“It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”

This quote has been attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald but I think it was written for the film adaptation of A Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Regardless of its origin, they’re good words to start a new year.

For a few of us, myself included, 2023 began at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2022. Brooks and his buddies Tegan Fenner and Fynn Monahan — 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time — sent videos of the traditional Balinese meal and fireworks display they were enjoying with new friends as they rang in the new year.

Adelaide Keene, another Chilmark kid, also kicked off 2023 a half day ahead of us, camping under the stars on New Zealand’s impressive Fox Glacier. At that same time, her folks John and Hillary were prepping their home for a potluck gathering of friends and family. The highlight of my evening was an unsolicited hug from 10-year old Liam Keene.

The crew at Station Menemsha celebrated with a pizza party. Big thanks to Julia Spiro, Susan Heilbron and Andy Goldman, the Oliver family, the Thompson family (Mae, Nell, Zoe and Simon), Shelley Scheuer, Deb Hancock and Patrick Echlin for joining me in contributing some funds towards their celebration.

Bob and Linda Zeltzer were at their Prospect Hill home for a week or so but scooted back to their home away from home in Lexington. I didn’t have an opportunity to have a face to face with Linda but Bob came by for a visit. Darn; I forgot to send him off with a package of Chuckles candy. He swears they are Linda’s favorite, but I have my suspicions that he enjoys them as well.

I had a chance to chat with Shakti Reynolds before she departed for a winter in Hawaii. Granddaughter Cami Santos just celebrated her first birthday. They may have saved a slice of cake for her arrival, but I think she will be satisfied with Cami and Colton snuggles. I’m pretty sure she will be thrilled to see daughter Lauren and son in law Louis.

There is a plan being formulated to connect with grandkids Reno and Jackson as well. They live with their parents Ross McDowell and Sophia Guymer in southern California.

Peter Cook was in town for a quick spell to help his dad, Peter, with a couple of little project. I had a moment to catch up with him as well.

The Frank family home on Sheep Hill was lit up over the holidays and bustling with life. Jennifer and Scott were joined by their three children — Sophia, Lukas and Stella — along with a couple of significant others, Jess Révész and Carlo (who’s last name I didn’t retain). It’s always fun to catch up with my neighbors. It was especially fun to have a little snow on the ground for a hooting and hollering sledding expedition.

Permitted teen driver Clara Athearn had the heck surprised out of her when a new-to-her Subaru Crosstrek appeared in the family driveway on Christmas morning. How all these tiny humans in town have grown to near adulthood amazes me. That old saying “time flies” really rings true.

A good portion of the Larsen family, with Marie leading the way, polar plunged on New Year’s Day at Menemsha Beach. A whole lot of screeches and laughs could be heard from the group as they rang in 2023, family style. Albert Fischer was clued in to the event and managed to capture it all from behind his lens.

After 11 years as a member of the Buhrman-Osnoss family, 16-year old pup Victor has made his last earthly beach frolic, paddle board adventure and car ride. He was a pup with such character and soul. Farewell, Victor. Sorry for the family’s loss. May his furry memory bring sweet smiles.

May the new year bring you 365 wonderful opportunities.