Well, we’re getting there. Cookies are getting baked. Gifts are mostly wrapped and mailed. Mike cut a tree in our woods and set it up this afternoon. I put the lights on and sat in the living room, beginning to feel that sense of peace and happiness that eventually comes by Christmas Eve.
I took a break and went to the concert at the West Tisbury Church this afternoon. It was wonderful. The choir sounded so beautiful, singing a combination of familiar carols and some I had never heard before.
Driving home afterward, I admired the decorations around town, then drove down our own driveway to see colored lights on the tree outside my studio, white lights across our porch and candle lights in the windows. I realize that the lights and the music are the parts of Christmas I like the best, decorating the tree with a combination of ornaments from our childhood and ones collected during our life together. Watching It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Carol. Listening to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Going to church on Christmas Eve. The same quiet traditions every year. I hope it snows.
We have had a baby born in West Tisbury. Lynne emailed me on her way home, “The Whiting family got an early Christmas when Prudence Ruya Whiting arrived yesterday (December 20) at 7:21 pm at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. Weighing in at a respectable 8 lb. 11.7 oz. Willie and his wife, Ozge, couldn’t be happier! We are on our way home now from visiting them. She was due December 30; everyone’s thrilled to say the least! Cousin Asa will get to meet her sometime soon we hope!” Wonderful news for all of the Whiting family. Two grandchildren for Allen and Lynne this year. Welcome, dear Prudence.
Another cheery piece of news — Barbara Day will be home for Christmas. I saw her at the hospital last week where she has been for the past six weeks. She looks great and is ready to be home. We were at the tree lighting ceremony in the hospital lobby Wednesday afternoon, singing carols, and admiring the Tree of Lights.
Pauletta and Bob Evans were on the Island to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with their daughter Susie Middleton, her partner Roy Riley, and Roy’s daughter Libby. Sadly, they returned to Delaware before Katherine Long’s solstice party, which they would have enjoyed attending.
Margaret Gallagher, one of the organizers of the Town Party, called me last week to ask me to clear up a misconception about the party. She said some folks in town think that it’s paid for out of our town budget. It isn’t. Each of the selectmen contribute one third of the cost. In addition, Skipper donates two turkeys from his farm. Volunteers cook, decorate the Ag Hall, set up and clean up. We bring the rest, a good West Tisbury potluck. Margaret asked me to especially thank David Merry, who brought 400 oysters this year, and the Dunkls, whose music is always a special part of the event. She asked that anyone who has any further questions to please call her at 508-696-9686.
Don’t forget the Annual Christmas Pageant begins at 5 pm at the Ag Hall on Christmas Eve. The 10 o’clock service will be held at the West Tisbury Church.
The Lego Club meets this Saturday, December 27, at the West Tisbury Library from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. On Sunday afternoon, December 28, at 2 pm, the Spirit of the Vineyard Award ceremony honoring John Early will be held at the library.
I made a mistake in last week’s column. There will be another Winter Farmers’ Market this Saturday, December 27, 10-1, at the Ag Hall.
I was sad to see that Norman Bridwell died. He and Norma were among the first people I met when I moved to the Vineyard, and I always enjoyed seeing them whenever we saw each other. And, of course, I adored Clifford. My condolences to Norma, Emily, and Tim and their families.
If you still need a gift and want something over-the-top great, sign up for one of Marsha Winsryg’s tours of Florence. She is planning two in March and two in October, all to benefit the charity that is her heart, the African Artists Community Development Project. Details next week. Meanwhile, call Marsha for information: 508-693-4059.
Wishing everyone the Merriest Christmas and Peace on Earth from Mike and me, Talley, Nanuk, Nelson, and Edgardo.