On Friday, Dec. 22, 1978 literary genius Dorothy West wrote: “Now our town glows with Christmas, the lampposts along Lake Anthony are beautifully garlanded, the main street arched with rows of colored lights, and in the center of the mall a shining tree, the shops bedecked, too . . . In the park the bandstand beckons the eye with its blazing blues and greens and reds entwined and enshrined, and the great sea weaving along the shore giving majesty to the setting.”

Thanks to the Friends of Oak Bluffs and Crossland Landscaping, holiday Oak Bluffs is even prettier and there’s no doubt that ‘tis the season. My favorite decoration is the tree on the raft on Sunset Lake — I cherish its whimsy. I long for the days when paddle boats could be rented there, and fondly remember the rafts at the Inkwell and Pay Beach. The combination of those images at the most wonderful time of the year is delightful.

‘Twas the Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore was published on Dec. 23, 1823, around the time the Campgrounds’ Jeremiah Pease was discovering Methodism as his choice of religious expression. With visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I thought to check the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs Cookbook for a recipe it turned out not to have. I made the mistake of googling sugar plums to find that it was known as dragee or comfit, a kind of hard candy absent of fruit. For those without digital devices or inclination, here’s a recipe from the Food Network’s Alton Brown:

Sugar Plums

6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted

4 ounces dried plums

4 ounces dried apricots

4 ounces dried figs

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 cup honey

1 cup coarse sugar

Put the almonds, plums, apricots and figs into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 20 to 25 times, or until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a ball. Combine the powdered sugar, seeds, cardamom and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the nut and fruit mixture and the honey and mix until well combined. Scoop the mixture into 1/4 ounce portions and roll into balls. If serving immediately, roll in the coarse sugar and serve. If not, put the balls on a cooling rack and leave uncovered until ready to serve. Roll in the coarse sugar prior to serving. The sugar plums may be stored on a cooling rack for up to a week. After a week, store in an airtight container for up to a month.

It is with the same delight of opening presents in Christmas’ past that each week I open the Vineyard Gazette to read my column to see how my cool editor Vanessa Czarnecki has improved it. Last week, however, the value of local media to the community was brought home as I was stunned to see the obituaries of Bob Weiss and Joe Gonsalves. I’ve known Joe Gonsalves since he’d come by our house to visit a girlfriend, my babysitter, over 50 years ago. But it wasn’t until last week that I found out he was my neighbor and friend Margaret Oliveira’s dad. The next day I learned of the death of Johnny Seaview (we called him John Wayne), the little guy with the big voice and hat who stopped by our porch and enchanted us with a “howdy Pilgrims” on his way to work. I fished with Bob Weiss for years. He taught my daughters and grandson and their friends how to fish, but it wasn’t until last week that I found he was born in Rockville Centre — the same town I grew up in during the winter. Tight lines, Captain Weiss, and condolences to the friends and families of Joe and Johnny.

A Winter Solstice Bonfire is at Featherstone at 5 p.m. this evening with the drumming of a one world chant and music by Biggie Shorty. One love.

There is a Community Open Stage at Alex’s Place at the YMCA at 8 p.m. for music, dance, poetry and comedy ­— come one, come all!

“He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Never mind the partridge or even the tree; what I want this Christmas is for the Strand to have at least the “T”.

Keep your foot on a rock.