Back from Iraq! Corporal Chris Clark arrived at Camp Pendleton safe and sound last week after his tour of duty in Iraq. I have spoken to him on the phone. Next week he flies to Rockford, Ill., to see his family. Welcome home, Chris, and thanks for your service.

I’m back from a wonderful week in Florida. Special thanks to our friends David and Myra Clancy of Fort Lauderdale who put us up and put up with us. I haven’t been to Florida in fifteen years. I went to Key West for the first time in my life. We went on a swamp ride in Everglades Park, and this time I didn’t get lost. I saw alligators, snakes, turtles, exotic birds, and numerous fish. In Key West we passed Hemingway’s house and noted the six-toed cats and roosters walking the streets like they own them — I guess they do. The roosters travel in packs like our turkeys do here.

Sunset in Mallory Square was beautiful and very interesting — all the street performers were out. A real treat for me is always live music in every bar. We did the Duval Crawl. My business cards were left in Rick’s, Lorelei’s, Snappers, Sloppy Joe’s, and Mutineers. I had alligator for an appetizer one night, and more fish than I ever dreamed was available. Myra and Dave put on a steak cookout the last night of our stay and that was the only red meat I ate all week. Need I say the weather was perfect? Same time, next year?

I returned home to a nice package from my seasonal neighbor, Jim Hart, who winters in Royal Palm Beach. Jim has written a column for the Condo News for ten years and he sent me some samples. The writing is witty and informative, just like Jim. He and Trude are so involved with their community. There was a lovely front page photograph of them attending the 8th Air Force Historical Society reunion in Cocoa Beach. Jim and Trude promise to clink glasses with me when they return to Leonard Circle this summer.

Our Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network, a professional organization that assists with networking and continuing business education, will hold a breakfast meeting from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the Baylies Room of the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. This group works hard to promote economic development on the Vineyard. You may register at P.O. Box 4595, Vineyard Haven MA 02568. For more information, call 508-696-6344. Admission is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Walk-ins will be admitted that day for $30. I’ll see you there.

Now that you’re all back from winter break, you might want to take the kiddies to hear Jennifer McHugh spin stories and sing songs. Infants to 2-year-olds will be entertained on Tuesday, March 11, at 10 a.m. in the children’s room of the Vineyard Haven library. Toddlers ages 3 to 5 get the show at 11 a.m. Our library never lacks for activities for all ages. I was so sorry to have missed Dr. Fred Hotchkiss’s lecture on starfish last Tuesday night.

Anniversary bouquets go out to Stuart and Deanna Bangs on March 12.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Jacob Murphy, Dick Cayer, Jesse John Seward and Louis Giordano today. March 9 is shared by Ashley Shine and Naomi Paulson. March 12 shines brightly for Kane Joseph Araujo and James Taylor. And on March 13, Jeff Corr and Mary Ann Donnelly take the cake. Many happy returns.