Most of us are still recovering after a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner yesterday that was shared with family and friends. Today is the traditional start of the Christmas season and considered by retail merchants the busiest shopping day of the year. Did you know that there are just 29 shopping days remaining before Christmas? My thanks to Colleen Morris for writing the column in my absence.

Anna and I returned from a 14-day motor trip to visit old friends Walter and Lisa Smith in Augusta, Ga. We had a wonderful time, the weather was unusually warm, and we visited with Walter’s son, Bruce, his wife, Angie, and their children. We took in the sights of historic Augusta. We had not been there for 20 years. Walter, aka the Furniture Doctor, has developeda booming business refinishing wooden antiques of all types. It is the largest family-owned business in the state and perhaps in the southeast. We also visited with Sandra Polleysand her husband, Bob Bunch, in Blooming Grove, Pa. We enjoyed dining with them at Peter’s Europa House in Shohola. The following day, Sandra showed us some places around the Delaware Water Gap.We enjoyed breakfast at the Water WheelCafé in Milford. We also visited Luna Park, a private residence. The owner uses his house and grounds as a canvas, sculpture and mosaic garden and opens it to the public. Later that afternoon, Anna andI headed f arther south along the Delaware River to New Hope, Pa., to visit Ava and Naomi Plakins, who summer on Middle Road. We had a superbdinner, great conversation, and were given a tour of the old canals in town. After lunch it was off to Washington, D.C. We visited the World War II and Franklin D. Roos evelt memorials on a bright sunnyday andthen it was off to Georgia. On the way back we lunched with Anna’s friends Sue Jansen and Dr. and Mrs. Campbell Howard. There were other people I would have loved to call on, including Colleen Morris, who spent the weekend in D.C. but just did not have the timein theschedule. 

Colleen and her family always celebrate an early Thanksgiving the weekend before the holiday. At her brother Charlie’s house guests included her sister and brother, Carol and Jody from New York, her brother Craig from Atlanta, her Aunt Bobbie from Silver Spring, Md., her Aunt Dorothy from D.C. and her Aunt Jackie from Harrisburg, Pa.

It seems this month has slipped away in a blink of the eye. When traveling the roads these days, especially at night, be extra careful as you are apt to see more deer than cars. Also remember the shotgun season for deer starts on Monday and will last for two weeks, so wear bright-colored clothing if you walk in or near the woods.

The Thanksgiving holiday found quite a few families gathering in town and a fair number of us going off-Island. Boat and air traffic was busier than normal in both directions. All town buildings and the school will be closed today for a long weekend.

Old friend Jane Konicki up in Webster reports that she has purchased all her gifts, wrapped them and will avoid Black Friday. What’s more, she was having her husband Ed will put up her tree after their turkey dinner. Our friend and summer resident Judy Hall, out in Oklahoma City, will have her husband, Malcolm, put up their tree on Dec. 1, a family tradition. They expected to entertain 40 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike Jane, Judy has not completed her shopping. She reported that there are great bargains and sales at Shepplers, and she persuaded Malcolm to take her out to lunch at Cattleman’s Café on Monday.

Our friend Linda Baughman was in Grand Rapids, Mich., with family for Thanksgiving.

Manuel Estrella, fire chief, reports that the Firemen’s Civic Association will be distributing 25 food baskets to the elderly in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cecilia McCarthy and Alan Northcott, of Hops Farm Road, were to celebrate Thanksgiving with their children, Adam and Lauren Petkus. Cecilia was hosting six other guests and Ken Rusczyk of Oak Bluffs. He reported that Alan was not satisfied with his usual turduckin; this yearthe main course will be different. Not unlike a Russian matryoshka doll, that places one doll inside another, Alan squeezes the followingbirds together: goose, duck,chicken, Cornish game hen and lastly a quail, all in the turkey. Cecilia r eported that after watching the Macy’s parade on television and the Patriots football game they would sit at the table and enjoy the wonderfuldinner. To bookend the feast,Ken preparedfresh Lagoon scallops wrapped in bacon and Jim Pringle brought the pies.

Richard Knabel, of Panhandle Road, along with Bob and Maggie Schwartz, of Music street, looked forward to a gathering of family, friends and neighbors for Thanksgiving dinner at his home.

