The Chappaquiddick cell tower construction project is well underway. Heavy machinery and equipment have arrived at the site along with tons of re-enforcing rods and dozens of precast concrete retaining wall blocks.

The first stage of the project involves the pouring of 50 yards of concrete in a one-and-a-half-story deep hole to a create base for the free-standing mono-pole tower. This is the ideal time of year for such an endeavor. The Chappaquiddick Ferry only occasionally carries a full load of vehicles. With school vacation next week, things will be twice as quiet.

I’m confident that half of the Island’s population doesn’t actually go off-Island for the week, but it certainly seems like it. I know of a few school families who make this their major getaway of the year. The Martha’s Vineyard school system goes on vacation a week after most of the rest of the country, which means that our folks aren’t competing for hotel rooms, RV rentals and ski lift tickets with all of those other mid-winter break vacationers. Pretty clever!

Once in a while a non-Chappaquiddicker will comment to me that you would have to be crazy to live on Chappaquiddick Island. I have thought about this often during my 60-year affiliation with our sometimes-separate-but-never-equaled-island. I have many friends and acquaintances on both sides of Edgartown Harbor. I have concluded that on the whole the folks who live on Chappy are only a very tiny bit crazier than the folks who live on Martha’s Vineyard. So, when I hear this comment I respond by asking the observer to consider the following: when Chappaquiddickers need to get a break from Chappy, they take a 45-second ferry ride to the lovely Island of Martha’s Vineyard which is considered by thousands to be the ultimate vacation spot even in August. On the other hand, consider that when Vineyarders need to get a break from their Island, they take a 45-minute ferry ride to mainland America. They often go to Hyannis, Boston or Providence. All interesting places to be sure. But then why are so many of folks in the standby line in Woods Hole hoping to get home on an earlier ferry?

Remember that the Chappy potluck suppers are on the first and third Wednesdays even when I forget to put the potluck sign up at the ferry.

Elizabeth Whelan’s Winter Art Workshops at the CCC continue to meet every other Thursday. They are scheduled for Feb. 21, March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18. Bring you art supplies and join Elizabeth for a casual free evening of drawing and painting from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Though this is not an instructional class, she will gladly give input to anyone who wants it. Sketch or paint or bring your own project to work on. Coffee and tea are provided. Call Elizabeth with questions at 508-560-0083.

Elizabeth has branched out to the big Island as well. She is offering a free Guided Drawing class at the Chilmark Library on two Wednesdays, Feb. 20 and 27 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This will be an instructional class with a simple still life. Sketching materials and paper will be provided or you can bring your own art supplies. She will share tips and pointers on how to get started on any drawing, how to add depth and substance to your composition as well as some ideas about technique. All levels of artistic know-how are welcome. Chappaquiddickers are invited, too. It’s only 13 miles from the ferry. Plenty of time to get home before the ferry stops!