Edgartown: A Jolly Jingle Bell Run

We survived Christmas! Actually, I’d say we thrived! Our family enjoyed the pleasure of the holiday, sharing gifts and time together. My kids have graduated to an age where they choose lovely and thoughtful gifts, not just for me but for all their family members. I love the gifts I received, but I will say that I miss the gifts that they would bring home when they were little. They would choose from the slightly used items at the Red Stocking Bazaar at school and bring home just the right thing, so excited to have chosen it all by themselves. I fondly remember the stuffed horse backpack one year, because I “use bags and like horses.” One notices the evolution and aging of one’s children in many different ways, from gifts given to time spent, to conversations in the car, to shared humor and sarcasm. No matter how much I resist time passing, that it does. It’s a blessing and a curse.

To celebrate the warmer than normal temperatures on Christmas Day, our family of five — Don, Kiana, Riley, Amelia, and myself — went for a swim at State Beach. The term “swim” might be a misnomer. It was more of a “dip,” as that water is cold! It was so much fun and such a treat, and we recorded the adventure for future memories. Turns out we weren’t alone. While we were there, we saw at least two other women go in for their own quick dip, and Facebook revealed that Islanders are a crazy lot, as many of our friends posted their own adventures doing the same thing.

Did you happen to see the students and staff of the Edgartown School out running last Wednesday morning? For several years now, everyone at the school has gone out just before Christmas break to take part in the annual Jingle Bell Run. Joe Thibodeau started the run in honor of former Edgartown Police Chief George Searle, and current physical education teachers Michelle Pikor and Channon Capra have kept the tradition alive and well, weather permitting. George’s granddaughter, Emma Searle, led the run in years past, but now that she is at the high school, this year’s run was led by Chief Searle’s son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Denise Searle. Hats, sweaters, and decorations were encouraged, and everyone had a great time. It is one of the few events that the entire school takes part in each year, and it shows the kids firsthand that fitness and health can be fun!

On Thursday, Dec. 31, from 1 to 3 pm, kids are invited to celebrate the New Year with a party at the Edgartown library. The library will present a screening of the classic Pixar movie “Toy Story,” followed by a dance party with noisemakers, party hats, and refreshments. All the fun is free —- and all kids are welcome. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

In other library news, Donna Blackburn has retired from her post in the Children’s Room after 21 years of service! Where did the time go? A celebration in her honor was held on Dec. 22, welcoming the public to come and bid her a fond farewell. I’m so sorry to have missed this event. The kids and I were practically a permanent feature in the kids’ department when they were little, and Donna — whom my kids referred to as “Donna Blackberry” at the time — provided so many fun activities for us and so many of our friends! We were lucky to have her there for so long. Best of luck to you, Donna, on your next adventure!

High school students Aaron Teves, Jack Yuen, and Dayana Middleton, working under the direction of Sense of Wonder Camp director Pam Benjamin, designed and painted a wildlife mural at Felix Neck. This project, supported in part by the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, provides beauty and an opportunity for learning to Felix Neck visitors, campers, and program participants.

The mural, which displays a bird’s eye view of Felix Neck and the animals that call it home, covers the exterior wall of the Sanctuary on the back side of the building. A raccoon peering out from a tree stump, two deer, inquisitive otters, owls, and many other local species can be found on the mural.

Sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi was thrilled with the new addition to the Sanctuary: “What a talented and committed trio! This stunning mural makes Felix Neck even more beautiful and fun — visitors will really enjoy finding and identifying the animals that call the Island home. I know that our education staff will use the mural to share local wildlife with Fern and Feather campers, school program participants, and visitors. We are thankful for the talent and community spirit of Aaron, Dayana, and Jack.” The mural can be seen daily at Felix Neck, as the grounds are open sunup to sundown.

On Monday, Jan. 4, the free Edgartown Community Suppers will begin for the winter. This year the suppers are moving to a new location, at St. Andrew’s Church on Winter Street, two blocks from the Old Whaling Church, where they were held in the past. Suppers are served from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Please come and share food, warmth, and fellowship. Volunteers to help with the suppers are also needed. For details, please call Liz Villard at 508-627-8619 or email her at evillardmv@gmail.com.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions you want to share? I’d be happy to write about them next week. I’m not much of a resolution girl. But this New Year, I do hope to be a better person. Hold my temper more. Relax more. Enjoy more. Remember what matters and what doesn’t. I wish you all a Happy New Year.