The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | Dec 03, 2011
Photo by: Fran Migliaccio Howie Rice and Fred and Emu. Justice the Yak looks on.

About town

This year’s Shopping Stroll was arguably the best ever. Unseasonably warm weather attracted mainlanders who, increasingly in recent years, have made the stroll a destination event. Twenty or so years ago, when yours truly served on the Chamber of Commerce board as one of many vice presidents, it was Secretary Molly McQueeny (now O’Neill) who proposed the idea of a shopping stroll, and a brilliant and lasting one it was.

This year’s truly inspired idea was the lobster pot tree standing proud in Esta’s Park and gorgeously lit up at night. The brainchild and handiwork of Harold Hatfield, aka Turtle, and Leif Anderson, the handsome tree was constructed from pots and collected beach buoys belonging to lobsterman and Finn’s Restaurant owner Fred Howarth. What a great new island tradition!

Aren’t we all glad the torrential rain on November 23 wasn’t snow? I certainly was, as I sat in the Interstate lot and awaited my chance to drive onto the boat. Just goes to show, whatever it is, it could always be worse!

Block Island everywhere

Wasn’t that a great article on Rob Gilpin and the North Light in the Providence Journal on November 28? Not only did it begin on the front page with a picture of the lighthouse, it spread generously over an inside page and was a fitting tribute to Gilpin’s selfless dedication to the lighthouse and our island community.

All creatures

I was tipped off by a friend and fellow animal lover that Howie Rice and Fred the Emu have a mutual admiration society going on most days, up at the Abrams Animal Farm. “He hugs the emu, and it hugs him back,” she told me.

“It does?” I queried, trying vainly to visualize. “How does it do that?”

“With its head and neck,” I was told, and true it is. I asked Howie and he confirmed that he and Fred are in the habit of giving each other a hug when Howie collects the school bus each afternoon, if Fred decides to stroll down to the fence. I asked Howie when I might find them there, and happily witnessed a blissful hug of two true friends.

How doing?

Learning that Gail Heinz had surgery a week ago for a broken wrist, we checked to see how she’s doing. “I fell down playing tennis,” she said. “It was about a month ago. At least with the surgery I finally feel as though it’s getting better.” She was enjoying an island basketball game and sounded cheerful as always, and we would only add, at least she was doing something she loved when it happened. Glad you’re on the mend, Gail!

Jack Sisto is undergoing rehab in Newport, and would welcome cards and well-wishes. His address is Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center of Newport Hospital, Room 604, 20 Powell Avenue, Newport, RI 02840.

Good works

A word of thanks and praise for Block Island’s Prayer Shawl Ministry. This group of devoted knitters, organized on the island by Erica Tonner, make exquisite prayer shawls for those in need of comfort or healing or both. The shawls are imbued with prayers during and after the making, and blessed before they are given to the fortunate recipients. The words “Surely goodness and mercy” come to mind, and the island should be proud of, and grateful for, this fine ministry. Those who know of someone who would appreciate having a prayer shawl might wish to contact Erica.


Congratulations to the Reverend Dr. Lynne C. Holden and the Reverend Phyllis E. Hackett, who were united in a civil union at their home in Harmony, R.I. The happy pair were guests of honor at an island celebration party hosted by Margie and Bill Comings, Pat and Tom Doyle, and Sally and Paul Marte, at the Doyle home. Two elegant lasagnas, a champagne toast and homemade carrot cake were enjoyed by all as the wedding album was passed around and glasses raised to many years of happiness for the couple. Lynne is still a regular on the Block Island bridge tournament circuit, and the next day found her in her customary seat at the bridge table.

Happiest upcoming wedding anniversaries to Joan and Howard Ballard, celebrating their 57th on December 4; Rheba and Bill McKernan, December 5; Cheryl and Webb Moore, December 11.

A little riddle:

Someone got engaged last week,

But we’re not saying who.

He never speaks to columnists,

But he might speak to you!

Family matters

Before Thanksgiving, George Mellor informed us that Team Mellor would compete in the annual Turkey Trot. “Team members are my son, Ted, daughter-in-law, Jennifer, and granddaughters Mary (16), Sarah (13) and Catharine (9). Go Team!” he wrote with pride, and we hope the enterprising Mellors fared well and had fun (see first 50 results, page X).

Speaking of the Turkey Trot, we learned that Ruth Perfido completed the course this year. “I came in dead last! I walked the whole way,” she announced proudly, noting that super-fit Susan Bush was her companion for the event. “But you’d better check with her, she might not want people to know she was dead last, too!” cautioned Ruth.

Great sport Susan was on board, however. “It is a distinction being dead last,” she declared with a huge laugh, “and if you can’t be first you might as well be last!” The two had a lovely time, enjoying the beautiful weather and contentedly watching speedier folk who had started with them zip past on the way back to the finish line.

Ruth, by-the-bye, celebrated a very youthful 70 years on her birthday, 10/10/11 this year. Last year’s “perfect 10” birthday found her in Rome; this year, she and husband Leonard celebrated the occasion in Puglia, Italy.

We hope everyone had a splendid Thanksgiving! The holiday found your columnist in Fairfield, Connecticut, enjoying the feast day at the best family party imaginable. At the home of daughter and son-in-law Newell and Ron Carapezzi and grand-teenagers Grace and Ben, the roster of family present included Bobbie and Kip Reynolds with son CarlEvelyn Beck with daughter Kathy, and Charles Beck.

Of cake and candles

Happy birthdays to: Heather Skrocki Kyte December 2, the day this paper hits print; John Swienton and David Graham, December 6; Bill Pease, December 8; Joya Verde, December 10; Steve Mitchell, Sam Mott, Elisa Hundt and Jeffrey Smith, December 13; the famous Mary D and Thomas Maguire Szabo, December 14; Elva Derby, Nora Forbes, Molly Price and Micah Rondinone, December 15; Beth Gaffett Tengwall, December 16.

Let us know what’s happening! Visiting relatives, special occasions, updates on friends near and far, projects… Deadline is Tuesday morning, and Fran can be reached at 466-2892 or

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