Last week’s potluck at the community center was well-attended and the food was delicious, as usual. Annie Heywood brought a homemade lemon meringue pie. After dinner was over, Chappy’s recorder group — Hatsy Potter, Liz Villard and Claire Thacher — had a practice session while a few others sat around the table talking. We got onto the subject of the federal census that Annie helped take back in 2000. She and Larry Riga were hired to canvas Chappaquiddick.

Annie remembers trying to catch people at home, some of whom always seemed to be leaving as she arrived, some who didn’t want to be recorded as residing at a certain house, and other people who specially flew in from the Caribbean to be recorded as living at a particular house. When she decided to sail over to take the census at Cape Pogue, she had to try to figure out how to bill for her miles. That was an ill-fated trip, though, as the boat capsized and she lost her camera and all her papers on the way over.

Peter Wells entertained us with the joke about the census worker who had to go to a remote cabin in the mountains of Tennessee to record an old woman living there. The worker rented a Jeep and drove until he couldn’t drive anymore. Then he borrowed a horse and rode until the horse couldn’t makes its way, and then he hiked up the mountain until he finally came to the old woman’s cabin. He knocked and when the old woman came to the door, he explained who he was and said he was there to find out how many people live in the United States. The old woman said, “Lawdy me, you have come to the wrong place! I have no idea how many people live there.”

Peter also told a story that made Roger Becker really laugh. Peter and his surveying partner used to ride their bikes to the job. Once when it started raining hard as they were riding back from Oak Bluffs, they stopped to take cover under the bridge over the channel from Sengekontacket Pond. When the rain stopped and they rode home to Edgartown, his partner’s wife asked them why their clothes were still dry. His partner said they’d sat out the storm under the big bridge. Most people who’ve lived here awhile call the two bridges along State Beach the big bridge and the little bridge — the size relative to each other. His partner’s wife, who came from western Massachusetts, said, “If you call that a big bridge, you better get off-Island more often.”    

One more thing from Peter: He is on a big campaign to get people to turn off their headlights while waiting in the ferry lines. He’s got highly visible signs propped up on both sides mentioning this. The bright lights make navigating into the slip at night extremely difficult. But the captains would like people to leave on their parking lights on the Chappy side at night so that they know a car is there waiting. 

The next community center potluck will be on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. Pat Rose and John Ortman will be hosting, and at 7:30 p.m. Mary Spencer will show the French film Amelie. According to Mary, this is a funny, upbeat film about a naive young girl (played by Audrey Tautou) who lives alone and works in a cafe. When she finds a trove of toys hidden in her apartment for forty years, she is inspired to repatriate the items, an impulse of generosity that sparks more benevolent acts. Mary says, “The film is a celebration of life that reminds us of the small wonders everywhere around us, if only we paused to look.”

Kappi Getsinger and Sally Nicholas are back from traveling in Viet Nam. They went with a group for two weeks starting in Hanoi and working their way down to Saigon. Highlights were an overnight boat in Ha Long Bay and a boat trip on the Mekong River where they visited the floating markets. Sally was impressed by the friendliness of the Vietnam people, and says, “They are very hard-working and optimistic about their future.”

Kevin Keady is playing music at The Newes From America along with Mike Tinus on upright bass and Nate Davis on mandolin the next two Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. This is a good time to catch up with what Kevin’s been working on since he’s started recording his new songs for another CD due out in June.

 In last week’s column, I mentioned that Bob Fynbo is running for selectman. This is true but some of the other information I gave wasn’t entirely accurate so I’ll try again: his telephone number is 508-627-7363 and his Web site is