This month the Chappaquiddick Community Center potluck suppers are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays. The next one will be on Jan. 22. In February, they go back to the traditional first and third Wednesdays of the month. Appetizers start at 6 p.m. with the buffet line bell ringing at 6:30. Please bring an entrée, side dish or a desert to serve six.

As with most new technological developments, someone always seems to go overboard with the opportunity. Lately it has been with light emitting diodes, known commonly as LED lights. There are lots of positive things about LED lights. They use a fraction of the electricity that any other type of illumination requires. They are very bright and very dependable. They don’t have a filament or gas to burn out. When something goes wrong with an LED flood light it’s usually in the circuitry that operates the daylight sensor rather than the diode itself. When they became available as hand held flashlights they were a boon to the fire department. At first we were skeptical. They seemed too good to be true. The light that they gave off was a cool white and didn’t give back the true color of the things we were looking at. We couldn’t tell the difference between soot, ash, dirt or concrete by sight. Then they started making warm yellow LEDs and everything looked colorful again.

They made all of the old flashlights obsolete. If by mistake you left one of the new LED flashlights switched on in a cabinet of the fire truck after Sunday radio check, a week later at the next radio check, it would still be giving off some

light. In the past it used to be that one of the most complicated and critical issues in designing a new fire truck was making sure that there was enough juice coming from the alternator, enough storage in the batteries and big enough wiring to provide for all the lighting equipment required to work safely at night. With LED lighting, it’s no longer a concern. Whatever came with the chassis from the factory will be sufficient.

Now for the negative side of LED lights. Car manufacturers have decorated their new designs with these lights. They are now ornamental. A kind of the night time version of chrome. What was once a warm amber parking light is now a ring of several dozen glaring white lights surrounding the headlight assembly. They are actually brighter than the low beam headlight. So even if your car allows you to turn off the headlights, you are still sending out a blinding light in front of your car if you leave your parking lights on.

There have been signs for a decade at the Chappy ferry imploring you to “turn off your headlights while waiting” with the explanation that your “lights blind the ferry captain.” About half of the time, folks would be considerate and turn off their headlights. Of course, some folks were foiled in their attempt to comply due to the overly clever design of the headlight knob in their new car. There’s always a way to do it. It’s spelled out in the manual in the glove compartment.

But even if you have managed to turn off your headlights, if your car has LED parking lights, you are still making the captain land the ferry while squinting into a blinding glare. So, I’m having new signs made which will ask you to turn off all lights while waiting, both headlight and parking lights, both night and day. And next time you buy a new car, insist that the salesperson shows you how to turn all of the vehicles lights off when you want them to turn off. It will be amusing to watch him or her try to figure it out. Thank you in advance for figuring out how to do it with the cars and trucks that you now drive. Thank you if you have been turning off all of your lights all along. It is greatly appreciated by me and the other ferry captains.