Have you been receiving those pesky phone calls? The calls where an actual living person tells you our government has selected you as a great, law-abiding taxpayer to receive a refund that very day of $7,466.19 (I have also been promised as little as $5,000 and as much as $20,000) to show your government’s appreciation of you? Having a bit more time to play phone games this time of year, I have a new way to scam the scammers. I listen carefully, repeating each line they give me, out loud, to waste their time and for the edification of Teri and Nonna, usually in the room with me. Then I say, thank you, that is just great! Unfortunately, my timing is off as usual. Just yesterday I took my vows for the Little Sisters of Extreme Poverty and can no longer accept money. But please, send it to Pope Francis and the Vatican to get these funds in my name. Then I recite the address, Pope Francis, 1 Vatican Way, Vatican City, the Vatican . . . I don’t have the zip but you can probably Google it. I also offer his Twitter tag. It’s too bad the scammers are now hanging up on me, because I embellish the story more and more each day. Stay tuned. . .

If you hurry you can prepare to be at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Friday at 5:30 p.m. for services. Tonight’s discussion is Black Lives Matter and is co-presented by the MVHC and the MV Chapter of the NAACP. While there you might want to reserve your spot for the Shabbat luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 24, after the 10 a.m. service. The luncheon will be a farewell for Joan Borkow, Diane Freed and Norman Freed, all will be moving off-Island and have served our center and community well. The chefs will be Ljuba Davis and Stan Hersh. The menu is kosher chicken with all the sides and dessert. A voluntary donation of $18 per plate is suggested. Please RSVP by Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Saturday is our monthly book sale at our library. The downstairs program room will have all kinds of treasures and be open for you from 2 to 4 p.m. Keep in mind that on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m. Anita Hotchkiss will hold forth on her recent trip to Mongolia. Anita will share her slides and impressions of northern Mongolia near Siberia, central Mongolia, and the south near the Gobi desert. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

Arnie Reisman reminded me that the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society will hold its next poetry cafe on Tuesday, Jan. 20, in the newly renovated lobby of the Vineyard Playhouse on Church street. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The $10 admission gets you more than an hour with your friends and fellow poets, refreshments, and a chance to hear Dan Waters, Jennifer Smith Turner and Richard Skidmore. Arnie is the emcee.

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming long weekend. And I hope you are teaching your children who it is in celebration of and why. Don’t let them think it’s just another big shopping day off from school!

Condolences go out to the family and friends of Tess Kunzelman. Tess was a renaissance woman, great at all she did and capable of doing quite a lot, whether for her family, her church, or her community. I shall miss her smile, but I shall never forget her.

The birthday bandwagon pulls along Maribeth Roden, Thaw Malin, Joaquin Balbino and Myra Romain Friday. Saturday is claimed by Rosemary Gambino. January 18 is for Anthony Cardoza. January 19 shines on Ciara Seccombe, Patti Linn, Jade Berninger, Mandy King Rice and Ruth Major. January 20 is shared by Kim Montanile and Mary-Beth Pate. And on Jan. 21, Carol Whitmarsh, Noah Casner, Annie McEvoy, Frederick Hehre 4th, Cameron Moore, and Derek and Travis Fennell take the cake. Many happy returns.

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