Driving to Town Meeting last Tuesday night, I was delighted at the sight of the first lighted Christmas tree of the season. It was facing the meadow outside Tad and Judy Crawford's house, a tall cedar bedecked with white lights, a cheerful and welcoming symbol of goodwill. Since then, I have admired the tree in Greg Drake's yard and lights and greenery around Alley's porch and around the doorway of our neighbors, the Arrudas. I always love this time of year, especially with all the decorations that make the early nights seem not so bleak.
The party season has definitely begun and the squares on our calendar are quickly filling up. This Sunday afternoon is my favorite day of the whole year, the day that Santa Claus visits West Tisbury. He will arrive on a fire truck at the Public Safety Building at 1 pm, and will stay till 3 to greet everyone and listen to all the secret wishes we have to tell.
The Town Party will be held at the Ag Hall, from 5 to 8 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Please remember to bring a potluck dish to share. It is always a lovely party and I am always grateful to be surrounded by so many of the dearest people in my life. That is truly the best present every year.
I hope everyone will make time from holiday preparations to attend the Space Needs Committee's first forum at the Howes House at 7 pm, Wednesday, Dec. 13. The committee members will be available to answer questions about the report that was mailed to all households before the Special Town Meeting last week.
John Early made a lovely tribute to Murray Frank at the Town Meeting. Murray has been an informed and tireless volunteer on many town and Island committees during the years he has lived in West Tisbury. He and his wife, Joanna Gilman, will be moving to South Boston after the holidays. It has been a pleasure knowing both of them and they will be missed.
I have a list of birthdays, mostly belated. Emily Wetherall celebrated her birthday on Nov. 29. Matt Merry turned 35 on Nov. 22; his daughter Josie will be two today, Dec. 7. Happy Birthday to you all.
There are lots of things going on at the West Tisbury Library. Saturday, Dec. 9, Nelia Decker will help children make felted gingerbread men magnets between 10:30 am and 4 pm. Later that day, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Elin Nelson will lead one of her popular origami workshops, making holiday decorations. Lillian Kellman will tell "Holiday Stories and Winter Tales" at a special story time on Dec. 13, from 4 to 5 pm. For grownups, the Monday Night Movie on Dec. 11 will be "Only Angels Have Wings," starring Cary Grant.
"The Snow Queen" will be performed at the Vineyard Playhouse on weekends throughout December. It will be a family occasion for the Dagostino family of West Tisbury. Mom Sheryl will be playing the role of the Snow Queen, sharing the stage with her husband Ron and their son who plays Kai.
Susan and Bob Wasserman had a houseful for Thanksgiving on Music Street. Four friends from Bosnia and five friends from England joined Susan and Bob, Susan's father, Russ Hollister, and Sarah Wasserman, her husband Brian Bassett, and their son, Henry. Following family tradition, Henry and his grandmother went together to pick out their Christmas tree, currently in a bucket of water in the Wasserman's barn, awaiting the proper time to be brought inside and decorated. Henry was also in charge of putting lights in all the windows. He and his parents will be back for the Christmas holiday.
Marilyn and Warren Hollinshead spent a wonderful vacation in Hawaii, where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They spent time kayaking, sailing, hiking, boating around the Na Pali coast, and took a special helicopter ride on their last day. The Hollinsheads were accompanied by their three children and partners/spouses. I wish Marilyn and Warren many more happy years together.
I have to mention a couple of new residents I wish to welcome to town. Bob and Maggie Schwartz have a nine week-old Pembroke Welsh corgi puppy named "Kilcurry" after the place in Ireland where Maggie was born. Bob brought a picture of "Curry" to our last Space Needs Committee meeting; she is definitely cute. Bob claims that Curry is a bit of a devil, but he seems totally smitten with her nonetheless.
The other new resident is a very affectionate calico cat who has come to live in Leslie Baker's studio. On one of our aborted painting outings (it started to rain,) Leslie and I stopped in to the MSPCA to look at cats. By some miracle, we didn't come home with every cat in the place. They were all wonderful and we had a great time playing with the whole roomful of appealing cats. Leslie's first cat had been a calico (see her book, "The Third-Story Cat") and she was sort of looking for another calico cat. When she saw Betty, she said, "There's my cat!" Leslie asked Jen Morgan to hold the cat till the weekend when Leslie's daughter Emma came home from Amherst. Leslie, Dave, and Emma made the trip to Edgartown and came home with Betty Baker-Gorenberg, the queen of all she surveys.
We are still talking about Pirate, Stella, Mack, and all the rest of the cats at the MSPCA who need homes. If you are looking for a nice cat, they really do have several.
I'm looking forward to all the socializing and hearing everyone's holiday plans to write about in up-coming columns.