We all have our personal New Year’s resolutions (lose weight, call Mom more often, stop storing sealed bills in the trunk of the car . . . ) but here are a couple of self-improvement policies we might adopt communally:
1. Can we please take the initials out of our signed documents, novels, film credits, etc.? At a certain age it’s hard for most of us to remember first and last names. But initials? Who needs them? The last one I embedded in my memory was the F. in F. Scott Fitzgerald. But nowadays? Robert B.? R.? Parker? Thomas L.? J.? Friedman? It’s too much information in an age when people can’t even conjure their phone numbers.
2. Here’s a suggested law that puts me uncomfortably in mind of Big Brother, but I believe it’s needed anyway: How about, if we’re purchasing a slice of pizza to go, could we mark the paper plate with a stamp issued by a government office? We’re seeing way too many discarded pizza plates strewn in our gardens and in our roads. Next time you come across this charming brand of litter, wouldn’t you love to read on its underside: Joey Schmegeggy, 508-693-xxxx?
Well, at this time of year, the big topic is vacations. Some of us are staying put, catching up on our reading, sipping hot chocolate, and donning fluffy slippers, so eat your hearts out. But others are skedaddling because they have some deep-seated prejudice about the Vineyard in winter. I took a casual survey of some of these pending itineraries on New Year’s Day at my friend Olive Tomlinson’s house in the Highlands:
David and Lee Van Allen are off to St. Martin’s.
Friends Edwina Badger and Sue Fuller have an African safari planned.
Paul Clasen has another two-week golf spree organized, this one in Orlando, Fla.
Gretchen Underwood, newly retired dean of Brookline High, will be leaving Wellesley this winter to be a welcome companion to her mother, Mary Tucker, here in O.B.
Mega-golfer Peter Lally and his wife, Sandy, will be off on their annual winter junket to Playa del Carmen on the Gulf of Mexico.
Olive Tomlinson and her pal, Shelley Davis, will spend what’s turning into their traditional two months in San Miguel de Allende in the central mountains of Mexico. (Olive and Sandy are trying to figure out where they can meet halfway during their mutual but far-flung Mexican vacations. Olive said, “It’s going to involve a burro, a bus, an aquaplane flight, and a final burro.” I suggested it might be easier to wait and connect on the Vineyard.)
Meanwhile, as these globe-hoppers caught each other up, Maria Sercander and Rebecca Cohen laid on the New Year cornucopia: crab cakes, sweet potato casserole, pork tenderloin with plum sauce, mac ’n’ cheese, Olive’s deviled eggs and her special meatballs for Michael Underwood who “won’t go until he gets some” (to borrow from that plum pudding song).
As for me, I’d like to say I’ll be visiting the Loire Valley in a tour of chateaux and champagne distilleries, but who wants to be in France at this time of year? It’s drizzly and gray and the sun doesn’t rise until nine o’clock, for goodness sakes.
If anyone else in this readership can’t afford the luxury of a books, hot chocolate and slippers binge on the Vineyard, and is heading for points north, south, east or west, let me know and I’ll write about it in this column.
Spring and summer Highlands dweller, Dr. Duncan Walton, was recently voted New Jersey Psychologist of the Year by the New Jersey Psychological Association. Dr. Duncan, professor emeritus from Rutgers University, retired his practice in 2006. His wife, Joceyln, is a retired mathematics educator and textbook author (must not be much small talk in that household.) In autumn and winter, the Waltons station themselves in Annapolis, Md., to be close to their children and grandchildren.
One last piece of vital news: At the Oak Bluffs Library on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 10:30 a.m., the Portuguese-English Story Time and Craft Event will take place.
Got your slippers on? Me too!