Aquinnah: New year tidying, song of hope, Howes House, and town library

—MV Times

We’re taking down our Christmas tree. Packing away beloved ornaments, many of them silly creatures like a cloth cow in fancy hat and high-heels, a wooden hedgehog on skis, another cloth cow in housedress and apron who is holding onto a bouquet of flowers, and lots of other similar treasures. Each of our ornaments have been lovingly collected over a span of 50 years, and although none of them have any monetary value, they are all priceless to us. We therefore pack them into a big plastic tub that has a specially formed top that no rodent can gnaw through as we await the next, far-off, Christmas holiday. I am always sad to put the ornaments away, murmuring apologies and farewells to them like a possessed person, as I carefully lay them onto tissue paper as if I’m tucking them in for a long nap.

That said, I will nonetheless be glad to have our living room back in order. It is, after all, a new year. Time for me to get out the cleaning implements, move the furniture so I can scrub behind it, pulling out the wood wax and white vinegar, the baking soda, the scrub brushes. It’s not that I’m a great housekeeper — I definitely am not. But I figure that once a year (or maybe another time, if certain guests are coming), I should at least give it a shot. I’m always amazed and a little ashamed at what I find behind the headboard or the bookcase, but I surely do feel great once it is done.

I do not make resolutions, but I do always give up a song of hope when we change the calendar year. This year, I am hoping that the young stay alive and vital and engaged in the world. I am hoping that we seniors age gracefully, without pain, and without fear, but with plenty of laughter and good work, and good books to read. I am hoping that those in powerful positions everywhere on this earth use that power to urgently stop the degradation of our planet, and that when they do, the people of the world reward them with their vote. (For that matter, I am hoping that our elections stay fair and sane.) I am hoping that libraries and learning institutions remain open, unfettered, and well-endowed. I am hoping for kindness and for peace for all that live, everywhere.

The good folks at the Up-Island Council on Aging have come out with their January calendar. Every Thursday at 12:30 pm, they offer up a healthy lunch to seniors looking for a delicious meal and friendly conversation. They ask for a $4 donation, if you can give it, and require that no matter what, you sign up no later than noon on the Monday of the week you plan to attend. On Thursdays, from 2 to 2:30 pm, they will be featuring a four-part viewing and discussion of “Secrets of the Blue Zones,” which explores the science and lifestyles behind longevity. For those of you who are vowing to get stronger in the new year, they have a few classes available, including FitFun on Wednesdays from 10 to 10:45 am, where you can get your body moving in an upbeat program for seniors, no matter how fit you are when you begin. This class costs $12. Also offered are virtual yoga and strength-training classes that you can view online from your own home. They have lots of other service programs, support groups, and food and equipment available for free, so, if you are a senior citizen, you should check them out.

I am so grateful to the Aquinnah library. Rosa and Vera keep that place open and welcoming. When the days are too gray and I am feeling a bit dreary, I often head up there just to see their smiles. The coffee is always available, current periodicals are on hand, and the wide array of books for young and old are always there. Drop by, it is your library, after all. There is a world of knowledge and entertainment in that little building, and it is all there for you.

I have one more wish to print here: Please, if you are an Aquinnah resident, let me know what’s happening in your world. Politicians and community boards, let me know of issues that you are working on. Families, let me know birth dates, as well as anniversaries or special awards or events that your family is participating in. This is your column: please, use it as such.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,