As I write this, the Christmas clock is ticking and I'm starting to panic! It seems like summer just ended. How can Christmas be in a week? It's a crazy time of year, trying to get it all done, and I know that I'm not the only one feeling the crunch. But try to remember that the holiday is supposed to be about people - our families, friends, and various other people in our lives - and not about "stuff." So try to put the craziness aside and enjoy the season. If something doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. Can't get to the store to buy the right gift? Write someone a nice note about what they mean to you and deliver it with a big hug. It will be a treasured gift, to be sure.
Last week was crunch week for the Red Stocking Fund. As usual, all the little elves showed up at Grace Church to wrap and sort all week, ensuring that 270 kids will have a great Christmas. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped out. I am particularly moved by some of the young men who come in, looking to wrap a few things for the kids. It probably shouldn't be this way but somehow, I'm not surprised by the young mothers who stop in after dropping their kids at Grace Preschool. But a guy in his thirties who pops in off the street to help out always blows my mind and gives me faith in humanity. I tend to think to myself "someone's parents raised him right."
I'd also like to send a special thank-you to the local business owners who helped out with discounts or donations of toys and gifts for the kids. When we were running around on the last day trying to make sure that every kid would receive something they wanted, a number of business owners stepped up to the plate with donations. It is a wonderful reminder that the holiday spirit is alive and well and that people are truly generous when it matters.
While I'm on the subject of the Red Stocking Fund, I'd like to address some rumors I've heard this week. There is a definite application process to be a recipient of the fund. An application must be filled out and a professional in the community must be listed as a reference. These references are routinely contacted and we do turn down applicants for whom we cannot verify a definite need. We serve the entire community and do not discriminate on race, religion or any other qualifier. Though it is called the Red Stocking Fund, possibly implying Christmas, we are more than happy to help out anyone in need, regardless of religious beliefs or practices. We are all-encompassing and welcome everyone in need. I hope that provides a little more information about the process and helps allay some concerns regarding people taking advantage of the system. It's not perfect but we do our best.
There's nothing like cutting down some trees and digging a hole to start conversations in town, as Mike and Sandy Joyce have learned. You may have noticed the lot in front of their house on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road being cleared and a foundation hole well underway. Rest assured, it is not a MacDonald's or any other business, enterprise for that matter. It's a house for Sandy's mother, who is in the midst of "down-sizing," now that she is alone. Mike and Sandy have experienced a lot of inquiries about what is happening, as it is right out there on a main thoroughfare, so they wanted to publicly share that nothing drastic is happening, just creating a new home for a loved one.
Happy birthday to Michael Marashio, who turned 15 on Dec. 19 and to Kelly Hess who celebrates on Dec. 23.
Sadly, Pop lost his golden retriever, Lily, quite suddenly last week. Thankfully, she passed away quickly and peacefully. She was good company and we'll miss her! To help the kids deal with death, our tradition has been to buy a candle to light in memory of whoever has passed. We have one for my mother, one for Gaga, and one for our chocolate lab, Buddy. And I was so proud of Riley when he took it upon himself to buy a candle for Pop, to light in memory of Lily.
Donations of fabric, thread, needles, cotton batting, and other quilting items are urgently needed for a new initiative of the Martha's Vineyard Fish Farm for Haiti Project. Meg Spokus, Jeanne Staples, Karen Flynn, and Margaret Mayhew Penicaud will be traveling to Haiti in January to facilitate a quilting workshop. The goal is to form independent women's cooperatives creating one-of-a-kind art quilts utilizing authentic Haitian imagery. Donations can be dropped off at the Heath Hen Yarn and Quilt Shop at the Tisbury Marketplace, or the Vineyard Haven Library. For more information on donations or how you can get involved, call Jeanne Staples at 508-627-8363.
That's it for the week. Enjoy your holidays, any time off that you may have, and the friends and family with whom you share your time. Say a prayer or hold a thought for anyone who may be suffering during this holiday season. And may all your holiday wishes come true.