Community Columns

Oysterponds News: The annual New Year’s walk

Wow, it’s been a long time. Happy New Year, friends.

Colin Stevens shared a great story of the annual New Year’s walk to the cable crossing at the point to greet the new year. This group has been doing it since 2000 and their ritual is the same: They write wishes on paper, toss them in a bucket and burn them as the sun rises. They stand in a circle holding hands and pass the squeeze faster and faster, creating positive energy.  The last three years they have written New Year’s greetings with location, etc., put it in a bottle and tossed it in the water. This year, Colin used a plastic OJ bottle with an orange cap. It was a thrill when, 6 1/2 days later, Gillian Carson was walking on West Beach on Block Island, about a half-mile from the north lighthouse, and spotted the bottle. It was fate, since her dog Toby had wandered around a fence by Sachem Pond and she had to fetch him and that’s where she found what she calls her treasure. She snagged it and emailed Colin. Some people have pen pals. Colin now has a message-in-the-bottle pal.

Heather Walker wants to thank our warm, loving community for this year’s donations of 389 sets of hats and gloves for her fourth annual Warm Hearts program. Our extended Oysterponds family sure is amazing.

Orient Congregational Church pastor Ann Van Cleef has been on a roller coaster of joy and sadness these last few weeks. After years of tireless study (to quote Stanley Rubin), she earned her doctorate and now we all congratulate the new Rev. Dr. Ann Van Cleef. But that joy was short-lived with the sudden passing of her mom, Mary (Lolly) Abbate, on Jan. 5. Lolly always had a smile and a pleasant word. We all extend our sympathy to Ann and her family on their loss.

Speaking of OCC, Greenport Ecumenical Ministries’ annual interfaith service will take place there this Sunday, Jan. 25, at 3 p.m. Sister Margaret will be the guest speaker and will discuss her work with the immigrant population in a talk entitled, “We Are ALL God’s Children.” It is open to all.

The monthly OCC supper is Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. Bring a dish to share. All are welcome.

Finally, a reminder that OCC houses the overflow from John’s Place at St. Agnes on Tuesday evenings. They really need help with set-up on Tuesday and cleanup Wednesday morning. Call 323-2665 to sign on. They also need donations of breakfast items.

Former East Marion postal clerk Pete Reiter got in touch recently to set the record straight. I referred to Linda Boken as the longtime East Marion postmistress and Pete felt she was rolling in her grave at that verbiage. He said she always insisted that she was the postmaster, not the postmistress. When I mentioned that to her longtime best friend Kathy Wallace, she chuckled and quoted Linda as saying they didn’t pay her enough to be anyone’s mistress! Linda is giving us a smile from the other side.

OHS has the sure cure for cabin fever this winter. It is sponsoring multiple workshops — and they are filling up fast. Visit and peruse the options: knitting classes with Jean Walters, bird drawing classes with Laura Westlake and lectures, including The Wickham Lectures by Amy Folk on Jan. 28. You can sign up on the website or call 323-2480.

Author Steve Burt, former Methodist Church interim pastor and former North Fork kid, was the grand prize-winner at the 2015 Florida Book Festival and will accept his award at the Florida Book Festival Jan. 31 in Orlando. Two days after getting that news, Steve learned that his “Freek Week” won Best Young Adult Book at the New England Book Festival Awards. Congratulations, Steve; you are on a roll!

Are you in Florida anywhere near the Treasure Coast? If so, e-mail me at [email protected] or call 323-3899. We are trying to assemble North Fork “south” sometime early to mid-February. Let me know.

Contact Oysterponds columnist Carol Gillooly at [email protected] or 323-3899.