Talk in the most fashionable circles these days revolves around egregious banking practices, but I must say I’ve always loved my local bank, the Oak Bluffs branch of Edgartown National, as well as the amiable and smart folks who work there. I know other townies feel the same way, and it serves as an object lesson that small, local and community-oriented services may be the way to eliminate today’s social ills.

I have a particular bank teller, Ms. Pat, whom I’ve long called my financial advisor. She tendered her first key piece of monetary advice back in the summer of 2006 when my mom, Trina Mascott, served as one of the key employees at my bookstore. One day when I brought the day’s fat little wad of cash to the bank, Pat said tartly, “You and your mother have the same genetic code of jumbling up your money.”

“Jumbling?” I asked, wondering if we’d somehow inserted euros and Canadian dollars into the pile (don’t laugh — other retailers will tell you we end up with some odd currency by the end of the summer). But no, what Pat referred to was throwing fifties and twenties and fives and tens together every which way, presidents facing up, facing down, sometimes angled upside down and away from the teller, the whole mess hinting at a mind less than fiscally focused. I got the picture: How one handled one’s currency served as fiduciary Rorschach test.

From that day forward, I’ve stacked my little wads of cash — Lincolns, Jeffersons and, well, in the best of times, Benjamins — all the presidents heads-up and facing camera right. Pat has labeled me her “best pupil.” (Aw! I bet she says that to everyone!) Take my word for it, once you acquire a tidy little OCD habit like that one, there’s no turning back.

The next time Pat mentored me occurred when I decided to sluice away some of my earnings into an old savings account.

I faced Pat across the bank’s high counter and outlined my bold new plan. I handed over some cash and checks along with a deposit slip. She twiddled her keyboard, waited a moment, then gaped at her computer screen.

“You haven’t made a deposit since 1999!”

Everyone in the bank queue got a good guffaw out of that one.

On another occasion, when I tried to cash a check for $80, Pat switched on a bright light just as detectives do in interrogation rooms. She said, “Are you sure? You might spend it faster than you would if you safely deposited it.”

Well, I cashed it anyway and Pat was right! A lunch at Linda Jean’s here, a lipstick there, a roll of Airborne fizzy vitamins, and within hours it was gone. See what I mean about darn-tootin’ sound financial advice?

So the other day I received a payment in the mail for $125. My friendly bank is conveniently located two doors down from the post office and, without fear of being waylaid by fresh apple fritters at Rita’s café (closed until early April), I sauntered into the bank to deposit the check with the bulk of my millions. At the last minute I decided to simply cash the thing, and it had nothing to do with the fact that Ms. Pat happened not to be on duty that day. I passed it over to the very nice Ms. Mary and e xplained that Pat would oppose the conversion to cash. “But, Mary, I would assure her that I intend to spend it wisely and well.”

Mary smiled, counted out six twenties and a five, and said she’d be sure to pass along the message to my personal banker.

So . . . a gray fleece cap from the Edgartown thrift shop here, a prescription from Conroy’s there, lunch at the Anchor’s in Edgartown to which I lavishly treated my friends Gwyn and Connie for a grand total of $6, a Tuesday New York Times that now costs $2.50, $2 for a bus ride because so far I’ve been too cheap to buy my annual pass and, well, it adds up, but some cash remains. Pat would be proud.

By the way, I wrote a few columns back about Connie McAllister and her spirit knocking on my door and drawing me to her house early in the morning where an ambulance waited outside — all kind of mystical and Clarence-the-Angel-ish from It’s A Wonderful Life. Well, Connie remembers nothing of that (except for spotting me and Huxley watching her carried out on the gurney). She has a naturally skeptical frame of mind, but she told me recently: “The next time my spirit comes knocking for you and leads you to my house, could you please pick up a few things for me in town?”

To fans of mystery writer Judith Campbell, the third in her series of Olympia Brown whodunits, A Despicable Mission (Mainly Murder Press, $16.95), is now out in Island stores. Her debut novel, A Deadly Mission, was described in this paper as a Nancy Drew–style compelling read for grownups. Fans will know that Reverend Campbell’s protagonist is a minister herself, with an academic job in Cambridge, a haunted farmstead outside of Boston (seriously haunted — the lady ghost is one of the key characters), and an English boyfriend, Frederick, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Judy’s charmer of a Brit husband, Chris Stokes. (Chris now gets ribbed in town for being Frederick’s doppelganger.) In this third novel, Rev. Olympia spends the summer preaching sermons and solving murders on the Vineyard.

Judy holds court at the Oak Bluffs Library on Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. for a staged reading of her first pages (featuring Father Rob Hensley of Grace Church and Anna Marie D’Addarie), a discussion about mystery writing and a platter of the author/baker’s special brownies. A percentage of the profits of book sales go to local animal rescue leagues,

And back up a day if you’ve got a kid who loves the stuffed animal sleep-overs: March 9 marks the 4 p.m. deadline to bring in one’s favorite cloth pet for the overnight stay that children’s librarian Sondra Murphy photographs as the critters indulge in goofy antics (all strictly G-rated) and posts on Facebook for the kids to follow at home throughout the evening.

One last bulletin: Featherstone Center for the Arts will present an exciting roster of classes and shows in March, so visit featherstoneart.org to get your creative juices flowing.