Town Column


By Gail Craig
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Posted November 8, 2007

I had a most annoying experience today. Grocery shopping is never one of my favorite things to do, but today's trip was such an incredible headache. First, the credit card machine wouldn't take my card (the only card I had with me, of course). Remembering that my checkbook was in the car, I ran out and grabbed it. Imagine my surprise, however, when I got to the customer service desk and found out that, even though I have a Stop & Shop card, I was not authorized to write a check. So, there I stood with a useless credit card, an apparently useless check, a line rapidly forming behind me, my blood pressure rising, a cart full of groceries thawing and melting around the corner, and a husband that needed to head to work within the next 15 minutes. I was completely exasperated! Ultimately, I think as much because I pushed the issue as because they didn't want to have to put the groceries away, they took my check and I was able to leave, but not before I thought my head would explode. I would very much like to thank Harriet Hoar, who attempted to vouch for me and who also was willing to take a check from me and pay for the groceries on my behalf. It was such a kind gesture in a very unpleasant situation and I really appreciate the offer to help.

Ever wonder how the sailors on the whaling ships lived? Featherstone Center for the Arts will host a benefit for a new children's book, "Thirty Dirty Sailors and the Little Girl Who Went a-Whaling," on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 3 to 5 pm. The free event will include children's maritime activities conducted by Sail MV and the Martha's Vineyard Museum, including scrimshaw carving and making sailors' valentines. There will be food and fun for both kids and adults.

The original watercolors from the book, illustrated by Susan Convery Foltz, formerly of Edgartown, will be on display and for sale during the event and for a week afterwards. Dillon Bustin, a well-known performer and author of the song the book is based upon, will perform at 4 pm. The song was first included in Bustin's "Tidebook: An Island Rhapsody," a musical history of the Vineyard first performed here a decade ago.

"Thirty Dirty Sailors" is based on the life of a young Edgartown girl named Laura Jernegan, who lived aboard her father's whaling ship for three years in the 1800s and kept a journal about her adventure. The journal is now part of the collection of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. Matthew Stackpole, the executive director of the museum, wrote the introduction for the book about the "real Laura," and the museum is recommending the book be included in the curriculum for the second grade here.

The event is being sponsored by Vineyard Stories, an Island company and publisher of "Thirty Dirty Sailors." A percentage of all book sales that day will go to Featherstone.

Happy belated birthday to Joshua Brown, who celebrated his fifth birthday on (I think) Wednesday October 31 at the home of his grandparents, Bob and Teri Brown, and his father, Michael.

I know it may seem early, with Halloween just passing, but Christmas in Edgartown will be upon us before you know it. The Edgartown Board of Trade Christmas in Edgartown Committee has been meeting weekly to schedule events for the 26th annual event. The special holiday weekend is December 7, 8, and 9. Exciting events are planned, including the Chowder Contest, the Cookie Tasting Contest, the parade, and the art gallery, inn, church, and realtor open houses. Don't forget the Minnesingers will be delighting their audience this year as well! Mark your calendars to join in the fun at this annual event and, as I have once again signed on to organize the parade, if you would like to help out or be a part of the parade, just let me know. The more help the merrier (no pun intended).

Cindy Butler would like people to know about the Operation Christmas Child program, where shoeboxes filled with gifts are collected and shipped to children living in poverty around the world. Ms. Butler suggested that it might be a good family, church, or classroom project. The program is sponsored by Samaritan's Purse; their web site is I e-mailed the organization with a number of questions regarding the program and received prompt and informative responses. Although they are a religious organization, the shoeboxes are given to children from all over and of different religions and do not include literature. Information regarding the organization is available to the children if they are interested. Gifts are collected from Nov. 12 through Nov. 19. For more information, readers can visit the web site or call 1-800-353-5949.

Like a complete idiot, I dropped some valuable items on Main Street this morning. Some kind citizen found them and was kind enough to see to it that they were returned. Though I don't know who that was, hopefully you are reading this and will recognize yourself. Thank you for your help and honesty.

That's it for now. Have a great week and be sure to get me your news.