Posted February 9, 2006

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

I was always a pretty good student in school. I tried hard and studied a lot. I have a college degree. Granted, it's in political science, but still, it's a degree. But none of these educational experiences prepared me for some of the conversations I have with my children. Sometimes, the things that come out of my mouth amaze even me and after I've said them, I shake my head and think to myself "Did I really just say what I think I said?" Sometimes, it's what the kids say that makes me shake my head. Such was the case tonight when I was putting Amelia to bed and she was talking about going to the aquarium with her daddy last week. She turned to me during this chat and said "Mama, guess." That was all. No hints about what she was thinking. No context to help me figure it out. Nothing. I just laughed and said "Guess what?" And she said "Just guess." So I did. I got it wrong.
Last week it was Riley 's turn to get me laughing. When Chester the dog was put in his crate to stop some of the dog/cat battles, the house was very quiet, a sure sign that I had better find my children. I found them next to the crate, dressed in their finest adventurer gear, Riley even donning his Indiana Jones fedora. And a dog leash. When I asked them what they were doing, Riley's response was "Don't tell Dad." I agreed and again asked what he and his sidekick were up to, to which Riley responded "We were going to bust him out." Now I ask you, could I possibly have done anything but laugh at that? And promise to "bust" Chester out myself after I tucked them in, of course.

Congratulations to Jon and Tina Polleys on the arrival of their new little one. Welcome to the world, Audrey.

Lizzie Edwards recently spent some time in New Orleans, working in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, thanks to an anonymous donation to Skidmore College. Lizzie decided to go because she wanted to do something worthwhile over winter break. Having been to New Orleans once before, she was shocked by the destruction and how much things had changed. In all, 16 students took part in the trip, sleeping in the Disciples of Christ Church and working together gutting houses.

I think Lizzie's words speak best about her journey. She wrote the following to me via e-mail tonight: "It was the most amazing experience of my life. The best part was getting to meet people down there. I met people who, after hearing about the Hurricane, picked up and moved down to New Orleans to help. George and Dixie, the couple who was running the Disciples program, moved to New Orleans to help out and live in their RV in the parking lot of the church we stayed in. We also heard a lot of stories from church members and other hurricane survivors.

"I am really glad that I got the opportunity to meet the owners of one of the houses we were working on. After meeting them and seeing how grateful they were to have us helping them, it made me feel like our work was so much more worthwhile. The couple who owned that house, was a 97-year-old man and his wife who have lived in the house for 50 years; the house was six or seven feet off the ground, so they didn't buy flood insurance. Unfortunately, their house did flood.

"The first house we worked on was in really bad shape when we arrived. There was a large tree on it, and we had to chainsaw our way to the front door. There was mold everywhere; the water had risen almost to the ceiling. When we were taking down the shelves in a closet we found two completely undamaged photo albums. The pictures were wedding pictures inside the house, so we were able to see what the house looked like before the hurricane. I think most of the students who went down, myself included, were really surprised at how much destruction there was and how not very much had been cleaned up, considering that the hurricane happened months ago. Unfortunately there is a huge lack of labor down there; they need as much help as possible."

On behalf of everyone, thank you and your fellow students for your efforts, Lizzie.

The Edgartown Library is bustling with activities this month. They will be hosting another "Make & Take" event tomorrow, where kids can make Valentine cards and crafts. All supplies are provided and it runs all afternoon until 4:30. Then on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 3 pm, they'll host The Spindrift Marionettes who will perform "The Toad on the Cloud in the Sky." The staff requests that you make an extra effort to arrive on time so the show can begin promptly.

Welcome home and good health to Glen Searle. It's nice to have you back home. Rest, relax, and recover!

That's it! Have a great week and be sure to get me your news.