January in Montauk has its own beauty. Saturday evening after dark I reluctantly obey the bidding of my dog, to venture out for his evening constitutional.Our tracks, along with a lone set of tire marks, are the first to mar the fallen snow. How astonishingly beautiful it is, so quiet I can hear the whisper of snowflakes hitting the ground. Wind rustles through reeds. In the house at the end of the street cheerful lights brighten the windows. A young family now lives there year-round. We head back. Snow scrunches pleasantly underfoot on the brick path and then we’re back inside where it’s warm.
Montauk has been engulfed twice by polar vortexes. This year is the first I’ve heard of this phenomenon. The word vortex has an ominous ring, like something one can’t escape.
I worry about the two feral cats who must have hidey-holes under roots or stumps in the woods. On clear cold nights, but not when there’s snow, one or the other cat sleeps inside the box by the chimney. The cats will not share the box or huddle for warmth. Recently my dog “Chance” noticed a sound from the woods as we walked along the road. A cat followed us, meowing.
The long haired tuxedo cat approaches when food is offered, close enough we can touch him. He then jumps back as though from electric shock and seems extremely indignant. The other tortie cat, male, we know for sure, won’t allow us anywhere near. He’s the vocalist who followed alongside the road.
I met Jeanine Marmeno at Atlantic Beach Realty where Jeanine helps with bookkeeping. Jeanine succeeded in taming a feral cat by sitting on the ground to proffer a nice slice of ham on numerous occasions. Eventually, she said, the cat learned to take ham right from her hand. It took Jeanine much time and patience. She brought the cat to a vet for shots. The cat now lives inside at least part of the time. Jeanine showed me a photo of this cat and Peaches, another rescue, napping together on a cozy quilt.
More amazing, Jeanine’s cat Peaches talks! Jeanine shared a video, where the orange and gray striped calico repeated after her, “I love you”! It was a fine meow imitation, good pitch and inflection. Peaches, along with the rest of her litter, was rescued by Mary Persan of Montauk’s Strawberry Fields. Sometimes Ms. Persan has homeless kittens at her shop, in a cage right next to her lovely flowers. I’ve been tempted.
This time of year Montauk is quiet. So quiet. “You could drag a body across the road and no one would notice,” quoted from Bonnie Archer, fellow chorister and quipster at Montauk Community Church.
At the annual Congregational Meeting at the church on Sunday. committees reported progress and the 2014 church budget was swiftly approved by vote. It’s a stroke of genius to follow the meeting with a delicious potluck lunch.
Tooling about on the internet recently I noted Gurney’s Inn promotes Montauk as the perfect place for a wedding. I put our excellent and relatively (one and a half years duration) new pastor, Reverend Bill Hoffmann, on the spot when I noted in the Pastor’s Report that Rev. Hoffmann performed only three marriages at Montauk Community Church in 2013. Could this be a typo?
Pastor Bill explained they receive “tons of requests” for him to perform wedding ceremonies at Montauk Community Church. He explained he spends at least five hours in pre-marital discussions with each couple. Many couples want to marry here, just because it’s Montauk. Typically the couples decline because it’s not feasible, he said, for them to participate in the required discussions when long distance travel is involved. “Weddings happen here, regardless,” he said.
Later, Pastor Bill, a man of steadfast convictions, received a hearty round of applause for all his accomplishments here in so short a time.
On Friday night, January 31, at 7 p.m., the Montauk Community Church Coffeehouse resumes in the church Guild Room. Sarah Conway, who often performs at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, will lead, along with Christine Cadarette and special guest Randy Parsons. Come for an hour of live music in a warm relaxing space. There’s no fee for admission. A freewill donation is suggested.
Sighted with pleasure at Community Church for the past several weeks was Virginia Adams, here on a visit from Alaska with husband Jonathan Edwards. Their son Gabriel remained in Alaska where he attends college in Fairbanks.
Chris Coleman reported the Montauk School lower grade basketball team he coaches beat Bridgehampton School last week. In church, Mr. Coleman refrained from excessive boasting. I know basketball is very important at the Bridgehampton School.
Chrissy Herbert has received a special request for a sizable green rag rug to be woven on the church loom. Ms. Herbert would appreciate donations of new or gently used cotton cloth, particularly in shades of green. Please leave donations in the brand new shed at back of the church.
This week’s movie on Thursday evening, at 7 p.m. at the Montauk Library will be, “Fruitvale Station,” rated R, 85 minutes. This is the true story of Oscar Grant, shot by police on New Year’s Day in 2008. The film received the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The Friends of the Library hosts this free event with light refreshments and time for discussion to follow.
The annual Friends of the Montauk Library Pot Luck Supper will be held on Saturday, February 1, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Montauk Firehouse. The supper is a great opportunity to get together, eat, meet and catch up with many people. You’re welcome to join the friends by picking up a membership remittance envelope at the library, also available on the night of the Pot Luck Supper. The yearly membership fee is $10 for individuals, $15 for families and $5 for seniors.
If attending the potluck for the first time, please bring a main course, or salad, vegetable or dessert. Prepare servings for at least six people; you may bring guests, but be sure to bring additional servings.
“Play Time” for grownups continues Wednesday, January 29, at 4 p.m. It’s a reason to leave your cabin for board games, conversation and good company at the library.
Take Your Child to the Library Day is Saturday, February 1, from noon to 4 p.m. Stop in at the children’s room with your kids for crafts and games for all ages. Free of charge.
Please call the library at 668-3377 before venturing out in extreme weather. Ice and snow likely cancel events.
Those interested in Zumba for first-and second-graders, after school at Montauk School, can contact Joy Hear at 668-1327, or Jackie at 668-6416, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Maureen Rutkowski at Montauk Youth assures they’ll do their best to get back to you.
An old-fashioned hot water bottle is an innovative way to stay warm on extremely chilly nights. Make sure the cork is secure. Then place the bottle under the quilts about 15 minutes before you plan to retire for the night. Wishing you all a great week and stay warm!