Well, throw a little salt over your left shoulder before reading the column for good luck. Today is the first Friday the 13th of this year. The weekend weather was a mixed bag and with a couple of cool mornings. The ducks and geese have begun their trek southward, and for years that has included a brief rest stop in the Mill Pond to relax and refresh. The end of the shoulder season of transit service will cease on Oct. 14 and then we begin the winter bus schedule. The fall foliage could be spectacular as the recent storms passed us by, with only heavy surf as their calling card. The Bass Derby is in full swing and the fish appear to be plentiful. Joyce Bowker, director of the Council on Aging, reports that the “fresh fish schedule” at Howes House will be on Thursdays all during the derby. Please call 508-693-2896 after 10 a.m. that day and the staff will know the amount of fish that will be distributed to the senior citizens in the up-Island towns.

At this time of year Joe Howes would remind people of an old saying that has proved to be quite true over the years. “You can tell what the coming winter will be like by how large the area of black is on the first white caterpillar you see this fall.”

Anna Alley of State Road went up to East Taunton last week to visit her daughter, Nicole, her husband, Arsen, and take care of our grandson Robbie. They then drove to New York city for her birthday weekend. They stayed at her uncle Donnie’s apartment. Anna returned home Monday night.

While Deborah and Sarah Mayhew were in Maine last weekend visiting Todd Follansbee’s family, Verna Lacey came from Weston to keep their mom Shirley company.

Linda Baughman of Philadelphia arrived last week for her annual fall visit with Phyllis Meras of Music street. Linda enjoys her fall visits each year and watches over Phyllis’s livestock.

Old friend Hilda Jason passed away last weekend. Our sincere condolences to her sons Lenny and Dennis and their families.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society will hold its 15th Annual Harvest Festival the weekend of Oct. 4 and 5. George Hartman of Panhandle Road reports that the 26th Annual Antique Engine Show will be held on the hall grounds on Oct. 5. The Harvest Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 5 and promises to be an all day fun event. The highlight for many is the community potluck supper from 6 to 11 p.m. that night. Bring a dish for six, place settings, beverages — you know the drill. Music by the Flying Elbows will be provided. On the festival’s opening night at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, there will be storytelling and a conversation with Island elders. Everyone is invited, so mark this date on your calendar today!

The history channel gives us this tidbit. On this day in 1813, the U.S. got its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, N.Y., who supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Wilson stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government. In the late 1860s and 70s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam a white beard and the stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today. Perhaps the most famous image of Uncle Sam was created by artist James Flagg in his version; he wears a tall top hat and blue jacket and is looking straight ahead at the viewer. During World War I, this portrait of Uncle Sam with the words “I Want You For The U.S. Army” was used as a recruiting poster. The image, which became immensely popular, was first used on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly in July 1916 with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?”

Happy birthday to Katherine Hough and Tom Johnson today, Ann Richards, Betsy Fisher and Kent Medowski tomorrow, Amy Alberice, Brendan Karalekas, Winn Davis, Charlie Kernick and Gregory Pachico on Sunday, Celine Segal, Jason Kurth and Jay Gardner on Monday, Sandra Bernat, Mary Dacey and Scott Britney on Tuesday, Eleanor Stanwood, Sara Alwardt and Justin Lucas on Wednesday, Marilyn Hollinshead, Tony Rezendes, Nancy Natchbars and Allan McDowell on Thursday.

Remember that tomorrow is Tivoli Day in Oak Bluffs. Well, that is all of the social news for this week’s edition. If you have any news please call or e-mail me. Have a great week.