Edgartown: “The Polar Express”

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and that you were able to spend some special time with family and friends. We’ve had such a great holiday season this year. Last year at this time, life was pretty bumpy. Those of you who are familiar with Facebook know that it reveals memories from your past each day, which is definitely a mixed blessing some days. I’ve been using the site since 2008, and been through my fair share of ups and downs in that time. Some posts are funny, others are thoughtful, many reveal joy or excitement, and others I’d just like to skip on by. December 2016 was definitely not my month, but seeing some of those memories pop up for me has just prompted me to be more grateful for where I am one year later. So regardless of the gifts under the tree, this Christmas was a win for the Gardner/Casey/Craig family.

I also need to tip my hat to the faculty and staff of the Edgartown School. A few weeks ago, the K-2 wing was transformed from a basic elementary school hallway to the Polar Express. Tape was used to change the floor to magical train tracks, and snowflakes hung from the ceiling, while bulletin boards became train cars, with the kids’ pictures depicting the passengers. This week our head custodian, Dwight Kaeka, took on the role of the Conductor, parading the kids down the enchanted hallway as they held their magical golden tickets and ventured to the library in the morning and cafeteria in the afternoon to watch the “The Polar Express.” At the end of the movie, each student received the first gift of Christmas, a bell, and a scroll. It was truly the most magical day I’ve ever experienced in the building, a sentiment that was shared by all.

Adding to the fun of the week was the Jingle Bell Run Friday morning. Physical education teachers Michelle Pikor and Channon Capra have instituted monthly fun runs to encourage health and fitness. These runs are some of the few whole-school events that we have, and the run was one for the memory books for sure. Several of us donned reindeer costumes, while others were elves, and helped “pull” Santa in his sleigh. Kids and staff wore hats and antlers and, of course, bells. Some wore pajamas, some wore more elaborate costumes, and others just dressed warm to brave the chill as we ran around the block. It was so much fun. I would have loved to have had a bird’s-eye view of the whole event. It must have been pretty joyous to watch.

Happy birthday wishes this week go out to Brenda Perry, who celebrated on Dec. 21, Fran Agnoli on Dec. 22, my friend who I never see enough, Kelly Hess on Dec. 23, and Amy Sullivan on Dec. 28. Happy birthday, friends. I hope your days were extra special.

You may have heard that Midge (Madeline) Moreis was taken to the local emergency room with a high fever on Nov. 30, where she was admitted and treated with antibiotics. When her fever did not break, the hospital staff decided she should be flown to Mass. General, but with the forecast of snow, ambulance transport was the best option. Upon her arrival she was placed in the ICU. She has endured many life-saving treatments and procedures while in the hospital. Recently, her breathing tube was removed, and she is talking! She is not out of the woods yet, but everyone is hopeful for continued good progress reports.

While not an Edgartown family, Midge and her daughter, Wanda Moreis, have touched so many lives here. They are very private and don’t like to ask for help, but friends have rallied behind them to start a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the growing expenses while Midge remains in the hospital in Boston and Wanda stays up there to be by her mom’s side. If you have ever been lucky enough to know them and feel you’d like to help, you can donate via the website at GoFundMe.

There will be a Neighborhood Convention gathering on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 11 am at Grace Church in Vineyard Haven. This month’s topic will be the Rising Tide Equestrian Program, with Linda Wanamaker. All are welcome, and encouraged to bring a sack lunch.

The year 2018 is around the corner, mere days away. We will head back to school on Tuesday next week, and dig deep into work throughout the winter. The fall and early winter seemed to pass excruciatingly quickly. I’m hoping that we settle into a quieter pace for the few months in the heart of winter. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Please celebrated the new year responsibly, and stay safe. See you in 2018.