Town Column : Edgartown
This year, the holiday season seems to be a bit more stressful than usual.
The economy is in a bad place, unemployment is high, and in general, life seems a little more uncertain for right now. The stress and the pressure from it all can really make the holidays a difficult time. Remember Christmas isn't about where you shopped, what you bought or how much money you spent. Write a nice note to someone on your shopping list, telling him or her how important they are to you. Or give someone a homemade craft or plate of cookies or candy. Do you have a skill you could offer to a friend or loved one? You could make a gift certificate offering an hour or two of house cleaning, bookkeeping, or house painting. The point is that your "gift" need not empty your wallet. With a little ingenuity and creative thinking, anyone can come up with a clever gift that costs next to nothing but means a great deal. And relax. The holidays are about friends and family first.
There's so much going on this weekend, with Christmas in Edgartown. Be sure to check out the calendar section for details on all the offerings. Although they are far too numerous, I've been offering up a small spattering each week.
The United Methodist Church offers its annual Christmas Shoppers Luncheon on Saturday from 11 to 1 in the Baylies Room at the Old Whaling Church. Lunch includes homemade corn chowder, sandwiches, and pies.
One of Herb Ward's beautiful quilts, "Island Daylilies," is being raffled off as part of the Federated Church Choir's An Old Fashioned Christmas on December 14. Raffle tickets will still be on sale before the concerts at the Federated Church Meetinghouse on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 pm, and again on Sunday at 3 pm.
Christmas anthems and songs will be sung by the full choir and small ensembles, and there will be carol singing for all. Admission is by freewill donation, and will benefit both the Steeple Fund and the church choir's singing trip in 2009 to France and Switzerland. A donation of canned goods for the Island Food Pantry is encouraged.
The Friends of the Council on Aging are offering gift-wrapping throughout the weekend at 12 North Water Street, across from David Ryan's at Willoughby's Essentials. The proceeds from this event are specifically for fuel assistance for needy Edgartown seniors. The cost is $3 per package.
Happy birthday to Warner Hess, who got another year older on December 10. You may have also noticed that Warner's dad, Mark Hess, put up his annual Christmas tree out on the Edgartown Golf Course, where you can see it from the fork in the road up at the triangle. This year's "tree" is smaller than it has been in years past, part of their efforts to go green but still enjoy the spirit of the season.
I've got to share an experience I had this weekend - not to toot my own horn but rather to remind people how easy it is to make a kind gesture. I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few items for the Red Stocking Fund. As we walked up to the door there was a young girl with a baby trying to get something in the trunk of her car, in the rain and snow, while trying to keep her baby from running into traffic. After putting my kids up on the sidewalk, I went over to help her only to find her crying. She had tried to exchange a small table but Wal-Mart wouldn't exchange it because she bought it on Black Friday and didn't have seven dollars to pay the difference. Heartbroken, and appreciative that "there but for the grace of God go I", I brought her, her daughter, and her table inside to customer service and asked them to change out the table for her. They took my money and agreed to exchange the item in question. I thanked them, wished the girl a Merry Christmas, and went on my way.
Later, the manager said that he felt my gesture was very kind but said that they had problems with this girl previously, when she had returned items without a receipt, asking for cash instead. He also said she was rude and unpleasant to his staff and that they had decided to "go by the book" with her. While I understood his position, but said I felt that she was practically a baby herself, dealing with her own baby, a beat up car, and who knows what else. I did what I thought was right. I told him that my heart went out to the poor girl. I was in my 30s when I had my kids, married, settled, etc., but I still had my moments when life didn't go my way. Being sleep-deprived and emotionally challenged, I was probably less than polite on occasion. I also shared that if I come across someone crying in a parking lot, I'm going to try to do the right thing to help him or her out. I said I was sorry that he had problems with her in the past and I said, "Aren't we lucky that we aren't in her position" and didn't have to "pull" things at a Wal-Mart in order to put food on the table. He ultimately had to agree that we were, in fact, very lucky.
I share that story to remind everyone that there is always room to find the opportunity to help someone in need. It may change someone's day. And it goes a long way toward making you feel pretty good yourself.
Have a great week.