Perhaps for all of us, 2020 has been a very difficult if not impossible year. This is especially the case for Oak Bluffs, where so much of our events and gathering involve sunning on the beaches, riding on the carousel, popping in and out of the stores, restaurants, newsstands, inns and bakeries on Circuit avenue. Sipping coffee and gossiping in the post office square. Attending overflowing services at Union Chapel, discussions and book events at Cottagers Corner, swimming with the Polar Bears, watching groundbreaking movies at the high school was simply not possible this year because of Covid-19.

And we lost special friends that were beloved by many. Robyn Nash, Bill Hayling, Millie Henderson and John Schule all passed, leaving a tremendous legacy and footprints on the hearts and minds of so many. And how can we forget the man whose first name says it all? You need only say Nelson, no surname needed, and immediately the soft-spoken, gentle spirit who owned and managed the gas station on New York avenue comes to mind. Always courteous and customer friendly, he still had the time to grow bees and make honey. He took care of my family’s cars for forty years and I join hundreds of his customers who became friends, in condolences to the family and his coworkers.

But as we look to the future we are hopeful that the vaccine will provide us with an opportunity to once again safely gather on Circuit avenue,  and enjoy the multiple beaches in town, Ocean Park, Waban Park, Hartford Park and the playing courts. We look forward to greeting Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been a Vineyard regular. A cancelled book event with Susan Rice, now President Biden’s domestic policy chief, will perhaps be rescheduled. Hoping that Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will be able to spend some quality time in her summer cottage. Excited about 2021!

Let’s join poet John P. Read in finishing off 2020:

Brush away old heartaches.
Learn from our mistakes.
Another year is finally over.
A new dawn awakes.

Make your New Year wishes
As simple as you can.
Pray for peace and love,
Not for wealth or fame.

Pray for health and happiness.
Pray for your fellow man.
Pray for all the ones you love.
Pray for those who’ve lost their way.

As the midnight hour chimes,
We leave the old and embrace the new.
I wish the things you wish for yourself,
And may God’s love stay with you.

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