Greetings dear readers and kind friends and welcome back for our Solstice-Christmas-First day of Winter visit here on the Front Porch, where we are keeping our eyes on the skies for the "Great Conjunction," celebrating longer days of light, and sending you all the love and joy your hearts can hold. Yes, Merry Christmas, dear readers, and more than ever, best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year!

Let's begin this week with a warm, sincere salute to all our "Front-Line" and "Essential" workers; the doctors, nurses, CNAs and hospital employees; the grocery store clerks, gas station workers, postal workers and delivery folks; the teachers and preachers and others who have made it possible for the rest of us to safely sequester. How encouraging it was to see our noble nurse friends like Tricia Barber and Jackie Desmond "CRUSHCOVID," get vaccinated and share their photos. As the fabulous RN Deidre Crowley Miguel posted under Jackie's photo post-vaccine; "Team player!!!" Yes, indeed! As I mentioned last week, this is "the initial step toward the goal of inoculating enough Americans by spring to finally halt the spread of the virus."

And now on to more happy news, a belated bunch of good wishes to the lovely Erin Hirschorn, who married her longtime sweetheart, Sergio Cherenzia, back in August in a ceremony officiated by Ed Morrone that was "short and sweet" with a small, intimate COVID-19 appropriate ceremony held afterwards at Maria's Seaside Café. Felicitations, dear ones!  

One of last week's Tweets of the Week was from Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who tweeted out a thank you to local fave Billy Gilman for his "inspiringly beautiful rendition of our national anthem at the 2020 Electoral College!" (See it at http://ritv.devosvideo.com/show?video=d1798b58793a&apg=c7e3a6c7.)

Speaking of music, here's some wonderful news from our friends at the Chorus of Westerly. A one-hour radio program of "Christmas Pops," hosted by Ryan Saunders and Andrew Howell, will air several time this week and there are other exciting musical programs in store. Make sure to visit the chorus website and Facebook page to keep abreast of all the good news!

It's always a treat to hear from Front Porch friend Roberta Mudge Humble. Last week, Roberta not only reminded us of her new intriguing-sounding game (perfect for last-minute shoppers) on sale at the armory (see photo at right), but she reminded us that "Rhode Island Spotlight" featuring the Westerly Armory will be aired on WSBE TV, Rhode Island PBS, several times this week. Check the TV schedule!

I was tickled to hear from my friend John Coduri (the 2019 Dante Society Person of the Year, former chairman of the board of trustees of the Babcock-Smith House and a longtime leader with both the local and national YMCA), who had more history to add to my tidbit about The Sun's new home at 90 High St., which was previously owned by Robert Utter, whose family founded The Westerly Sun newspaper in 1892. The building, John said, "was originally owned by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Trotman. In 1929 the Westerly YMCA, current owners of 90 High St., purchased an option for the property for the site of a future YMCA Building. However, in 1937, when the former Dr. Lewis property at 95 High St., then owned by the Westerly Hospital, became available for purchase, the Trotmans released the Y from the option so that the YMCA could purchase 95 High St. which was a larger lot with much more street frontage. Just another 'full circle' for the 90 High St. property related the the YMCA." Thank you John and Merry Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Several weeks ago, after I wrote an article about the amazing trio of chefs working together at Sandy's Fine Food Emporium (Eric Perrin, Dave Miguel and Joe Collins). I got to thinking about the tidbits I learned while interviewing the chefs and owner Jim Godiess, but was unable to fit into the story, so I wanted to share a few things, like the fact that Sam Cofone, who founded Sandy's Fruit Company with his brother, the late Mickey Cofone, decided to retire. One of our favorite Sandy's employee of all time (along with Mickey, of course, and Bob and Ellie Hoffman, John Austin and cousin Lauren Collins), Sam is truly irreplaceable and I will miss his kindness and special care. While I know many of Sandy's loyal customers will also miss him sorely,  I'm sure they'll join me in feeling delighted that he and Lois will have more time together and with their daughter, Michele, and her family. Thank you, Sam and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thanks also to my beautiful niece, Taraneh Aisling Bond, who shared another suggestion for our Front Porch "Find the Joy, then Spread It" program, another way to brighten the lives of others during a pandemic. "I have a friend," Tara told me, "who helps the Elf on the Shelf notice whenever her daughters perform acts of kindness, then the two of them write notes to the little girls, applauding them for their good work!" I like it, I say!  

Merry Christmas, dear readers, remember to mask up, wash your hands, stay safe, be kind, and ciao bella!

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