Friends and family said farewell to Helen Burt on Saturday. Her sister Sarah Fisk had come earlier from Huntsville, Alabama, to be with her. Her treasured grandchildren were here. So many, including the Rev. Roger Spinney, shared happy memories of Helen and good times. She will be remembered for her devotion to her church and family and friends. We will miss her terrific sense of humor. We shall also miss the best pecan pie this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
Helen's obituary neglected to mention her many years of service to the town. She worked in the Selectmen's Office and with the Town Accountant. She was at the Council on Aging and was on the Board of Registrars.
The Rev. Ellen Catreau was heartily welcomed last Sunday by the congregation at the First Baptist Church. She is the interim minister, serving while the church searches for a new pastor, and will be living in the parsonage.
Thank you, Fred LaPiana. You promised new sidewalks on the lower block of Spring Street and work was done on that this week. We older folks are not the only ones who will be delighted with the new, safer paving.
We enjoyed a brief and exhausting visit from our little granddaughters. Rory and Fiona came all the way from Virginia with their mom. We scavenged for seashells on the beach, checked out playgrounds all over town, and chased turkeys in the yard.
The holiday season has arrived. You could tell by the total lack of parking places on Main Street last weekend. All the beautiful lights are appearing in decoration just in time to brighten up these dark days.
On Saturday Grace Church offers the Holly Day fair and luncheon from 10 am to 2 pm. If you want more, the NAACP bazaar is at the high school, another is at the Oak Bluffs senior center, and West Tisbury offers the Christmas Faire at the Congregational Church as well as the winter farmer's market.
Saturday is also Skinner Appraisal Day at the Martha's Vineyard Museum in Edgartown.
In between all this you can rest up with a free horse and wagon ride from the Tisbury Market Place through the Village, available from 11 to 2. See details on these and many other events on our calendar.
The holidays wouldn't be complete without the classic ballet of The Nutcracker. On Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm Children in the Arts of Martha's Vineyard will present the 13th Nutcracker Gala at the Performing Arts Center. Enjoy the Nutcracker Prince's triumphant battle with the Mouse King, and the beauty of darting Snowflakes, Arabian and Spanish dancers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Delight in the sight of Mother Ginger and watch Clara's dreams come true.
This year's performers feature the Atlantic Coast Ballet with 14 professional dancers as well as the children from the Martha's Vineyard School of Ballet. Tickets are $15 and $25, available at the Bunch of Grapes. There is a cap for tickets good only the day of the event: $50 for two adults and three children in the same family.
Clara will be played by Megan Mendez on Saturday and Grace Hall on Sunday. Ethan Mendez will play the part of Fritz at both performances. Watch for your other neighbors dancing onstage, including Annabelle and Ashley Biggs, Landon Cormie, Mary Afton Crandall, John Hagen, Christopher Mendez, Maria and Oliver Metters, Alana Nevin, Maureen and Robert Belisle.
Saturday evening at 7:30, a French film at the Cornell Theatre called "Un conte de Noël" (A Christmas Tale) will be screened. The whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas. The parents prepare to welcome their children Elizabeth, Henri, and Ivan with their offspring and various hangers-on.
But this is no cozy seasonal heart warmer: the mother has just been diagnosed with liver cancer, and she can only be cured by a transplant from a close relative. But with a family of neurotics, alcoholics, and schizophrenics, even getting them to sit together is a challenge. In French with English subtitles, it's a wild, colorful Dickensian roundelay of a film, brimming with life and laughter, and so quick-witted that it barely wastes a second of its running time.
You can also support the Martha's Vineyard Film Society by eating a burrito or two at Sharky's. Both restaurants will donate 15 percent of all food sales all day on Friday to the Film Society.
Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be waiting at the firehouse on Sunday at 1 pm. Help those little ones get their lists in order.
Starting Tuesday, the Vineyard Haven Library begins a film series starring Patricia Neal. The first one is "Hud." She won an Oscar in this film with Paul Newman who plays Hud, a ruthless young man who tarnishes everything and everyone he touches.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out on Saturday to Sarah Wajda. Happy birthday to Jessie Chandler who celebrates on Tuesday.
Heard on Main Street: It is better to have fished and lied than never to have fished at all.