Ruby Poe Southard was born Monday evening, Dec. 16. She is certainly a keeper, weighing in at 7 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. Her parents Zachariah Southard and Jessica Park live near Atlanta, Ga. She is the third grandchild for Sharlee and Jack Livingston. Her Chappy family includes her cousins Johnny and Adeline Chandler and their parents Abigail and Curtis, as well as her uncle Jared Livingston.

Jared sang in several performances over the weekend with the Minnesingers. He was joined by graduate Caleb Enos for the Halleluiah chorus of the Messiah at the Whaling Church on Friday night. Traditionally former Minnesingers from years past join the current choir members at the close of the program. I attribute the successful rendering of this difficult work to Jared and Caleb.

The Chappy ferry captain and deckhand appreciation dinner was well attended. Of all of the potlucks held at the Chappy Community Center, this one draws the biggest crowd. Each ferry captain was introduced to applause. You don’t often have the chance to talk to a ferry captain for more than a minute. From what I saw, everyone had plenty to talk about. Deckhands were scarce as they all had previous extra-curricular commitments. Liz Villard presented her slide show of ferry personalities and subjects. People often wonder who drives the ferry when the entire Chappy ferry company is needed elsewhere. That responsibility is filled by Everett Whorton, a seasonal driver and the willing odd man out for these occasions.

The Chappy Holiday Tea is on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 3 and 5 p.m. Join us for tea, hot chocolate and lots of goodies. Our recently washed ashore Chappaquiddicker Rose Kaszuba will be providing the treats. I’ve tasted some of her creations. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this tea party. Everyone is welcome.

Be sure to include in your holiday plans attending the potluck Christmas Eve dinner at the CCC starting at 6 p.m. Lynn Martinka is coordinating the food. Call her at 508-627-8222 if you know what you want to bring or need a suggestion. We need people to bring vegetable dishes, salads, rolls, bread and appetizers. I hope that someone brings my favorite holiday dish of candied yams with about an inch of melted marshmallows on top. Desserts are also needed but we usually overdo that anyway. This dinner is a golden opportunity to get a square meal during the hectic holidays. You will get home in plenty of time to finish wrapping presents.

You will also still have time to head into town to attend the candlelight service at the Federated Church at 10 p.m. The choir will be directed by Peter Boak. The wreaths and candles in the windows at night take me back to my childhood when I was a regular attendee there and the walk home late on Christmas Eve was magical. The service will last about an hour, which gives you just enough time to get back to the ferry before 11:15.

Remember that the Chappy ferry runs on an abbreviated schedule on Christmas Day. During the morning and afternoon shifts the ferry will operate on the hour. The evening shift beginning at 6 p.m. will be the normal winter hours.

Sad news, today is Katie O’Donnell’s last day with The Trustees of Reservations as she is leaving Chappy to accept a position with the Wildlands Trust in Duxbury. This is a great opportunity for Katie as she will be taking on higher-level responsibilities and will be back home in Marshfield close to family and friends. The staff of TTOR is certainly different from the days of Foster Silva and Bob Fountain, who ran things by the seat of their pants. Now we see women with college degrees and a fashion sense out on patrol and holding positions like that of assistant superintendent. We wish Katie well in her future endeavors and will miss her smile.

The ferryboat On Time III returned to service last Friday and was inspected afloat by the Coast Guard on Monday. Along with preventive maintenance and necessary repairs to the wood and fiberglass components, the hull improvements were made as well. The shaft logs were replaced and new improved stuffing boxes were installed. The shaft log is the indentation in the bottom of the boat that allows the propeller shaft to pass through the hull. The old ones were made of welded stainless steel, which is susceptible to weakening by electrolysis. New shaft logs were built out of the same marine plywood and fiberglass that makes up the rest of the hull. The stuffing boxes create a watertight seal between the hull and the propeller shaft. Traditional stuffing box seals rub against the shaft itself, gradually wearing it away to the point that it must be replaced, which is a shame if that’s the only thing wrong with it. The new system has replaceable wear surfaces that clamp onto the shaft, therefore no further damage will occur to the shaft. The propellers get worn down by the salt water and the sand stirred up in the slips. For a fraction of the cost of new ones, the old ones were rebuilt good as new. All of this work is out of sight of the traveler. What you will notice though is that the name boards have been moved to the top of the pilothouse and to the ends of the safety rails as part of our ongoing program to reduce the number of holes in the hull. The recent work resulted in the sealing up of more than 100 bolt and screw holes, each one of which had the potential to leak water.

Mother Nature continues to show an interest in practicing her erosion skills at Wasque. The sandy island just off of the south shore of Wasque appears to grow daily. It is now several feet above water level and a few hundred feet long. Since it has become firmly established, there are now two well-defined openings. The one at the east end of the sandy island carries only a portion of the tidal flow. Most of the water seems to gush through the opening between the west end of the sandy island and the tip of Norton Point. That opening is directly in front of Sue and Jerry Wacks’ house. The land there is disappearing at an alarming rate as the strong currents eat away at the bluff. Though the loss of homes to coastal erosion is not unusual on a worldwide scale, it’s still earth-shattering to the individuals who suffer the personal loss. Our hearts go out to Sue and Jerry.