Mike and I went off-Island last Monday on the 7 am boat, giving us an occasion to drive through town just as the day was dawning. The Cleaveland House looked so pretty with the soft glow of candlelight in all its windows. Manny and Sharon Estrella, with help from their daughter, Heidi Pacheco, and their four grandchildren, Amanda and Andrea Pacheco and Alley and Morgan Estrella, had done a beautiful job putting up the lights on the tree at Haynes Point, at the intersection of Old County and State roads. That tree signals the real beginning of the holiday season for me.
Sadly, someone had taken the lights off the bottom two-thirds of the tree during the past week, leaving only an asymmetrical twist at the top. As Manny said, "The police are on the case." I hope the perps will be caught and will replace the lights.
Despite the aforementioned theft, it is hard not to feel the holiday spirit as decorations appear all around town and with all the events to attend. The West Tisbury Church held their Christmas Fair on Saturday, complete with wreaths and tabletop trees made out of boxwood clippings, candies and cookies, and tables set up with gift items. I found a tree and a Santa in a sleigh just the right size for my dollhouse. Later on I went over the line to Chilmark to Clarissa Allen's open house. Almost every car along the road seemed to have a golden retriever in it and all the ornaments inside the shop were different sheep. And, as always, the view across the farm fields was beautiful.
Then on Sunday afternoon, Santa himself was escorted to the West Tisbury Public Safety Building to greet all the children in town. There were quite a number of children awaiting Santa's arrival, some with letters and lists to give him. Katie Morse stood near me, so I had an opportunity to admire the pink pencil drawings decorating her Christmas list. Santa told me he keeps and treasures all the special letters he has received from children over the years. I hope everyone's wishes will come true. Outside, John and Cheryl George took children for rides with Hakkon and Primus pulling their decorated cart.
This Saturday, Dec.16, from noon to 3 pm, Vineyard Gardens will host a Holiday Open House. There will be refreshments, music, lights, and workshops and activities for children and adults.
Also this Saturday, the West Tisbury Library will have a craft table set up through the day with all the components to make scallop shell angels. Next week, Martha Hubbell will hold a workshop to teach how to make holiday crackers (the pull-on paper kind, not edible ones) from 5 to 6:30 pm on Monday. Tuesday afternoon from 4 to 5:30, the Library will hold its Holiday Party. There will be greens for making wreaths and swags and all the festive cookies and treats of the season. Everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there.
Hanukah begins tomorrow (Friday) evening at sunset. It will be nice to see the candlelit menorahs marking the eight nights of Hanukah and to enjoy potato latkas (pancakes) with applesauce and sour cream on top.
Katherine Long and Tom Vogl are busy preparing for their Winter Solstice Party that will be at their house this Sunday, Dec. 17, from noon till nine. Katherine's mother, also Katherine Long, is here from Texas to help with the party. She met Katherine and Tom in Boston, where they had a great day exploring Chinatown, before returning to the Vineyard. Everyone is welcome, except dogs. Please call Katherine and Tom at 508-693-6065 if you have any questions.
Welcome home to Samantha Church, who is recovering after a serious car accident earlier this fall. She has been in Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital since the accident.
Debbie and Alan Coutinho were here over the weekend from their new home in Shelburne. They came to see their son Ken Vincent's Islander painting in the show at the Granary Gallery. We ran into them at breakfast Sunday morning, where they headed up a table filled with Vineyard friends and family.
Prudy Whiting has a men's XL tan L.L. Bean polarfleece jacket that was left at the Public Safety Building last Election Day. If it belongs to you, you may pick it up at the town hall.
Rick Reinhardsen has formed a Martha's Vineyard Service Unit of the Salvation Army. It is an accomplishment dear to his heart, as his grandparents were ranking Salvation Army members in New York City throughout his childhood. He and a group of volunteers are ringing bells and collecting in red kettles right here on the Island, and all the money collected will stay here on the Island for distribution within our own community. If you would like to help, need help, or want to make a donation, please call Rick at 508-693-4271.
There is lovely news in the Silva household. Ronny and Sue's son, Tim, is engaged to Andrea Freeman, a coworker at the Trustees of Reservations office in Leominster. The wedding is planned for the fall, Sept. 16, and will take place in Amherst. Congratulations and best wishes to you both.
This January, Karen Flynn of West Tisbury will be traveling to Haiti with Jeanne Staples, Meg Spokus, and Margaret Penicaud to facilitate a quilting workshop, with the goal of helping women there form independent women's cooperatives that will produce one-of-a-kind quilts using Haitian imagery. The group needs donations of fabric, thread, needles, cotton batting, and any other quilting supplies you can think of. Donations can be dropped off at The Heath Hen in the Tisbury Marketplace or at the Vineyard Haven Library. If you would like to help, please call Jeanne Staples at 508-627-8363.
Bob Maciel is here from Maine for black powder season, staying with his parents, Bob Sr. and Barbara, on Tiah's Cove Road. It was great to see him yesterday at the Fire Station.
Happy birthday wishes to Karen Colaneri on Dec. 9, to Jessica Haynes on Dec. 12, to John Thurber on Dec. 15, to Sue Hruby on Dec. 16, to Carol Brandon on Dec. 18, to Janice Manter on Dec. 19, and to Rosalie Powell on Dec. 20.
If you are still not in the holiday spirit, take a drive around town any evening to enjoy the lighted trees and windows. It looks so pretty and festive. Notable is the display at our neighbor's barn; Jeremy and Anne Bradshaw have fashioned a huge peace sign out of white lights. If only peace on Earth could prevail.