February, despite its fewer than 30 days, is often referred to as the longest month of the year. Often it’s cold, grey, windy and the month in which families escape the so-called winter doldrums for bluebird days on Rocky Mountain ski slopes and warm ocean breezes in far-southern places.

What are your February plans? Beach walks, trail hikes, caving on that “I’m going to kick the added sugar” New Year’s resolution are all pretty typical. Do any of you have something just a little out of the ordinary lined up?

Annette and Annalee Cingle and Scott McDowell have taken a culinary trip to New Orleans, all from the comfort of their Basin Road home. Crispy, chewy, fried to golden perfection and dusted with powdered sugar, delectable beignets have made the menu more than once this past week. I’m sorry to have missed the special delivery of these yeasty vanilla-infused doughy delights. Next time I’ll be sure to be in the right place at the right time.

Just down the road, teen Charlotte Bernhard is perfecting her cookie-baking skills around the family’s daily “lace up your shoes and go walking” adventures. M&M cookies were her latest sweet treat and she shared some with me.

Last year Johnny Graham celebrated his birthday in India, taking in such sites as the Taj Mahal. This year, the big 5-0 will pass with a little less fanfare in Jefferson City, Mo, but it will pass nonetheless. Happiest of birthdays to you, dear friend; welcome to the half century club.

Amy Cody and John Furst headed out to California about six weeks ago to spend some quality time with grandson August, and help prepare for the birth of his new sibling. Jan. 8 was the day Rosemary Priscilla Shand Weiss was welcomed into the world by doting grandparents, a rambunctious big brother, proud extended family and, most of all, the happiest parents in the world, Madeline Furst and Alex Weiss.

When proud dad Todd Christy speaks about his 16-year-old girls Eloise and Wren, he says things like, “It’s often easy to forget that when there is little competition available, the best show up for the little competition.” As we all know, the pandemic hasn’t exactly been conducive to competitive sports, but these two really stepped up to the challenge. Eloise took the 23rd beat spot in the indoor 600 meter and Wren walked away with the 12th best indoor one mile in the USA. All this while big brother Dash makes his way through his freshman year at UVM.

Six years have passed since Bette Carroll asked me to sit a spell on Squid Row. Six years have passed since she exclaimed “Service deluxe!” as Marshall poured her a cup of coffee. She took it black. This weekend she would have celebrated her 98th birthday. I think of her often, but always a little bit more on her special day.