Posted February 2, 2006

By Gail Craig - 508-627-3754 - gail@vineyard.net

My friend Kelly (Hess, for anyone keeping count) thought my comments last week about the lack of news and thus an absent column were a little bitter sounding. I want to assure you all that was NOT the case and my apologies if it read that way. That being said, I have to say this town responds well to perceived reprimands and guilt. I may have to play that card more often. I've had a number of people share news this week or at least assure me of future news so I'm very excited. I'd much rather have too much information than not enough, so keep it coming!

Edgartown Animal Control Officer Barbara Prada wants to remind everyone that it is time to license your dogs. It's an inexpensive way to track down any wayward critter - provided they wear a collar and tag - and it's the law, so please head down to the town hall this week.
Kelly Geddis Hundley e-mailed to report that her dad, Jim Geddis, lost his battle with cancer last Friday. The family will be holding a memorial service for Jim in South Carolina now, which will be followed by another service in the spring here on the Island. She has promised to let me know when the Island service will be so I will be sure to let you all know.

I also received a lovely e-mail this week from Becky Duart Stevens, remembering her dad, Peter Duart. I never realized that Peter had a lot of Edgartown ties, though I certainly should have. It sounds like he was one of those people with a big heart and warm soul who made friends everywhere he went. I regret that I didn't ever know him personally.

Of course many of us remember that Becky's mom, Barbara, worked for years down at Mardell's when it was down on lower Main Street, but Becky also shared tales of her dad making ice cream for Scoops in the back of the movie theaters. Apparently he had his own little entourage from the courthouse, including Joe Sollitto, who used to go over and get bowls of ice cream before it was frozen. Yum! Peter also would ride the boat to Woods Hole every year when kids affected by AIDS would come to the Island for Camp Safe Haven. As the camp was something Peter really supported and believed in, he would ride over with the kids and see that they received free passage to the Island. And of course, the fact that he worked for so many years for the Steamship Authority meant that he had contact with people from all over the Island through the years. I'm sure that Peter will be deeply missed by all who knew him. And though there is always a deep sadness when a loved one passes, it's always wonderful to share warm memories of them and to hear stories of them from others. I'm glad I was able to pass some along.

As part of my new role in the Red Stocking Fund, I attended my very first Big Chili Contest Saturday, the last event held at the Atlantic Connection before it changes to an arcade. What a wild fiesta that event is. It was truly amazing. I primarily worked the door, taking tickets, handing out spoons and telling people they had to exit through the other door. As a result of that last little bit of information, I was pushed, shoved, and sworn at a number of times. But I also had a number of people tell me they loved me for a variety of reasons so it all balanced out. The crowd, and I do mean crowd, was really a very joyful bunch, having a great time, and enjoying some great food and music; it was really a lot of fun. I now have a whole new respect for the bouncers of the world, however. That is now officially in the top five jobs that I absolutely do not want. Even with a really happy crowd, I struggled with people. I can't imagine what it must be like on a regular night when people may not be having such a good time. So my hat goes off to all the bouncers. Thank you to them and all the staff at the AC and WMVY for their efforts for a great cause.

The Edgartown Council on Aging (ECOA) is offering two new special programs for elders in the community. The first program is called The Secrets of Watercolor, taught by cable television's George Thibault. George promises to let you know all the helpful hints in creating your very own masterpiece. It is a six-week course beginning Feb. 24 and requires pre-registration by Feb. 13. Supplies are being provided through a subsidy from the ECOA Friends. The second offering is foot massage therapy by Kerry Saunier LMT, on Friday mornings starting on Feb. 17 at 9:30. ECOA Friends are again providing a subsidy for this program and ask for a $5 to $10 donation for the service.

That's it for the week. Thanks for the news. Please keep it coming and have a great week.