I'm so sorry to have missed writing my column last week. Mike and I are both sick with the "cold from hell" that seems to be going around town. Fellow-sufferers say it takes about two weeks to get over. I must admit we are feeling better than we did a week ago, but still coughing, sore, and muddled, so please forgive me if my column rambles along in a disjointed fashion.
Obviously, we had to cancel Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Mike's cousin Dan and his seven-year old daughter Sunday took over and made a lovely turkey with stuffing and all the special side dishes. I am feeling bereft just writing about missing the holiday, but on the bright side, no one seems to have caught this cold.
My last official outing before being stricken was to attend a Fire Safety Program for young children at the West Tisbury Public Safety Building on Saturday, Nov. 18. Sponsored by the Family Center of Martha's Vineyard Community Services and volunteers from the Fire Department and Tri-Town EMTs, it was the second year they have held this program. Jennifer McHugh and Jessica Estrella had the meeting room set up with red tablecloths on the tables, fire helmets, a checklist and other hand-outs for the families, along with books, crafts, videos, and special fire helmet-shaped cookies to be decorated with frosting and red sprinkles. Manny Estrella IV and Jesse Oliver had the fire engines polished and ready for rides, and Betsy McDonald gave tours of the ambulance. Everyone was able to practice their "Stop, Drop, and Roll" techniques and learn what to do in an emergency situation. Special thanks to Chief Manny Estrella III for opening his station to the kids and their families.
As I was leaving the station, I saw Clark Myers and Lindsay Famariss with their son Teagan heading toward the fire trucks. Later in the day, I ran into them again at the Post Office, where Teagan was beaming from under the brim of his red fire helmet and very excited about his ride on the big truck.
Congratulations and best wishes to newlyweds Nicole Alley and Arsen Hambardzumian, who were married earlier this month in Providence, R.I.
And "Happy Birthday" to the bride's father, my fellow-columnist John Alley, this December 3.
Cynthia Riggs has recently returned from a visit to her daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Paul Ricchiazzi, in Santa Barbara, California. While there, she addressed a group of UCSB web site designers about writing mysteries and attended a conference sponsored by Sisters in Crime on the subject of "Selling Your Book to Hollywood." Wouldn't it be great to see a series of Victoria Trumbull movies set right here in West Tisbury? Before she left for California, Cynthia had hosted a group of mystery writers and agents at The Cleaveland House for the second Annual Martha's Vineyard Mystery Weekend. The dates fell on Halloween weekend and, with a storm that brought down branches and torrents of rain and stopped the ferries from running, it sounded like the perfect setting for a murder mystery.
This weekend, Dec. 2 and 3, Marsha Winsryg will be hosting a sale at her home at 20 Great Neck Road (off of New Lane) to benefit the African Artists' Community Development Project, the Mama Bakhita Home for Disabled Children, and the Opeme Orphanage. Fabrics, carvings, jewelry, and baskets, all from Zambia, will be for sale. The hours are from 9 am to 2 pm on both days.
After that, you can head to Edgartown with your dearest pets to have their photographs taken with Santa at the MSPCA from noon to 3 pm. Keep in mind that Jen Morgan is looking for MSPCA alumni to march with their owners in the Christmas in Edgartown Parade the following Saturday, Dec. 9.
Meanwhile, Murphy seems to have discovered a new passion, oystering. Mike and I took the dogs down to Sepiessa to the beach, and Murphy started digging furiously along the edge of the pond till he came up with an oyster in his mouth. Mike took it away from him and he swam right out after it, face down under the water. This has happened on successive days now. We haven't let him keep any oysters and he hasn't had the opportunity to try to bite through the shell, but I hope he doesn't get arrested for poaching oysters from the pond. We really did throw them back.
Peggy Stone announces the beginning of the Saturday Rec Program on Dec. 2, at the West Tisbury School, sponsored by the Parks and Rec Department. The schedule is as follows: Sports, 9 am to noon; Art, 9-10:30 am; Theater, 10:30 am to noon. Children grades 1 through 5 are welcome. Please call Peggy at 696-0147. Parks and Rec is still looking for an Art/Theater instructor if you are qualified and interested.
For another kids' art/craft event, come to the Library on Saturday morning. This Saturday's craft will be decorating the library for the up-coming holidays, so please come and help. For grownups, there will be a Holiday Dried-Flower Arranging workshop this Tuesday evening, Dec. 5, from 5-6:30 pm. Sue Silva will demonstrate "how-to's" and she does a beautiful job, so please sign up at the library. There is a $20 fee for materials.
"Welcome Home" to Molly and David Finkelstein, who lived David's birthday fantasy of playing golf at the great courses of Ireland. They played nine rounds of golf over eight days at courses with glorious names like Ballybunion, Tralee, Lahinch, Castle Gregory, and Old Head. Molly said they had brought rain suits "just in case," but the weather was lovely; it only rained briefly, so they were able to play every day. She did comment on the unexpected sight of palm trees in Ireland. The jet stream keeps the island very temperate. It sounds like a very special birthday trip to a beautiful place.
It's hard to believe that the Bernard twins, Mark and Maggie, have just celebrated their second birthday. Their parents are Hap Bernard and Kate DeVane. I guess that means that Andrea and Juliet, Chris and Sheila Morse's twins, are two as well. Happy birthday to you all.
A special "Happy Birthday," her 21st, to my beloved niece, Charlotte Hull. Nov. 26, 1985, seems only a moment ago.
Sadly, there are condolences to be given this week, to Mike and Karen Colaneri for the loss of Mike's mother Hazel; to the McGurren family for the tragic loss of Joan; and to Betty Joslow for the loss of her husband Marvin.
There has been a blue heron in Whiting's Pond and Hallie Mentzel's rhododendrons have pale pink blossoms on them. Mike and I still have our screen door on and the house open most of the day. Before I got sick, Kathy Logue and I took our dogs for a run at Quansoo. To get through the parking lot (the pond hadn't been opened yet and, with the heavy rains, the parking lot was under water) we had to take off our shoes and socks and roll our pant legs up. The sand was warm, so we continued barefoot for our walk. Even the ocean water was warm. What a long, delicious fall this has been.