There was almost a disaster for me six days ago. I was working around the house for a few hours, then jumped in the truck for some errands in a few towns. As I was passing the hospital, I remembered that I left a large pot of rice simmering on the stove. I do not drive and use the phone so I pulled into the VFW parking lot and frantically telephoned four neighbors. Two did not answer. I left messages but who knew when they would hear them? One, a neighbor from our town, said he was in Oak Bluffs mowing a lawn near the VFW. Another neighbor, Mary Afton’s mom, Piper, had Mary and a friend at a beach. It would take too long to pack them up and save me.

I headed home. The bridge was not up. But the traffic was terrible. It seemed that every car with a tag from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut conspired to be in front of me searching for directions or a parking space. I was screaming at them but they never knew. Approaching my house, I checked for flames. No smoke, no flames. Saved! And guess what? When I shut it off and stirred it I proclaimed it the best rice I have ever made! Don’t try this at home.

I am grateful and thankful for so many good friends who sent me birthday cards, greetings on Facebook or e-mail and made personal calls to sing happy birthday. Mareda Gaither-Graves called from my old country to sing in her wonderful voice. Bob and Elaine Klein called to sing. They were across the border in Oak Bluffs. And I was thrilled with the surprise party Bobbie Jo Sears planned for me on my back deck. She invited six of our dearest friends and they all brought thoughtful and mostly handmade gifts, flowers and works of art. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Same time next year?

Meanwhile, my very young neighbor, Bella Oliveira, celebrated her first birthday at a party at the PA Club for family and friends on Saturday. Her birthday was Monday, July 30 but the family waited for the weekend when more admirers could attend. Bella was beautiful as always.

I ran into my esteemed colleague, Kay Mayhew, Tisbury columnist for the Martha’s Vineyard Times at lunch yesterday. She was with the incredibly talented and kind Marion Burke. I was not surprised to see them together as I heard through the grapevine that they are both avid quilters. Summer is a bit busy so they have designated only Thursdays for quilting. At the beach with a group of friends. Don’t ask.

Our Martha’s Vineyard Community Services keeps this Island on the go. Their go-to emporium in our town is the Chicken Alley Thrift Shop. The annual art and collectibles sale will be Sunday, August 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. Oh, how my mother, Nonna, and our friend, Teri Praskach, loved this event. I shall never forget the time Nonna was wheelchair bound. I maneuvered her through the aisles, then parked her at the periphery by the road while Teri and I continued to shop. The incomparable Dana Hodsdon met up with her, brought her lemonade and chatted with her for at least 45 minutes. We all need and want a friend like Dana!

My dear young friend, Shannon Rose McAuliffe, is not only making waves in the music world in Boston. She also wowed everyone at a recent wedding she attended in England. Shannon was singled out for wearing the best fascinator at the event. She out-Englished the English.

To recap some belated birthdays, Gisele Nascimento was feted with a great party for her August 1 birthday. You all know I celebrated my August 3 with two handsome Toms, Tom Colligan and Tom Brady. Come to find out that one of the best photographers on earth, my friend John Doble over on the Cape, joins our elite group. John Doble Photography is a sight that cheers me every time I can view his work. Of course the next day, August 4, was shared by the illustrious teacher Elaine Klein and someone else you have heard of, Barack Obama. Barack dined at the Cardboard Box last night, the first season of Ben and Erica DeForest’s new place on Circuit Avenue. The birthday bandwagon pulled along Sandie Corr-Dolby on August 7; Christine Matturro celebrates on August 9; on August 15; Carolyn Walters takes the cake. Many happy returns.

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