I am so pleased to receive so many lovely holiday cards and family news from my friends. You know many of them.

Just to update you, Eileen Whiting, our former town treasurer, wrote from Florida that she is well and delighted to have Marjorie Convery in the neighborhood now. I can picture them playing golf while we shovel snow.

One of the fascinating letters I received was from Jim and Carol Osborn, whose son Chris is such a good friend of my Chris. As you recall, Chris married Lisa a few years back. Of course they wanted the big church wedding so they planned it for last summer when family and friends could join them in Norway, which is Lisa’s home and where the couple lives. John and Berit Widenhofer, Lisa’s parents, extended their wonderful hospitality to the Osborn family. The Widenhofers live in Ski, just outside of Oslo. Friends and relatives from Great Britain and Sweden also arrived for the festivities. Not only did the Osborns and family matriarch Hilda Backus enjoy a beautiful ceremony and day, but they also fit in a two-hour boat tour of the Oslo Fjord and a sightseeing trip to Sweden. The wedding picture Carol included of Chris and Lisa on their special day is stunning. May they live happily ever after.

Peter Sanborn wrote from Florida. He has a gift for expressing himself that surely made him one of our most beloved ministers when he worked on Island for so many years. He included updates on his daughter Heather, who is recovering from cancer, his irrepressible grandchildren, and a terrific biography of his Dad, Arthayer, who died in November. I know Peter never misses an issue of this paper. So let’s extend our love and appreciation to him for 2008 and always. If you need Peter’s address, give me a call.

Report from Iraq: It snowed in Baghdad last week. I saw it on the news, little Iraqi kids being carried by their parents in the swirling flakes, extending hands and tongues to feel and taste what is a rarity in Iraq. It didn’t stick and it wasn’t much, but what a delightful change from the usual news. The next time my son managed to call me I asked him about it. He said everyone on base was thrilled. Apparently there was just enough slush for some of the marines to make snowballs and have a brief encounter. Now, that’s how we should fight all wars: with snowballs.

I’m not the only person stunned by the sudden death of big-hearted big guy Ehrick Carragan. What a man! I heard the news too late to attend his service, but this is someone we can never forget. I’ll miss his smile at the post office, Cumberland Farms, and everywhere we used to run into each other. The memory of that smile and his many kindnesses is burned on my brain.

I think we are getting through this winter very well — it is certainly speeding along. But if you find early darkness and cold nights a drag, try joining us at the American Legion Hall on Monday nights at 7:30 for bingo. Everyone is welcome and it’s a lot of fun.

In other American Legion news, we send taps out for the fabulous Herbert Searle, who died Dec. 12. And our sincere thanks to Matt Tobin who donated a red, white, and blue wreath in memory of Rod Backus. We invite you all to stop by and see it.

Nothing can stop the Edgartown library, still running from its temporary quarters in the Edgartown town hall. Felicia Cheney and Nis Kildegaarde are anxious to offer another session of English Conversation, led by yours truly. This free series begins next Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. I’m looking forward to getting my students back and hoping to meet new ones. We will run for eight Tuesdays at that time from the town hall. I observe the school vacation schedule: we’ll pause the last week in February and pick up again in March. Please tell anyone who needs to learn English. Come around to the back door of town hall if the front is locked.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society offers Kurosawa, a documentary, tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

Film society program director Richard Paradise is certainly optimistic: he sent me their newsletter with the date Feb. 24 as the third annual Oscar celebration and gala. What are we going to do without the writers? Will it become as un-glam as the Golden Globes? Richard, my suggestion is if we don’t have writers by then, make it writers’ karaoke night. We’ll show up at your party with our own scripts to describe our favorite movies and votes, and provide our own silly commentaries on the red-carpet fashion victims. What do you think?

Belated birthday balloons go out to my young friend, Anthony Ferreira Coelho, who turned one on Jan. 13.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Anthony Cardoza today, who shares it with Ronnie Daw as she turns 92. Tomorrow is a party for the Chamber of Commerce’s Nancy Gardella (and no, that’s not I), Ruth Major, Mandy King Rice, and Elise Ryan’s mom, Elizabeth Hume Hall, who celebrates 97 years on the planet. Jan. 20 belongs to three special ladies: Patricia Neal, Kim Montanile, and Mary-Beth Priore. Jan. 21 is a party for Carol Whitmarsh, Noah Casner, Cameron Moore, Annie McEvoy, Ned Hehre, and Derek and Travis Fennell. Jan. 22 is shared by Donna Bouchard and Joy Stuart Bergstrom. Jan. 23 is claimed by Lisa Jannace Meade. And on Jan. 24, Katie Campbell, Yesmin Silva, and Eva Balbino Dias take the cake. Many happy returns.