The federal shut down in Washington, DC has closed the Smithsonian Museums, the very popular Monuments and National Parks and left hundreds of thousands of government workers facing locked doors while trying to come to work. But that did not deter many from celebrating New Year’s Eve at the historic Mayflower Hotel in the district. Referred to as the “second best address” in Washington, with the White House as the best address, it remains splendid in all of its physical glory.

Oak Bluffs residents Ed and Sherri Gray, Reggie and Diane Felton are members of a social club called The Consorts, which played host to this gathering decked out in tuxedos and designer dresses for the occasion. They were joined by fellow Vineyard residents Elliott and Shirley Hall, Cindy Carter as well as Cliff and Marion Grayer.

It was also very much the political season as the new congress featured a record number of women gracing the power halls of the House of Representatives. While gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacy Abrams of Georgia fell short in their contests, Ayanna Pressley did win as she became the first African American woman to win a congressional seat in Massachusetts. All three, then candidates, came to services at Union Chapel this past summer. Many stayed in Washington until Jan. 3 to witness her taking the Oath of Office from newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Elexis Wildanger announces for broad dissemination a recruitment event for those who want to learn more about foster parenting. The event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12 from noon to 3 p.m. at 3 Poplar Lane in Oak Bluffs. Surely this is a great opportunity to continue the call for kindness and generosity in a lasting way for children looking for a place to call home.

Elexis’s challenge reminded me of New Bedford born and Oak Bluffs summer visitor Steve Pemberton. Steve bounced around from shelter to shelter in his young life but managed to get a scholarship to Boston College which transformed his opportunities in life. He took the time to investigate his own past exploring and identifying both his birth mother and father. This journey took him to his very own case file in the social workers repository and it revealed a very troubling note in his record: “this kid does not a chance in the world.”

Steve wrote his autobiography and the book was entitled A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, A Mysterious Past and How He Found a Place Called Home. Today Steve is a leading diversity executive, best selling author, human rights advocate and serves as chief human resources officer for Globoforce. He took this position after having served as chief diversity officer for Walgreens in Chicago. There are many Steve’s on the Vineyard; please reach out to Elexis.

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