I only knew Art Flathers for five years so I’m sure the rest of you can fill in many things that I can’t. But what a man! Art died last week. His service is tomorrow, Saturday, April 19, at 2 p.m. at the Federated Church in Edgartown. I met him when he enticed me into joining the American Red Cross chapter on the Vineyard. For years before that I had admired his thoughtful and well-researched letters to the editor of both of our Island newspapers. I did not always agree with what he had to say, but I appreciated the care and forethought that went into each of his missives. I know he was a devoted family man, husband and father. I know he was a committed Rotarian. No doubt, there’s much I did not know about this great citizen. Our condolences to his wife Kaye, his children, family, and friends.

My son is safely out of Iraq, but that doesn’t mean I do not worry about our other sons and daughters over there and in Afghanistan. By the first week in May, Cumberland Farms will have a box out for your donations. A partial list of what our troops need is: foot powder, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes, lotion, hand sanitizer, dental floss, microwave popcorn, soup, gum, granola bars, disposable cameras, dominoes and toilet paper. The box at Cumberland Farms, or our veterans agent, Jo Ann Murphy, will have a more complete list. Visit for a more detailed list. That being said, I still think it’s a crime that our government, which sent these kids there into battle, cannot provide these items, and pay for the postage. May they all come home safely like Chris Clark did.

I didn’t write a column last week, but I wish to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Ben Viera.

Any of you who attend the farmers’ market in West Tisbury in summer know of the legendary egg rolls of our Vietnamese friend and chef, Thi Khen Than. Our Vineyard Haven library is offering a free cooking class with her next Wednesday, April 23, at 6 p.m. The class is free but you must register with Betty Burton at 508-696-4211, extension 16. Come learn the chef’s secrets and replicate them in your kitchens.

The children’s programs at the library will continue during vacation week and add a special movie and program, with popcorn, on Wednesday, April 23, at 1 p.m. The movie, about a magical toy shop, is suitable for ages four and up.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Laurie Jennings, Lynne Whiting, Alexander Schultz, and Nate Lee today. Tomorrow is a party for Bob Tankard, Mary Marshall, Eleanor Hebert, and Carter Lee. April 20 is B.J. Kennedy’s Airplane Day. April 21 honors John Custer and Judy Nichols. April 22 is the 30th milestone for Sarah Ross Gifford, and it’s also special for Mary Dias and Andy and Doug Kaufman. April 23 belongs to Ferd Beaulieu and Elizabeth Clark. And on April 24 Alexis Stoudemire, Ann Wells and Jane Sherman take the cake. Many happy returns.