Ella Wheeler Wilcox provides some context for our reflections on the past year and allows us to think ahead for what might be possible when she penned the following:

What can be said in New Year rhymes
That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream,we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

The Columbus Day picnic at Inkwell Beach is in many ways the end of the year. Celebrated on the Saturday of the holiday weekend it is a time of reflection and celebration. Many use this weekend as the cottage-closing window as they prepare for the early fall and the winter months. It is a chance for many to cook up, mix up and serve up all that is in the refrigerator and the cabinets as we look to next season. But it is also a reflective period as we think about those that will no longer sit on the retaining wall and partake of the savory delicacies that come from the stoves and hands of scores that fill the tables facing the beach. We reflect on the many wonderful years that we shared with Al Carter, Cee Jay, Charles Bradley, Gus Gaskins and Les Hayling just to name a few of the giants. There are others like Mary Hill Tucker that have been coming to this picnic for many years and we rejoice when we see them yet again. The Tucker family celebrates her 100th birthday in a few short months as the Vineyard has been a major part of her well-lived life.

This past year also saw the town complete the construction on the family-friendly new Niantic Park. Nothing is more precious as seeing yet another generation of children exploring the swings and the new horses and slides. Just around the corner is the Barn, Bowl and Bistro which has become a major source of fun with bowling, trivia contests and a variety of social events for all ages. Moreover, the increased consumer activity has brought much needed visibility to the Art Gallery on Uncas avenue.

WYOB Radio, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School radio station has recently announced that they have automated their programming and have received donated licensed software by professional radio companies that will now allow streaming over the internet. Speaking of new programming, last summer a team of media professionals from France ascended on Oak Bluffs to explore the African American history of our village. Film producer Anais Le Guennac has just released her short documentary film that begins with the whaling captains in Edgartown harbor to the Camp Ground to the Highlands. An important piece of film that certainly belongs in the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

All continue to be inspired by the expansion of the Martha’s Vineyard African American History Trail as Anne P. Jennings was added to this rolls this year. Perhaps 2018 we will see other notables like Liz White of the Shearer Summer Theatre, Harry Burleigh that wrote many of his memorable songs and hymns at Grace Church in Vineyard Haven while spending summers at Shearer Cottage. Representing the entrepreneurs class is Ambler Wormley who owned and operated the gas station on New York avenue from 1928 to 1946. This year saw a controversial end to the Bridge House previously owned by Charlotte Holloman, significant music and performing maven, who owned a cottage in a one-of-a-kind location, no more. All worthy pioneers in the Island historical narrative.

Speaking of promising new year beginnings, Tiffany Hall of Harthaven launched her tasty potato vodka Empower, and is off to a good start with marketing and sales efforts. A former lawyer and marketing executive with one of the largest spirits conglomerates, she discovered how profitable the liquor business is and cashed in her savings and became an entrepreneur. Black Enterprise Magazine reports that Empower was selected for the MTV video awards gift bag and was the official cocktail in the back stage celebrity retreat for the NAACP Image Awards. We wish her all the best in 2018.

As the winter days settle in we can always count on the Oak Bluffs Library to organize wonderful events for big and little kids. The library friends are planning a mini golf tournament for Feb. 9 and 10 and are seeking hole sponsors. Sponsors help insure that the Saturday event is free to teens, children and families. Contact anyone at the library or reach out to Abe Seiman.

Paradise on earth is the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!

Send Oak Bluffs news to rtaylor@mvgazette.com.