During the last few weeks, North Water and Daggett streets have been turned into a construction site as the electric and telephone lines are being buried underground. The ferry line has moved back and forth between Daggett street and Dock street, depending on where they’re digging that day, so it’s been a challenge to know which route to come down to the ferry.

By the middle of last week, though, Peter Wells had taken things in hand and made a sign saying “Ferry” which was propped up at the corner of Pease’s Point Way and Main street, pointing which way to get to the waiting line. He figured people wouldn’t like it if they had to go back and drive around a different way to reach the ferry — and meanwhile someone might get ahead of them in line. And besides, as he said, he likes to see the word “Ferry” on a sign.

Peter seems to have time on his hands these days, and a high tolerance for cold weather. Those freezing days last week, he spent most of the day helping direct cars driving on and off the ferry so they wouldn’t end up in any of the holes and trenches the contractors were digging next to the Old Sculpin Gallery. Peter was on the job again this week as well, and his reward was some spring-like days that made you glad to be outside.

Lately the waiting line has been up on Simpson’s Lane, with Daggett street one way — in both directions. A police officer stays at the top of the street to keep us from running into each other, and to send vehicles down three at a time to the ferry. The Dock street end of the underground line will go as far as the pole next to the big anchors at the edge of Memorial Wharf parking lot, where the Chappy underwater cable starts. Thanks to Peter for looking out for our safety and convenience.      

While most people were counting down the new year, Liz Villard and her daughter Kate were standing on the street in South Boston watching the horrible fire on Emerson street that left a six-story building totally gutted. Kate’s condo is directly behind the destroyed structure so hers was one of six houses that were evacuated. For 12 hours, there was a continual possibility that the heat of the fire would set off the nearby buildings, or the weakened brick structure would collapse under the weigh of the water being poured into it. According to Liz, the Boston firemen did an incredible job of dealing with the situation, and Kate’s condo came through with no damage. Liz says, “It was a very frightening if ultimately Happy New Year.”

Liz also sent a report from closer to home — a kid head count from her observations as deck hand for the ferry this winter: four high school students, 10 elementary and junior high students, one Vineyard Haven eighth grader, one charter school student, and six preschoolers. Liz’s count from two years ago was: eight high school, 12 elementary and junior high, three charter school, and at least six preschoolers.

The community center will start off the new year with a potluck and film on Wednesday, Jan. 16, hosted by Daryl and Dick Knight. Appetizers will be served at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 — more promptly than usual so that those who want to stay for the movie can eat dessert as they watch Paris Je T’aime, which will roll at 7 p.m. If you’re inspired, bring a French dish for potluck — otherwise, the usual fare is fine. Or come after dinner just for the film.

Mary Spencer, organizer and host of the community center’s summer foreign film series, chose Paris Je T’aime, a collection of 20 short stories that bring the various parts of Paris to life. Mary says, “Some are funny, some sad, many are about love – all are exceptional.”

I received an e-mail from Varian Cassat, from her Vineyard Haven apartment which, she says, has a “killer water view.” She was remembering the kindness of Peggy Jones when Varian and her husband David retired to Chappy in 1992, to the land they bought in 1970.

Peggy — who died this past December — promptly organized a party for them, and then when David became ill, she made sure there was food in their fridge, and she and Curry visited them regularly. Living in Vineyard Haven now, Varian says, “How I miss that sense of oneness!” Even though she likes most aspects of apartment living, she says, “I also miss the sense of living on an island off another island.”