Aquinnah: Season begins at Sassafras

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Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Maybe the New Year will bring some snow or just some winterlike weather. I don’t ever remember a Christmas as warm as this one in all my life. While it was OK to not be so cold, I do miss winter. This does not seem right. It should not be in the 60s on Christmas day. I hope this is not the new normal.

There was some sad news in the up-Island arts community right before Christmas: Dr. Marianne Goldberg passed away on Dec. 21. Marianne founded Pathways, the winter arts enclave at the Chilmark Tavern, and with a group of dedicated colleagues, it has become a wonderful off-season addition to the up-Island arts scene. It is a place for artists to share new work of all mediums, and to watch new work being born. Marianne also generously helped to support many Island organizations and artists with financial honoraria and grants. It is unclear at this point what will happen at Pathways, but their New Year’s Eve Drop-In on the 31st is happening. This event will celebrate all Marianne has brought to our community. Mait Edey will be at the piano, and refreshments will be served. The party is from 6:30 to 9 pm. There was a service for Marianne at the Hebrew Center this past Tuesday, and Pathways will host a memorial service for her at a later date.

Donations in Marianne’s memory may be made to: Pathways Project Institute, Ltd., P.O. Box 437, Chilmark, MA 02535-0180. Letters of condolence may be sent to Jerry Biederman, 2 North LaSalle Street, 17th floor, Chicago, IL 60602.

At the Aquinnah Public Library this week: Story time is on Thursday at 3:30 pm and Saturday at 10 am. The Saturday craft is “Make Your Own Calendar.” The library provides the calendars, and kids can draw their own imagery for each month of the year. Crafts start at noon. Tuesday, Jan. 5, is the first movie night of the season for kids. The library will screen “Inside Out” and serve pizza. It starts at 5:30 pm.

Juli Vanderhoop will host a food talk and demonstration about gluten-free baking on Thursday, Jan. 7, at 5:30 pm at the Old Town Hall. This event is free and open to all.

The new winter season at Sassafras starts on Saturday, Jan. 16. This is the Saturday program for kids that runs from 11 am to 4 pm, and the session is for five Saturdays. There will be a musical Winter Party on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 8 pm with live jazz and hip-hop. Please bring a dish to share. On Friday, Jan. 22, there will be a kindergarteners’ program, and Sunday, Jan. 24, will be the start of a bird language series. Go to Sassafrasmvy.org for more information, or call Saskia Vanderhoop at 508-645-2008.

The town Christmas party was a huge success with Santa (a.k.a.Theresa Manning’s dad) arriving on his fire truck sleigh and then passing out gifts to every child at the party. Robin Smith’s mother and significant other were up visiting from Florida, and they made little wooden toys for all the kids as well, which were so beautiful (cars and ducks). It was very thoughtful and kind of them. There was a lot of food and merrymaking. Ken Wentworth and Liz Witham, who are newly returned from the Paris climate talks, took pictures. Liz told me there will be a screening of their footage from Paris, and she will let me know when and where as soon as the date is set. The kids ran around inside and out, and decorated gingerbread cookies. Then when Santa arrived, they all sat quietly in a semicircle in front of him waiting, relatively patiently, for their gifts. Thank you to Theresa Manning, Lisa Vanderhoop, Nancy Benoit, Noni Madison, and everyone else who cooked, decorated, and cleaned to make the Christmas party special. It really starts Christmas out right in our town.