Dan and Nancy Cabot, of Middle Road, had plans to serve 25 guests for Thanksgiving dinner. Annie, Jackson, and Chilton and Alexandra Davies came from Concord, N.H., Ray, Tyler, and Austin Cabot, from Hightstown,N.J. Their son Ben, his wife Nicole and daughter Violet and son Reed joined them. Gaston and Linda Vadasz, Nicole’s parents from Hungary, came to the special day. They also served several friends from on-and off-Island. Dan reports that they had a wonderful time. 

Richard and Ina Andre and son Nicolas, of Old County Road, celebrated Thanksgiving at their home after Richard collected the eggs at his farm. His brother Keith and wife Patty and their children Michael and Kaitlyn of Long Island, N.Y. came down for Thanksgiving and the holiday weekend.

Deborah Silliman Wass’ mother, Anna Jonsdottir Krason, is visiting her daughter and son in law Jeff Wass for Thanksgiving week. Anna originally hails from Reykjavík, Iceland, but lives outside of Washington D.C. She is practically part of the Vineyard now and will be spending a week here.

Next Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, they will hold their annual appraisal day. Experts from Skinner Inc. will evaluate your treasured items. Reservations are required so call 508-627-4441 today.

Colleen Morris, over at the library, who is always busy arranging programs for the public has two more for this coming week. Don’t forget the artist reception for Domingo Pagan on Sunday at 3 p.m. and Chris Wiley, of Vineyard Gardens, will be on hand for a holly lecture on Thursday at 5 p.m.

Tara Whiting, town clerk, reports that the town hall and other government buildings will be closed today. But she reports that she will have the 2011 hunting licenses and stamps available in her office from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30p.m. 

Andrea Rogers reports that Thanksgiving weekend wouldn’t be the same without the shopping extravaganza of the Vineyard Artisans Festivals at the Agricultural Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lots of holiday items, hayrides and free admissionA $2 parking fee is chargedfor their Scholarship Fund for the Arts.

The African Artists’ Community Development Project will have some wonderful items for sale at the Maker’s Faire today at 10 a.m. at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, including Zambezi Dolls handmade by mothers of disabled children at the Mama Bakhita Center for the Disabled in Livingstone, Zambia who directly receive the profits. Everyone loves these one-of-a-kind dolls. Do some guilt-free holiday shopping!

Marian Irving, of Old County Road, reports that the First Congregational Church will hold their annual Christmas Faire on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Preparations are underway. Volunteers are gathering supplies for their fresh wreath workshops, calls are being made for the food table, and the luncheon menu is inplace. Vicky Bartels and Ruth Schaffner are cochairing the event. For more information, call the church office at 508-693-2842.

Peggy Stone, of the park committee, reports that the next adult yoga session begins on Tuesday. Please call her office to register at 508-696-0147. Also the Saturday recreation program begins Saturday, Dec. 4 at the school: Art 9 to 10:30 a.m.; theatre 10:30 a.m. to noon; and sports 9 a.m. to12. Registration forms were sent home with the students.

Mary Sage Napolitan, of Island Farms Road, is home on break from her studies at the University of Vermont. She enjoyed Thanksgiving with her family.

“On Nov. 22, 1945 two of the three Woollcott sisters, Barbara and Polly, of Catonsville, Md. carried out their promise to come back to town for Thanksgiving. They arrived that night a little later than they would like because of boat schedule problems. They were the guests of Wilfred Huntington and his mother at her Edgartown Road home until Sunday night. This was their first off-season visit and they thoroughly enjoyed it and vow to return again.”

Happy birthday to Owen White and John Adams today; Eleanor Waldron, Arsen Hambardzumian, Micheline Sonia, Cindy Barrett and Erik Vanlandingham tomorrow; Valerie Becker, Gary Montrowl and Shannon Carbon on Sunday; John Becker, Mary Gould, Emily Wetherall, Tara Whiting and Gene Bergeron on Monday; Phillipa Monka on Tuesday; Wendi Farmer, Christina Diaz, Mark Ellis,Greg Barron and Lynda Asbridge on Wednesday; Todd Goodell, Ed Konicki, Martha Schmidt, Beth Vages, Michael Gately and Tracey Smith on Thursday. Belated birthday wishes to Peter Ochs and Noreen Flanders.

Well, that is all of the news for this week’s social column. If you have any news please call or e-mail me. Have a great week.