Chilmark has been enjoying the January thaw or whatever is causing the warm-up. Grass is still green in yards and fields and the willows are already looking yellow at the tops. We have been told officially that this past year was the warmest ever so now what happens? We have to wait and see...and there are snowdrops blooming in West Tisbury as I write.

The dock repair and replacement work goes on in Menemsha. The workmen have had to contend with some cold days with lots of wind. The floating dock parts are due to be delivered today and the weather is moderate with no wind. Let’s hope it remains so.

The Chilmark Library continues to host the Friday night movies at 7 p.m. On Jan. 18 the movie will be To Kill a Mockingbird. All are welcome at no charge. The Wednesday program will be a daytime one this month. Dr. Wendy Chabot will present a workshop series on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the library telling us about the benefits of meditation for health. Vineyard Mind-Body Medicine and the Friends of the Chilmark Library are co-sponsors of the series. All are welcome at no charge.

The library will be closed all day on Jan. 17 as the staff travels to the mainland for training on the new program, Clams.

The Chilmark Democrats are gearing up for the on-going administration. They will host a viewing of the inauguration on Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. at the Chilmark library. All are welcome to come and watch on the big TV. That evening, Jan. 21, the Democrats will host an inaugural Ball at the Community Center with music for dancing by Johnny Hoy. Come out and enjoy the party with refreshments offered. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, please call Warren Doty or Zee Gamson.

We have more notes on Henry Look’s white horse. I have now learned that the horse was female, named Nellie. Because of one of the unique aspects of life in Chilmark, Nellie made a couple of trips across town every spring and fall taking time out from her farming chores to assist the fishermen in setting their annual fish traps off Menemsha beach. Henry and Nellie would tow the long stakes used for creating the traps down to the water for the fishermen. I am always intrigued by the ways that fishing and farming chores crossed lines and were often part of the same workday for many Chilmarkers. One such resident remembers children calling out a ditty as Nellie passed by on the Crossroad and down D.H.’s Hill, “Nellie, Nellie, has a pin in her belly.” No explanation for the rhyme has been given.

January 18 will mark the 129th anniversary of the sinking of the City of Columbus. The boat went down in a winter storm off Gay Head and many were lost to the sea and the cold. Local residents of Gay Head and Chilmark took lifeboats out from the base of the Gay Head Cliffs. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum mounted a display of artifacts and history recently and the subject still inspires stories from Islanders, some who cherish artifacts or who pass along family stories of rescue and hardship.