I’m thinking back on Chappy holiday parties of the past.

The Community Center’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners had their origins at Mary and Joe Cressy’s house. They loved to pack that house full of Chappaquiddickers. I remember Mary and Joe debating the concept of no chairs so that the guests wouldn’t fill their plates too much at one time and, instead, everyone would circulate the room more. The whole reason to get together was to talk to each other, not just to eat.

The living room would be elbow-to-elbow with adults. The king-sized bed in the master bedroom just off the living room would be piled with kids watching a holiday video on the big screen television. Depending on which holiday was being celebrated, chowder, ham, turkey, bacon-wrapped scallops or lasagna were all in plentiful supply.

Once the Community Center was habitable, the parties moved over there. The idea of a ferry crew appreciation dinner came from Mary Spencer. It was held on the first Wednesday of December and tied the two big holidays together. The turnout for that dinner always surpassed all others. It was the one time that the ferry crew had conversations with their passengers that lasted more than a minute. Liz Villard masterminded a continually evolving slideshow starring the ferry captains and deckhands.

Several years ago, the Schifters began inviting everyone to their big house on the Wasque bluff for a mid-winter gathering. The food was so good that it was difficult to make conversation with our mouths otherwise occupied. Often those nights were stormy. I remember marveling that we were bowling in the basement playroom not more than a few hundred feet from the surf kicked up by a howling northeaster. But Chappy has always been a blend of contradictions.

Since Covid-19 turned life upside down worldwide, these parties have been put on hold. As we emerge from this interruption in community celebration, I hope these gatherings will return.