Town Column : Chilmark
Everyone is welcome at the Christmas Eve service at the church, which begins at 5 pm. There will be lessons, candle lighting and carol singing.
Jeanne Staples needs quilting materials for her January trip to Haiti where she will continue work on a "Peacequilt Project." The project helps Haitian women make and market the quilts. Among the materials she is asking quilters and others to donate are 100-percent cotton scraps, buttons, embroidery pins and more. Please call her if you can help at 508-274-1104.
The Martha's Vineyard Times held its annual party to celebrate the holidays and their camaraderie at the home of Times' publishers Peter and Barbara Oberfest. Conviviality prevailed, and everyone enjoyed the elegant buffet dinner.
Walking, with or without dogs, has always been a popular pastime in Chilmark, and so it is today. Even in the high holiday season, Chilmarkers will get out of the house for some bracing time outdoors, probably to clear their heads and attune themselves to the natural world. Some walk with a purpose - to collect pinecones for Christmas decorations, say. Others walk because a physical therapist suggested it, and, oddly, even people who can't stand physical therapy find they love walking. A social order exists: you may safely bid other walkers a quick "good morning," but if you dare to speak to a cyclist or a jogger, you'll find he/she is usually counting, either laps or time, and their rejoinder will reach you on a draft of air as they disappear from view.
One intrepid woman decided a few years ago to walk from her Menemsha residence over the entire perimeter of Martha's Vineyard. She made it too. Older folks can sometimes be seen, often with a huge ungainly tree-limb-type walking stick. A long-time Menemsha School principal and teacher, now in her 90s, can still be seen striding along, no walking stick, from her house in Menemsha to the post office. A long time ago we used to walk up South Road with a flashlight after dinner and never see a car pass. That, of course, is history.
There are, to be sure, other forms of outdoor exercise, all said to be healthful. Take the horses out for a gallop, perhaps. Our town counsel rides his bike from his South Road house to his office in Edgartown. But I prefer walking, especially early in the morning when it's still and there is time to see the wild flowers at your feet and the branches of the overarching trees with new buds or red leaves depending on the time of year. If you're lucky you will pass a small black and white cat sitting neatly in its driveway washing up before it starts the day and regarding the passing human comedy with an expression of amazement mixed with indifference. When I used to walk at 6 am Frank Fenner's sheep always came crowding up to the gate to greet me noisily, thinking I was bringing them their feed.
Walking, though, has something else going for it. It doesn't cost a cent.