Chilmark: The power’s out

Happy Holidays one and all. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Dec. 25 was a blustery, crisp morning. We were finally getting to have our Thanksgiving. My husband prepared his stuffing, and added an assortment of cut carrots and boiler onions to the bottom of the turkey pan. We covered it together and put it in the oven. I was in the kitchen about a half-hour later when some unidentifiable beeps sounded. No, the refrigerator door was not left open, but the microwave clock now read 0:00. Oh no, not today of all days, but yes our power had gone out, the electric oven and everything else in the house went quiet. Was it just the curse of our road, or was it more widespread?

It turned out 432 households in Chilmark and Aquinnah had lost their power, putting a ding in many family festivities. Kitchens all over were readying their festive meals, kids awaiting present opening, and now the holiday lights had gone dark. Eversource restored full power three and a half hours later, spoiling a few dishes, but saving the day. We did not eat at 3:30 as planned, but 6:30 instead, enjoying all the tastes of Thanksgiving on a Christmas night, grateful and sated.

Can’t really say it better than this: “This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.” ―Howard W. Hunter

The Food Truck is serving breakfast and lunch from 11 am to 2 pm from the Home Port parking lot; you can find them Monday to Friday except New Year’s Day. Their other truck is in the airport business park across from the old Mobil station, slightly different menu. You can check both menus daily on Facebook, Also, Chilmarker Jan Buhrman’s Back Porch Larder may have closed its doors for the winter, but it’s offering weekly Friday pick-up dinners to email subscribers; order by Thursday at 10 am and pick up Fridays between 3 and 6 pm. Learn more at, or call 508-560-5775. And don’t forget to get your hot chowder, takeout or eat-in, at Menemsha Fish Market. Call ahead, 508-645-2282.

It’s not too late to volunteer for Friday, Dec. 29th’s Christmas Bird Count. Join 72,000 volunteers in the Western Hemisphere as part of a tradition dating back over 100 years. There are 13 territories on the Island, each with a captain overseeing teams going out before dawn “to go owling, and bird until sunset,” before gathering for a final tally at 5:30 pm. Email, and she’ll try to place you on a team. For birdfeeder data only or more info, see

I love that Pam Glavin, widow of Carl Widdiss, continues her annual tradition of putting up a Magical Christmas Tree at his gravesite in the Gay Head Cemetery, on Rose Meadow Way off State Road. Stop by and put a decoration on the tree in honor of Carl; write a note with “a promise to do a good deed for someone in need” in Carl’s honor.

Come hear the “Service of Bells” on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 9 am at the Chilmark Community Church. Tuesday winter meals continue through February, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm; enjoy free food, conversation, and community. Candle lighting and refreshments included. All are welcome, free. 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark. For further information, call 508- 645-3100.

Come to Pathways Arts to hear musicians Seamus Galligan, Alex Karalekas, Willy Mason, and Isaac Taylor, free on Friday, Dec. 29. Doors open at 6:30 pm and music starts at 7 pm. Mondays, join Rebecca Gilbert for knitting from 1 to 3 pm. You can stop by every day but Wednesdays and Sundays, and find a warm environment to work in, Wi-Fi and computer available.

Time for the second Chilmark Pot Luck Jam, with another fantastic lineup of Island musicians, on Saturday, Dec. 30, starting at 6 pm at the Chilmark Community Center.

Chilmark library’s annual Used Book Sale books are free after Christmas, Dec. 27 – 30. The library will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 1. Join Stories and Songs on Saturday at 10:30 am. Family Movie Night will be held Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 5 pm; come enjoy food, crafts, and a film. For questions or information, the library can be reached at 508-645-3360. Sign up for the new monthly newsletter by emailing to stay up to date on what’s happening.

West Tisbury library is offering free soup and bread lunches over the holiday break from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm, through Dec. 29. Sign up for Chilmarker Jennifer Burkin’s four-week Acrylic Painting Workshop to learn the basics and create a finished work weekly. Class on Wednesdays: Jan. 3, 10, 17, and 24. Call 508-693-3366. All materials provided free.

Hellie Neumann offers her weekly Wednesday free Acupuncture Clinic for PTSD or trauma from 4 to 6 pm at the American Legion Bethel in Vineyard Haven. No appointment necessary, call 774-563-8515 for more information.

Every Thursday through June, Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven is hosting Taco Night from 5 to 8:30 pm. Choose from meat, fish, and veggies.

Household food waste is now accepted at the Chilmark dump, $2 per bucket (maximum size is 5 gallons). Acceptable items include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, pasta, bread, dairy, meat, seafood, coffee, filters, teabags, napkins, and paper towels. For more info, see

Hunting season is officially over on Dec. 31.

Have a great week, and wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.