Posted March 23, 2006

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

We're home. It's nice to be home to familiar surroundings but the temperature change is murder! We had gorgeous sunny days during our stay in Orlando last week and returning to New England and temperatures that are literally less than half of what we had in Florida is hard on my summer-loving soul!

I'd have to say that Disney was a great success. Thankfully, Riley's illness passed quickly and no one else came down with the bug. We spent the first day at Disney's MGM Park, spending time with the likes of Indiana Jones, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, Stanley, Ariel, and various other names that are popular with the pre-K set. The next two ventures out were to the Magic Kingdom. Amelia's joy at visiting with Cinderella and the rest of the princesses for breakfast in the castle was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I was brought close to tears just watching her, knowing that this was a dream come true.

What Walt Disney does is completely amazing. The fireworks displays, laser shows, and parades are just glorious displays of action and light. And the safaris at Animal Kingdom are so real. We saw so many wonderful animals while there. I was completely overwhelmed. I have mixed emotions about Animal Kingdom. I have never been a proponent of zoos per se, but this place was astounding. It's hard to believe that these beautiful, majestic beasts don't have a wonderful life. I firmly believe that freedom is preferable, but at the same time I realize that there are some animals that just wouldn't exist anymore but for sanctuaries such as this.

Our last day in Orlando was spent at Sea World, witnessing the orcas and dolphins, as well as numerous other aquatic critters. Feeding and petting the dolphins was a huge hit with the kids, as were the dolphin show and Shamu. All of my misgivings about animals being contained for our enjoyment aside, these were opportunities that I loved introducing to my kids. And I feel that it is such experiences that may prompt them to work towards saving the environment and endangered animals in their lifetimes. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but a mother can hope.

As luck would have it, we bumped into Paulee and Doug Davies and their kids on the return flight to Providence. They had spent their time at Universal Studios and other parks that are of more interest to the older kids. Paulee said that a lot of homework made the trip with them since the kids were missing school, so time on the plane and in the evenings was spent productively. They had a great vacation and enjoyed their time in the sun.

The Edgartown Library has had professionals in to evaluate the mold problem in the children's section and although it is perhaps not as bad as originally thought, it is still a huge project to rectify the problem. They will have to have professionals in to clean the books and materials and new construction will have to take place. It is their hope that it will be completed by the summer season.

I was sorry to hear that we lost longtime Edgartown resident Dexter Mello last week, following a car accident. Dexter has long been a fixture in town, sharing a smile and hello on the street. He was one of my regulars back in the day when I worked in the deli at the Edgartown Market, always coming in for a coffee and bite to eat. He'll certainly be missed in town. It sounds like Jim Craves and Jonathan Searle went above and beyond to get Dexter out of the car and fight the fire, so I send out a special thank-you to both of them for their efforts.

Many thanks to Kara Shemeth for the wonderful critter care while we were away. I can't tell you how much easier it is to go away knowing that someone is home with the beasts left behind. Thank you also to Meaghan Morris, for the backup support with Chester Mulroney! Yes, Chester is still with us! There were a few casualties while we were away, with a number of items chewed a bit. And I noticed upon my return that he sheds like mad, which I absolutely cannot stand. I'm threatening to shave him but I'll start with a good bath and brushing. Of course, a serious vacuuming of the house is in order as well. But how can you argue with such a bouncy boy who is obviously thrilled to have "his family" home? We're just suckers for a cute critter.

That's all for now. Be sure to get me your news. Have a great week and think spring!