny white flowers, and my prize, two Christmas cactuses that were my mother's. I brought them from Ridgefield when I moved to the Vineyard and have nursed them ever since. They, too, are covered with flowers, bright magenta, much as I remember them blooming on a similar shelf underneath windows in the house I where I grew up.
It is beautiful and nostalgic, remembering the Christmases of my childhood while preparing for the one to come in two short weeks. My parents loved Christmas and Chanukah, indeed any excuse for a holiday to celebrate. They made our childhood magical that way. My heart still fills with child-like anticipation of lighting the menorah, candles flickering, the melody of the blessing in my mother's voice and cadence, whispering in Santa Claus's ear my secretest wishes, the house and our pharmacy decorated with evergreens we planted after Christmas to ring our property, my childhood in staggered rows and descending heights. Christmas has always been my favorite day of the year. It is no less so at 62 than it was then.
Presents don't matter any more. I was just talking with Linda Hearn, who has asked her children to donate a brick to the library for her and Glenn. "We don't need anything," she said. I love the idea of donating to a charity. There are so many. Please consider forgoing ties and trinkets this year, giving instead to whatever is important to you. Both the library and the church have building projects. Red Stocking and the Food Pantry, two animal shelters, the Council on Aging, the Arboretum, Vineyard Preservation Trust, Vineyard Museum, Chamber Music Society, any of the conservation groups. The Donors' Collaborative has a list. This is just a small part of it. And just for our island."
One of the great ideas I saw was a gift card to the SSA. What fun to give that to someone you would love to have visit.
The Steamship Authority is moving the Reservations Office to the Airport Terminal on Dec. 19. Walk-in service will be available at the counter between 8 am and 4:30 pm daily. Reservations can still be made by phone 508-693-9130 and online (www.steamshipauthority.com.) They are considering changing hours of operation to 7:30 am to 4 pm, and selling Preferred Reservations only at the airport. They ask you to give your opinion online: under Steamship Authority tab, click on Contact Us.
West Tisbury School 8th graders will hold their class's final bake sale this Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Linden Tree in Vineyard Haven. Their first annual began in first grade, a fundraiser for their eventual exchange trip to England. Sadly, that has been cancelled this year due to bad economics. Although disappointed after years of hard work, they will be going to Washington, D.C. Join them for homemade baked goods, hot cider, music, and good cheer.
Sandy Mott wants to remind everyone that the MVRHS 2012 yearbook is on sale. Call her at 508-693-1033 ext. 124. Pre-order now for $45. The price goes up to $65 after January 1.
Moving the WWII Veterans' Memorial to the front of Town Hall was a great idea. Now there are plans for a second memorial for veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, and the two Gulf Wars. Please call Mike Colaneri, 508-693-9333, if you were a resident of West Tisbury when you enlisted.
I have a few birthdays to note. Violet Cabot on Nov. 30, John Alley and Laurel Wilkinson on Dec. 4, Sue Hruby on Dec. 16. I know Laurel got an iPad from her husband, Patrick Phillips. We have had one birthday party for Sue and, I suspect, more festivities await. To Violet and John, I hope the celebrations were as you wished. My best to you all.
Linda Alley announces the final Farmers' Market of 2011. This Saturday, Dec. 17, come to the Ag Hall between 10 am and 1 pm. Vendors from West Tisbury include New Lane Sundries, Cleveland Farm, Vineyard Herbs, Seastone Papers, Flat Point Farm, Ghost Island Farm, The Good Earth of Martha's Vineyard, Simply Soaps, Briar Rose Farm, and Black Water Farm. There will be music by Kevin Keady and the Cattle Drivers, benches in front of a cozy fire, a raffle basket of wares from each vendor, gifts, food grown or raised on the Island, and a good place to run into lots of people you know.
I have been guilty of breaking the cardinal rule of journalism — not checking my information. Mea culpa. The Estrella family has, for years, decorated the tree at Haynes Point, the down-Island entry to town at State and Old County Roads. I assumed it was so again this year. It turns out that Chief Estrella turned the job over to Bob Hennessey. My apologies to "Fireman Bob," who did the expected beautiful job. Also my thanks. That tree welcomes one and all. Thanks, also, to Fireman Mark Clements, who needed his bucket to put the lights up at Station 2.
Don't forget Katherine Long's Solstice party Sunday, Dec. 18, noon to 9 pm. Folks and food please. No dogs. See you there.