About 30 years ago I spent my first Christmas morning alone. My children had a spend-over visit with their father. I was lounging in bed, feeling a bit sorry for myself, when I heard a ruckus in my kitchen and a loud, “Hey!” It was Craig Kingsbury with my donkey, Juan. He had apparently been roaming State Road in search of a Christmas pageant perhaps when Craig apprehended him. Talk about an eventful morning — removing a 700-pound animal from one’s kitchen in a nightgown with the help of an amused man.

A little indulgence, if you please? Captured in Death Valley, California in the early 1980s, Juan’s ancestors may have been turned loose by the gold miners. He and 500 others were brought by the United States Department of the Interior to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in tractor trailers to be turned into dog food or to be adopted. They had been destroying the fragile ecosystem of the desert by eating cactus and by turning spigots to get water at the various campgrounds and picnic areas. Referred to as “government burros,” most were adopted. As P.T. Barnum so aptly noted, “There is a sucker born every minute!” Juan’s sole purpose in life was to make us laugh. He did, however, make an occasional appearance at church on Palm Sunday or Christmas. We decided that only our Lord could make him behave.

My friend Phyllis rang from her cell phone. She was traveling the scenic route from Edgartown. She shared that at Barbara Nevin’s funeral someone mentioned that Barbara always told people to “Take the Beach Road!” We know why. The way is so beautiful, especially this time of year at dusk. It is great to appreciate our Island treasures.

I have personal space issues with my clothing. I follow the Gilda Radner rule ... “I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.” Perish the thought of a turtleneck sweater. I want to be working outdoors all day but honestly, I can be so weird. It is true ... I wear a cashmere sweater on my head instead of a hat. The sleeves are handy ties which keep the neck toasty. One of the reasons I love the Vineyard is the lack of concern for fashion.

As long as I am talking about working outdoors, I want to discuss lunch. Many times we make soups in the crock pot and plug them in on people’s decks. Some properties, however, turn off the outside power outlets much to our unhappy surprise at noon when expecting a hot meal. I have found that left-over casserole can be popped into the oven in the morning to heat, wrapped in a bath towel, and placed in a large cooler along with two jugs of hot water. It will be a warm treat by the noon lunch bell. Those two plastic jugs can be tossed into the freezer for a great refrigerated cooler in the summer.

The only outdoor garden chore that needed attention this past week was taking a baseball bat to several of my favorite shrubs. They were weighted down with snow and ice to their peril. My 15-foot tall bamboo was stretched out about two feet from the ground and had taken down my clothes lines in the process. Since I do not own a dryer, I need to get the sons over for some major repairs.

Here it is less than a week to come up with some New Year’s resolutions. Wonder if I’ll keep any until the end of the month?