Christmas is still in the air and I have already requested my present for next year. I have asked Mike to build a fence about a foot-and-a-half tall to put around our Christmas tree. It's unfortunately too late for this year.
When I decorated our tree, I made sure to put unbreakable things on the lower branches. Nothing is more damaging than the feathery plumage of a waving golden retriever tail at full speed, not skinny Lab tails or playful cats batting at the ornaments as though they were wayward mice. I forgot about chewing. When I came into the living room yesterday morning I found Murphy on the living room rug, surrounded by the remains of the Raggedy Andy ornament that had been on our tree ever since I was a kid. All that was left was one foot and some stuffing. As I described the tragedy to Mike, "Raggedy Ann is a widow. YOUR DOG!"
Despite these small setbacks, I am eagerly anticipating the holiday, the arrival of guests and Santa.
I had forgotten last week to mention the Town Party, how beautifully decorated the Ag Hall was, how cozy the roaring fire made it feel, the amazing array of potluck offerings, and how many people attended. Mary Lou Perry added red ornaments to the greenery decorating the windowsills and mantle. It looked so pretty.
Katherine Long and Tom Vogl cooked the turkeys to perfection; Bob and Maggie Schwartz did the carving. Of course there were homegrown West Tisbury turkeys to begin with, raised by Skipper Manter. Linda Hearn organized the party in her calm and capable way - perfectly, as she does everything. I think it was the best Town Party and I am grateful that the selectmen chose to continue the tradition.
The Library party was wonderful, too. Frank and Peter Dunkl played duets on the French horn and euphonium (a member of the tuba family,) adding greatly to the ambience. We all loved having music in the library and asked the Dunkls to perform again next year, to which they have graciously agreed.
Our youngest and newest patron, Ben Saunders, attended the party in the arms of his parents, Julie and Chris. Ben was born on Nov. 1. Since they live right down the street, the Saunders are regular library patrons. His mother said that coming to the library was Ben's first official outing and he loves the library. I asked her if they had attended the Infant Story Hour yet. She didn't know about it, so for everyone's information, it is every Monday morning at 10:30.
Gay and Art Nelson were preparing for the arrival of a houseful of children and grandchildren. Loch and Lee Phillips were coming from Brooklyn, with their two children, Eero and Circe; Olivia Nelson and her friend, Anna Brickman, from New York City. Beach, Bill, and Bella Bennett and Christy and Job Phillips all live here, so came from just up the road.
Gay's sister, Martha Moore, was expecting her son, Alden Maddry, to join her and her partner, Joe McConnell for the holiday. Alden has already "sang for his supper" in a sense; he is an architect and has designed a small addition for Martha and Joe's house that Mark Mazer will build this year.
Leah and Woolcott Smith were joined by Jackie and Jeff Harrison for Christmas dinner. The Harrisons are Emily Smith's parents. Emily and Keston Smith were there as well.
Howard Curtis celebrated his first Vineyard Christmas, hosting his son, daughter, and his sister for dinner at his house. They are planning a tree, attending church services, and enjoying one another's company.
Beth Kramer and Douglas Reid had the luxury of having Christmas dinner cooked for them. They spent Christmas in Syracuse, N.Y., with Douglas's family. Their dinner was prepared by chef McCaull Reid, Douglas's son, who is following in his father's culinary footsteps.
Tom Hodgson and Christine Gault will have returned from Vermont, where they celebrated Christmas with friends.
The Library's Monday Night Movies are cancelled for Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.
Should you have some free time for work in the next couple of weeks, Cynthia Riggs would like to remind Vineyard writers, poets, and artists that Martha's Vineyard Writing is looking for submissions for their up-coming publication. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 15, 2007. This is for the Summer/Fall Vol.2, No. 2 issue. Submissions may be mailed to Martha's Vineyard Writing, P.O. Box 723, West Tisbury 02575, or by e-mail message (not an attachment) to email@example.com. Call Cynthia Riggs, Editor, at 693-9352 for more information.
I can't think of a better ending for this week's column than the following quote by Jane "Sister" Arnold, a character in "The Hounds and the Fury," Rita Mae Brown's newest book. "Whatever the year brings, I hope we stay healthy and thankful for our friends."