Oak Bluffs: Sun and moon, South Beach, Chicken Alley, and Clothes to Go

—MV Times

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books, and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” —Neil Gaiman

My friend Gina Patti shared that inspiring quote by one of her favorite authors, which inspires me to read one of his books!

A new year spreads out before us: 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes. Wait — 2024 is a leap year, so there are actually 366 days (you can do the math on the minutes). It sounds like a lot of time — how does it slip by so quickly? This time of year does feel slower somehow, which we should try to appreciate.

The days are already lengthening, which we will notice more in the afternoon, as the sun sets almost a minute later every day. By Jan. 31, the sun will be setting at 4:57 pm! But we will still have dark mornings, as the sun doesn’t rise before 7 am until well into January. By the end of February, it will be rising by 6:15 am, and setting at 5:30 pm. That will feel so good — for those early morning folks, for the kids getting up to get to school, and for those leaving work at 5 in the dark right now!

2024 will have 12 full moons and 4 super-moons. That is one less full moon than 2023, because we won’t have any monthly blue moons. Our first full moon of 2024 will rise on Jan. 25 — more on that later.

I went for a walk on South Beach on New Year’s Day. The destruction out there is startling to see. It has been waiting to happen since the storm in 2021 severely weakened the dunes. You can sense the power of the wind and water in the ravaged dune brush left behind, and the now clear view of the ocean from Atlantic Drive.

The rebuilding has begun, with mounds of sand piled at the left fork and on the parking area of the right fork. It will be interesting to see how it looks there in the spring.

Carla Cooper let me know about “Stand Out for Democracy” on Jan. 6, the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol. This will be a peaceful event at the roundabout; bring your voices and your signs from 12 to 1 pm. Parking is available at the high school.

Over at Chicken Alley Thrift Shop, this is the time of year that they are in need of donations. It is a great way to recycle, so think about them if you’re decluttering, which is the new word for cleaning out your basement and closets. All proceeds from Chicken Alley directly benefit the programs of M.V. Community Services. These programs serve the entire Island community, from early childhood programs to mental health services to veterans’ support. Check chickenalley.org for hours.

Another place to bring your gently used clothing is “Clothes to Go,” located at the Stone Church in Vineyard Haven. This program of the United Methodist Church of M.V. provides free clothing to our community. Donations and shopping hours are Saturdays from 11 am to 1 pm, or by appointment. For more information, you can contact mvclothestogo@gmail.com, or call Jen Fiore at 508-693-4424.

Save the date for the most fun fundraiser at the library on Jan. 19: “Putts & Pints” is the after-hours mini-golf event for the 21-plus crowd, from 6 to 9 pm. This is usually a sellout, so buy your tickets ahead, at the library or on the website. Teens can play from 4 to 5:30, and there will be family mini-golf on Saturday the 20th from 10 to 12.

Happy birthday to Vineyard singing ambassador Roberta Kirn on Jan. 5. She shares the date with Kate Feiffer and Jules Ben David. Uma Datta and Michael Araujo will celebrate on Jan. 6, along with Annie Landry. On Jan. 7, balloons go to Jason Balboni and Holly Thomas. Mel BenDavid, who is a rock star herself, shares her birthday on the 8th with Elvis Presley and David Bowie! Happy birthday hugs to my dear friend and partner-in-crime Sue Curley on Jan. 9! Kristin Warriner will be celebrating on the 9th too! On Jan. 10, Annie Combra will blow out the candles, as will Brenda Leonard and David Burt. Richie Combra Jr. will celebrate his day on the 11th. Say happy birthday to Judy Thomas on the 11th. Kim D’Arcy would rather keep her birthday quiet, so if you see her on the 12th, be sure and sing loudly to her!

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If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Joanne Lambert, joannelamber@gmail.com.