I am now looking at the last page of the 2006 calendar and for some reason, this time of year, I always seem to feel that the new year will not start until I go backwards 12 months to reach January again. And yet, it is only one day that makes a difference between the old year and the new. We start Jan. 1 with desires and dreams, making resolutions and determined to carry them through. Let us also fill this time with thanks for the good things the old year brought to us.
Fran Alwardt had a welcome visit last Saturday from her son Eric, his wife Sharon, and their children Stephanie and Ryan. They live in Plymouth and came to spend the day with Fran. The whole family went out to lunch and enjoyed their time together. On Christmas day, Fran joined her other son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Sara Alwardt, at their West Tisbury home where she was their guest at their annual Christmas brunch. Also present were Mike and Sara's children Erin and Joshua and Sara's parents Allan and Linc Hanson.
Staff Sgt. Michael Blake and his family and Pvt. Daniel Blake were able to celebrate Christmas together with their mother Bertha Blake this year. This is the first time in nine years that Michael has been home for Christmas. He is now stationed at Fort Knox, Ky. Daniel is stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. but is being deployed to Afghanistan in a few weeks. Please keep them and all of our military personnel in your mind and prayers this coming year.
The Oak Bluffs Library got a Christmas gift that can be shared by everyone. They have a new chessboard. Come to the library at any time to enjoy a stimulating game of chess with a friend. They are also encouraging people to come to the library on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 pm with their personal chessboards to meet others who enjoy playing the game.
Sgt. George Fisher of the Oak Bluffs Police Department, who is the captain of the Fire/Police Rescue Boat announces that Chris Oteri and Brian Kenney have just passed final exams for certification as OIC/Operator of the Patrol boat and may now take charge of the boat on training and operations without direct supervision of a ranking officer. Congratulations to them and also to Will deBettencourt who passed his USCG examination for a Master's License. Way to go Capt. deBettencourt. The boat was purchased by a Homeland Security Grant and has already been involved in rescue operations.
We send birthday smiles to Richard Tarter, who celebrated Dec. 28, Jen Jenkinson on Jan. 2, Chris Alley, Nicole deBettencourt and Nola Mavro on Jan. 3 and Kate Feiffer on Jan. 5 and Mike Araujo on Jan. 6.
Katherine Wilson, a member of the class of 2006 at MVRHS, has returned home from a three-month trip to New Zealand where she traveled and worked and enjoyed the other side of the world. She joined her sisters Eliza and Alison at home for Christmas. The sisters had not been together since last summer, and now Katherine is off again to Manhattan for another month of great adventure.
Now, at the end of the year, let us remember those loved ones who have passed from our sight this year, but not from our memories or hearts. Elmer Santos: patriotic veteran, husband, father and grandfather; Doug Abdelnour: father and businessman, outspoken but also an anonymous friend to many including the OBFD; Tim Norton, outstanding fisherman, beloved son, brother, husband and father; Joyce Balboni, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, compassionate friend, and generous donor of her time to many causes; Mary Druoin: mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, cheerful friend and bingo competitor and worker; Ruth Siple, good friend and cheerful taxi driver and business owner, wife, mother, grandmother and neighbor; and Audria Tankard: much loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and advisor to many.
My apologies if I have missed some names, so please let me know, and I will include them in next week's column.
May this New Year bring you, not necessarily what you want but what you need either for your hands or your hearts.