February comes from the Latin word februa, which means “to cleanse.” The month was named after the Roman Februalia, which was a month-long festival of purification and atonement that took place this time of year. It’s a good month for getting household projects done and a month jam packed full of birthdays to celebrate.

This past week cakes were baked, phone calls were made and little celebrations were held for, among others: Tony Palmer, Jane Slater, Nan Doty, Warren Doty, Kendall Harris, Susan Heilbron, Michele Mayhew, Allen Healy, Isabella Quinones and Adelaide Keene. There are more birthdays to hip, hip, hooray over in the upcoming days that include Fran Demers, Caleb Slater, Dardy Slavin, Dennis Jason, Lenny Jason, Alexia Jason, David Damroth and, one of my favorites, Julie Flanders.

John Keene did a little tidying up along Basin Road. The two dead forklifts at the former Fish House along with Karsten’s old car that had seen better days took a ride off-Island on a flat bed and will, hopefully, find a purposeful recycling opportunity.

Phil Hollinger and Samantha Smith make quite the team. They laugh a lot, share adventures and have one another’s backs. When Phil popped the question, it was no surprise that Sam said yes. They, along with pup Bella, are excited to continue a life of happiness with rings on their fingers.

Andrew Ruimerman asked and she said yes. He and Kimberlie Willard, who now make their home in the Virginia mountains near their Roanoke College alma mater, took their proclamation of love to the next level with a Valentine’s engagement. Congratulations to the happy couple.

I’m pretty excited to share news of these two engagements since Samantha and Andrew are both Menemsha Texaco family members. I’m proud to say I survived and enjoyed them during their teen years.

Social media, despite its flaws, provides opportunities to share aspects of life that we may not have been able to do because of the challenges of time, distance and, in the case of this year, a pandemic. Instagram allowed me to view some artwork by Tom Hollinger of Connecticut and South Abel’s Hill. His oil and canvas paintings of the Shenandoah called Making Way graced the Washington (Connecticut) Art Association’s Instagram page advertising a show featuring the work of 150 artists.

Summer still feels like it is a long way off, but perhaps a little virtual dose of the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival may bring thoughts of warm sunny days to the forefront of your mind. On the evening of Thursday, Feb. 25, Aquinnah seasonal resident Michael J. Fox will discuss his new memoir, No Time Like the Future, with his friend and author, Harlan Coben. The event is free but you must preregister to attend. Visit mvbookfestival.com. Signed copies of Michael’s book are available just down the road at Bunch of Grapes. Thanks to Annie Treitman for sharing this fun information.

Although my column may be a tad short this week I leave you with a limitless thought to fill your week: Optimism is powerful.