Everyone is invited to the Chappy Community Center on Wednesday, Jan. 7, for the very first potluck of the new year. The honored hosts will be Emily Davis and Quincy Dewing. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m. with the dinner bell ringing at 6:30 p.m. While you are there, look at the potluck hosting sign-up booklet and pick out your turn. It’s actually probably easier than putting together a main dish. You bring a few appetizers. It can be as simple as crackers, cheese and dip. You make sure that the tables and chairs are all set up. Someone will help you get the fireplace lit if you’re not comfortable with that. You get to ring the dinner bell and afterward a bunch of us will pitch in to clean up. Lynn Martinka will make sure that you have the official rundown. Hosting the Chappy potluck will look very good on your resume.

Dodie Silva lived a long and interesting life on Chappy. She was here during the time we always refer to as “back in the old days.” Her husband and sons were all quite illustrious and well known. Their exploits are legend around here. Daughter Joan was the quiet one of the bunch, so you can imagine that Dodie and Foster had their hands full raising that energetic crowd. Their cozy little home across from the firehouse was the center of activity during the much colder and isolating winters of those years. Dodie leaves behind Chappaquiddick relatives. She was married to Skip Bettencourt’s aunt’s son Foster. Skip’s son Kenny and daughter in law Kathy raised their daughter Amber here on the family land. It seems like just yesterday that I saw Dodie and her sister riding across on the ferry in her sedan, decked out in flowery dresses, both gesturing with their hands and laughing.

If you haven’t been to the Wasque opening lately, it’s worth a trip. The Norton Point spit is narrow but high and looking quite healthy, even sporting some vehicle tracks at the very tip. The opening is also quite narrow but still has a substantial current. The shape of the shoreline on both sides of the opening is still in flux. When the two islands finally join together again the remaining channel will become a swan pond.

Those of you who ride the ferry after dark may have seen the huge great blue heron at the ferry point every night. He’s got to be about four feet tall with a wingspan of at least six feet. When a car or person approaches too closely, out come his neatly folded wings, spreading out over the dense salt air surrounding him and with one flap he disappears into the dark. He was recently joined by what I believe to be a juvenile black crowned night heron. They seem to have worked out any personal space issues as they share the area of beach illuminated by the streetlight.

The ferryboat On Time II was refloated early last Friday morning and made an uneventful voyage back to Edgartown. She is back in her slip ready to fill in for the On Time III if needed. Now I can sleep more soundly knowing that there is a redundancy in the ferry service again. The On Time II has been on the job for 45 years. She is ruggedly built and has held up very well with constant care. Her sister came along only 5 years later and took over the full-time work. From then on the On Time II became the extra boat when things got busy, but worked only about a third as much as the bigger On Time III. As part of our program to improve maintenance of the ferries and ramps we are experimenting with galvanizing the steel components. For starters, we sand blasted the Sampson posts at the four corners of the ferry and took them off-Island to be hot dip galvanized. Though nice and shiny now, every little blemish in the old steel stands out. The thick black rubber that used to coat them hid the defects well, but also hid the rust. Hopefully, this will give us the upper hand in the ongoing war of salt water versus steel. I am reminded of the adage “Rust never sleeps.”

Send your Chappy news to: peter@chappyferry.net.