Most of you know firsthand that Great-grandma Bette’s 90th birthday party was a glorious event. I am sorry for all of you who didn’t make it because it was one heck of a good time. The Stragglers played some sing-a-long style dance tunes. Merrily Fenner and Danny Whiting’s voices were heard over the crowd that filled the Center. It was quite a crowd that filtered in on a Wednesday evening to see one of the matriarchs of town blow out her candles. Not only did Bette blow out the candles, but she took center stage with her trusty harmonica. She stood among some of the finest musicians and used her lung power to play “Red Wing” and “You are my Sunshine.”

A few days later, also at the CCC, there were 17 boys who participated in the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby. Huck Moore and Barrett Oliver, both of Chilmark, won trophies. Huck took second place in the Tiger and Barrett was third in the Bear divisions, respectively. Although I will admit I am not up to snuff on the differentiation between Tiger and Bear, it sure sounds impressive.

In addition to the derby, they threw in a chili contest for good measure. Each of the four dens participating and the pack committee entered a pot. Up for the taste test were vegetarian, spicy three-bean beef, beef and bean with a twist of lime, mild beef bean, and Cincinnati style. The crowd voted and top honors went to the pack committee’s chili Cincinnati style.

With the aim of producing good local food and improving water quality, Scott Lindell, Director of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory’s Scientific Aquaculture Program, will talk about sea vegetable farming at the Chilmark Library on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 5 pm. He will share the results of the first growing season of a project that is documenting the removal of nitrogen by farmed seaweeds and oysters in Waquoit Bay, and he will also discuss the business potential of seaweed farming on the island. For more information, please call 508-645-3360.

Tomorrow night’s free Friday night movie at the Library is the 1946 Hitchcock film, “Notorious.” Ingrid Bergman plays a troubled beauty recruited by an American agent to infiltrate a German spy ring in postwar Rio. Find yourself at the Library at 7 pm for a the film, refreshments, and good company.

Arlan Wise and Jay Ayer have returned from a three-week journey through South India. They arrived in Mumbai on January 2 and flew to Cochin where they were met by a car and driver. They went up the mountains into the tea plantations of Munnar, down to the Alleppey on backwaters of Kerala, to Varkala on the coast of the Indian Ocean. They then drove down to the southernmost tip of the Indian continent, Kunnyakumari, where three oceans meet. Then on to Rameshwaram, Tanjore, Trichy, and Madurai to visit ancient Hindu temples. They ended the trip at the caves of Ajanta and Ellore to see the temples carved out of rock. They returned to Chilmark on January 24. It was a wonderful, amazing, never-to-be-forgotten trip.

Lisa Vanderhoop is featuring special handmade Valentine’s Cards at Sovereign Bank from February 1 through February 14. Of course the selection will include Seadogs, but many designs will just simply tickle your funny bone. So, as Lisa put it, “Come up Island to get your Chilmark Chocolates and stop by the bank to get a ‘fetching’ Seadog Productions Valentine.” Jon Wightman’s artwork is also on display, so Valentine’s gifts abound in the center of town.

I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mike Syslo. He was a regular fixture around town. His boat Roccus entered and exited the harbor on many occasions. You could tell when the bite was on because Mike and Buddy Vanderhoop would go back and forth on the VHF radio. I can hear Mike’s voice in my head clear as day calling “Tomahawk. Tomahawk. Roccus.” He had a way of drawing out his pronunciation over the radio that was so distinct. I can’t actually put it down in pen and ink, but I close my eyes and hear his voice in my head. Other days, he could be found propped up on the stern of his boat with a good book in hand or slowly pedaling around the harbor on his bicycle taking in the warm summer breeze and happily saying hello to all he passed. I feel lucky to be one of those folks he stopped to chat with. Mike, rest in peace, and know that you will be sorely missed.