Edgartown: New ways to share joy

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— Shelby Regan

As I write this week’s column, I am gazing upon my Christmas tree with lights, still awaiting ornaments. We decorated the front of the house early, but we have held off on the tree until Riley got home. And joy of joys, he is home now, so tree decorating is on deck for tonight. It won’t take long. She’s a tiny one this year, our little tree I’ve dubbed Irene. But she’s adorable.

I can’t believe Christmas is almost here. I’ve been so hyper focused on Riley coming home that I’ve pushed Christmas to the back of my mind. True to form, I’ve shopped haphazardly and now have no idea what I have or for who. Well, that’s only half true. I know mostly who I’ve bought for and who I still need to get things for, but I’m not even sure I remember where I’ve hidden everything. Now that we’ve got my eldest home with us, I guess it’s time to refocus my attention. Are you ready? Is it me or is it a little weird this year? 2020, the year that keeps giving us surreal everything.

The biggest news, of course, is the arrival of the Covid vaccine on-Island and throughout the country. While I certainly have concerns about vaccines, I believe in them and I know what the polio vaccine did for the world. I have high hopes for this one and it certainly sounds positive. When it is my turn, I’ll bravely roll up my sleeve for it. Thank you to all our healthcare workers who have been on the front lines for so long and have begun to receive their vaccinations this week.

I was saddened to receive a message from Becky Minnich the other day that her dad, Chuck Minnich, had passed away last Saturday. I was very impressed to read in his obituary that he had worked in the tech industry after earning his MBA, and then gave that up to move to the Island with his family and start his landscaping business. That, to me, is a brave thing to do, switching gears like that. The family has lived here for 30 years or so, with the next generation, Becky’s sons Connor and Dylan, currently in the Edgartown School. My condolences to the family. It’s so hard to lose our loved ones, but it’s even harder around the holidays.

I received a call from Pam Glavin the other day sharing that the promise tree in honor of Carl Widdiss would be up and ready for visitors. Folks are invited to visit it throughout the winter and hang an ornament or leave a promise gift on the tree, while making a secret promise to perform one act of kindness during this season. Carl always believed in doing for others and performing random acts of kindness, so the family has begun the tradition of this tree to honor his memory, and believe in “paying it forward.” The tree is at his burial site at the Aquinnah cemetery off Rose Meadow Road.

Happy winter holiday birthday wishes go out this week to Roy Cutrer on Dec. 19, Kelsey Donaldson Lang and Claire Crowell on Dec. 21, Fran Agnoli, Deb DeBettencourt, and one of our dearest friends, Jason Davey on Dec. 22, Kelly Hess on Dec.23, and Christy Edwards on Dec. 24.

This week brought about a new experience for those of us connected with school. The end of the snow day has come in the form of Zoom and remote learning instead of a day off because of a storm. In the case of this week’s storm, I don’t think anyone minds, since we didn’t have snow to play in. It’s a little sad to think that kids won’t experience that anticipation and excitement of the dream of a snow day anymore but on the flip side, we won’t go longer in June either. Life changes pretty fast these days. Technology, like everything, has its ups and downs. Hopefully more ups than downs.

Please remember that school will also be completely remote on Wednesday, Dec. 23. With the late starts and early dismissals, remote made more sense for the half day. School will reopen on January 4.

I am completely impressed with the ingenuity of people during these Covid times. Jil Matrisciano at Rise spread holiday cheer last weekend with a holiday drive-in full of clips and fun from past holiday dance shows. And this week the MVRHS Minnesingers and theater kids are keeping the spirit alive with a drive-in of their own. We humans are so good at bending and adapting and finding new ways to share art and food and joy. It makes my heart full. The old adage of ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ has never been truer than in 2020. That said, I won’t be sad to see 2020 head on out, and hopefully 2021 will bring less need for this particular kind of ingenuity.

I think that’s all I have for this week. Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy, rejoice, be happy, have fun, and stay safe. Wear your mask. Stay safe. There may just be that light at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of the vaccine. We want everyone to make it to the other side of the tunnel if we can!

If you have any Edgartown Town Column suggestions, email Gail Gardner, ggardnermv@gmail.com.