Sweet. Caring. Dedicated. Loving. Kind. Strong. Willful. Wife. Mother. Friend. Sister. Aunt. Educator. Neighbor. Loved was Joy Flanders and missed she will now be. Joy battled cancer until Sunday night, when the battle became too difficult to fight.

Joy’s face always wore a smile and her laughter was a sound that could spread like wildfire. I would like to think that a little bit of Joy will continue to grace us each time we drive with the windows down and the breeze blows through our hair or perhaps each time we stroll the beach skipping stones, gathering shells, sea glass, and heart-shaped rocks. My love goes out to Steve and their three beautiful girls, Genevieve, Allison, and Sarah, who all possess the same remarkable qualities their mother had.

It is difficult to choose appropriate words to share. I sit and think and my train of thought travels all over my mind. My train took me down a path that landed me in a place that made me think about the truly talented people we live our lives with. I am not simply talking about the big time names that join us for the summer but the folks we bump into day after day at the post office, the library, town meeting, or at a cold winter’s night pot luck.

Most of you may think of Scott McDowell as a charter fisherman. He is more than that — he is an artist. He creates copper fish that cover the walls of homes and businesses. He hammers silver and polishes it into sleek and subtly beautiful bracelets that wrap around wrists, including mine.

Then there is Tracey Thorpe. Quietly unobtrusive is the presence that she has but spectacular watercolors are what she creates in her cozy studio.

Chris MacLeod’s Canadian accent and slightly rough-around-the-edges presence transform into a master craftsman who sculpts beautiful wooden bowls out of burls that we would all appreciate displaying on our tables.

Wendy Weldon’s mixed media is, what can I say other than truly eye-catching and worthy of the MFA.

John Maloney is another hard working man who uses his hands not only to create stone walls and chimneys but those hands can certainly hold a pen too. Fine poetry flows from the tip of that pen.

Merrily Fenner scoops ice cream, plays music, belts out the finest of tunes, and has written a children’s book. Reading her book is like having her sitting next to you telling you the story, and listening to her sing makes you need to tap your foot and sing along.

Emmett Carroll, the man I am proud to refer to as father-in-law, carves everything from duck decoys to chickadees. He thinks his work isn’t impressive yet I beg to differ.

I could continue on and on about the friends and neighbors we live with 365 days a year and I certainly don’t mean to leave anyone out. My intention is to make you stop, think, and realize how truly fantastic our community is and how very unique and talented our unassuming neighbors really are. Open your eyes and appreciate what they have to offer.

Pam Goff has asked me to mention that Sunday, Feb. 27 service at the Chilmark Community Church will feature Prayers from the Ark. It is a celebration with music and prayers from the animals on Noah’s Ark with visuals that might appeal to children. The author of the piece is Bernos de Gasztold. The Reverend Phil Dietterich will be the baritone and accompanist. Martha Child will sing soprano and play the flute, Barbara Lopes will sing alto and Brian Lopes will sing tenor. If you haven’t jetted off to some warm and sunny location for school vacation then stop by and listen with your neighbors. If you have jetted off somewhere be sure to tell me all about it when you return.

The Chilmark Library will plow through vacation week — yes, pun intended as I watch it fall outside my window — with their movies and computer classes. Tomorrow’s Friday Night Movie! series features Cary Grant in the 1940 hit “His Girl Friday,” where a newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. Wednesday, March 2 is the fourth computer based class entitled Blogging for Beginners. Learn how to express yourself in the hip fashion of blogging. The free class starts at 5:30 pm.

Speaking of blogs, Molly Glasgow’s Grey Barn and Farm blog is hilarious. And be sure to check out Holly Bellebuono’s Buttercup List at She will share with you the ins and outs of primrose, dandelion, buttercup, and numerous other plants that possess healing qualities and can be found right in your own backyard.