When we walked down the Chappaquiddick Road on Christmas Day, the sun was out and the air was still. There were no sounds of any kind of motors to be heard — it was almost at the half hour and the ferry ran on the hour that day — so we had the road to ourselves. Other walkers and runners and running dogs were out enjoying the perfect Vineyard early-winter day.
After looking nearly empty for so long, Brine’s Pond has filled to a reasonable level: the white rock is about half-covered. I know some people, like Will Geresy, are looking forward to skating, if only it stays cold long enough, without snowing.
Recently on the ferry, I was remarking on the mixed flock of 12 or so ducks that has been hanging around the channel for a week or two. Capt. Bob Gilkes told me they had been eating the mussels along the harbor front and, pointing out a nearby buoy floating high in the water, said that it had been almost completely submerged until the ducks cleaned it off.
The party at the community center on Christmas Eve was a great success thanks to the help of many people. About 80 people showed up to eat and visit with other Chappaquiddickers and their guests. There were several families with three or even four generations present including the Potters, the O’Rourkes and the extended family of Dennis Goldin and Nancy Slade. There were babies to entertain us, including Peter Wells and Sally Snipes, daughter Molly’s five-month-old twins and two-year-old Abby.
Chappy recorder players Hatsy Potter, Liz Villard, Anna-Liza Villard-Howe, and Claire Thacher played Christmas carols toward the end of the evening, with everyone listening and some singing along.
Laura Jemison donated her Christmas decorations and talents to making the room look festive. Annie Heywood provided us with eggnog as well as appetizers, as did many others. Sally Snipes made the punch. Edo Potter provided her usual delicious clam chowder, Bob O’Rourke roasted a turkey, as did Nancy Slade, and Mary Spencer cooked a giant ham. There was lots of food! Thanks to all the others who made salads, potatoes, squash and desserts. It was a delightful evening. With the winter population having grown so (relatively) big and diverse, we’re fortunate to have the community center as a gathering place.
I was lucky to receive a homemade screech owl nest box for Christmas. My brother, Richard Knight, put one up off North Neck Road about five years ago, and it has been occupied steadily since then. He says screech owls search for nest and roost sites throughout the year, and that owls lay their eggs a month before they believe spring arrives in their area. I’m going to get my box up soon so I can keep track of their spring prediction, to keep my hopes up.