Our deepest sympathies are with Tom Hale and the family of Margie Haven. She was a talented and lovely woman whose many friends are feeling her loss.

I wish the folks doing the annual bird count would count the turkeys in my backyard. We had nearly the number they counted for the whole island scratching around in our backyard a few mornings ago. Maybe next year I should volunteer for the count.

Condolences go out to the Wajda and Lowe families. John Wajda, 43, died suddenly last week, leaving his wife Amy (Lowe) and their five children, Allyson, Emma, Sarah, Izzy (Elizabeth), and Matthew. John and his family moved from Vineyard Haven to Lower Waterford, Vermont, a couple of years ago. A loving father and good friend with a keen sense of humor, John will be missed by many in the Island community.

Enjoy good work by a local artist on your next visit to the V.H. Library. Check out the new display of Art in the Stacks by Patricia Carlet. This exhibit will be up until March. And there is much more going on at your library.

Next Thursday afternoon at the library children aged 5 and up can enjoy board games with Katherine at 3:30 pm. Then at 7 pm you are invited to read your poetry or prose to others who share your interest. Winter Musings is an evening of Vineyarders reading original work. Bring a brief (3- to 5-minute) piece of poetry or prose you would like to read aloud. Listeners are welcome, too. Writers may bring more than one piece because you may get more than one chance to read

Want to learn more about our foreign policy decisions? Then you can vote on the process. The Great Decisions Discussion Group begins at the library on February 10 and will cover a variety of topics for eight weeks. That’s at 7 pm every Thursday evening through March 31. Each meeting begins with a short PBS documentary on the subject. There is also a workbook you can buy from the library for $10.

After studying and discussing the subject each week, you fill out an opinion ballet. The Foreign Policy Association tabulates these and sends a National Opinion Ballot Report to Congress and others involved in making our foreign policy decisions. The first week’s topic is Rebuilding Haiti. Others include world economics and national security and many fascinating aspects of foreign policy.

The film “The Way We Get By” celebrates three unsung heroes who share their love with strangers who need and deserve it. This is a story about troop greeters — a group of senior citizens who gather daily at a small airport to thank American soldiers departing and returning from Iraq. The film turns into a moving, unsettling, and compassionate story about aging, loneliness, war, and mortality. Individual stories of heartbreak and redemption remind us how society ignores our elders and often our soldiers. See it Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

On Monday I woke early and the outside temperature was five degrees. That is not a temperature; it is beyond cold. The biggest difference I noticed from inside my warm house was that the rhododendrons seemed curled up even tighter than usual.

So, did you know that Ground Hog Day is National Job Shadow Day? The MVYLI youth will work with Vineyard businesses to get firsthand experience with jobs in their fields of interest. MV Chamber of Commerce members interested are Island Alpaca, Felix Neck, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, MVY Radio, Building Shelter, Craig’s Bicycles, Maggie’s Salon, and Rentschler & Company. Others include Galen Films, SBS, and The Farm Institute.

The after-school program is 2:30 to 5 pm on Wednesday at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The goal is to give these students a positive experience of the work world and develop relationships that contribute to the Vineyard’s economy and lead to internships and jobs. To sign up and for more, email: mvyouthleaders@gmail.com.

Wondering what your neighbors are up to? You can find out in the Not Summer issue of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. For instance, Kristen Kingsbury Henshaw reminisces about teaching her father, the late Craig Kingsbury, how to drive.

Today we send special birthday balloon wishes to Elisha Smith, complete with extra hugs from daughter Carol and great-grandson Gabriel. Elisha is celebrating his 88th on Sunday.

Happy anniversary to Aase and Harry Jones on Monday.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go to Caroline Davey today. On Saturday wish the best to Suzanne Kennedy, our town accountant. Happy birthday to Susie Thurber who parties on Monday. Tuesday belongs to Paul Watts. Wednesday’s birthday girl is Jessica Shannon.

Heard on Main Street: My husband claims that we live in the tropics of New England. So far the snowstorms have proved his theory.