They’re all back in school. I guess technically, the 4/5 students are not in school but rather they are at school aboard the Alabama. Yes, one week of school at sea. They will learn all about maritime life — hoisting sails, swabbing the deck, navigating, charting. They will learn about teamwork. They will learn a lot about themselves and their classmates. They will learn how to be brave. They will return home in need of a hot shower, hugs from mom and dad, and so many stories it will take days for them to all be told. The first night they made it as far as Block Island. I watched them cruise down the Sound hugging the Elizabeths with the sails full and billowy. Knowing my nine-year-old, Brooks, along with Fynn, Noah, Bella, Keira, Menasha, Imogen, Ben, Adam, Cary, Owen, Dash, Keiran, Thea, and Madia were on board made me proud and sort of teary. They all are getting so big, so independent, and so self-assured. I am thinking this trip might bring out even more of those qualities.

Since we are on the topic of school, welcome to the two new assistant teachers who have joined the staff — Susan Gunnels and Mariah MacGregor. We have an awesome posse of new kindergarten faces along with a few big kids joining the mix. Welcome to my niece Oona Carroll who is a first-grader from Edgartown attending through school of choice. Also welcome to Emmett and Owen Favreau who jump in at third and fifth grade respectively. Also new to the building is a pretty fantastic lunch program. There is a super menu of fresh, and mostly local, food shipped up each day from the newly rebuilt kitchen at West Tisbury. The newly created lunch counter just off the foyer has a wonderful service window with a blue and white curtain and a friendly face serving up healthy meals.

Attention all Chilmark softball players. A big newsflash is being sent out by none other than our avid and faithful sports commentator and softball commissioner Bill Edison: Mark the third Sunday in May of 2013 on your calendar. The Peppermartin Softball Extravaganza will be held in Bill’s hometown of Elk, California, population 300. Bill promises to treat all who venture far west to their world famous margaritas.

The Chilmark Public Library would like to thank the people and businesses for supporting the summer reading program and helping to make it such a success. It was a fantastic summer filled with avid readers. Heartfelt thanks to Debby Packer at Menemsha Market, Frank, Merrily and Barbie Fenner at the Galley, the Carrolls at Menemsha Texaco, Jennifer LoRusso and Joel Glickman at the Chilmark Store, Allison Berger and MaryBeth Grady at Chilmark Chocolates, and the Flynn/Morgan families at the Bite. That’s from not only the staff at the library but all the kids who, after reading tons, received coupons for yummy treats.

Just a question: are you thinking about holiday cards yet? How about a long overdue family portrait? Do I have just the deal for you. The Chilmark Preschool is having a fundraising event with pretty darn famous West Tisbury resident and high school senior Eli Dagostino. The available dates are September 29 and October 14. The setting is the Fischer family’s Beetlebung Farm. The price, which includes high resolution digital files is $75 for a 15-minute session. Funds raised will benefit the preschool violin program. Contact Patricia at 401-952-7541 to book your slot.

Did you happen to catch that rainbow on Sunday night? Actually a double rainbow at times, it managed to stick around for a couple of hours. Usually a rainbow lasts but a few minutes. This one had a story to share and grew across the sky for what seemed like forever. One of life’s simple pleasures.