The week before Thanksgiving was truck day. Well, you might argue, the whole week wasn’t technically truck day, but it pretty much felt like it. I had four days on the mainland, each full with a list of things to get done before an extended stretch of insular hunkering. Also, there was this truckload of freight to assemble, every crumb of which might contribute to somebody’s happiness.

I took my haz-mat exam at Motor Vehicles and renewed my driver’s license early while I was in Rockland anyway (kudos, by the way, to the folks at the Rockland BMV for being so organized and so … clean). I got a mammogram. I got my paperwork notarized. I snuck in a quick flight of the mighty Cessna Skyhawk, around the pattern a couple of times and up and down the peninsula. I stocked up on coffee beans and welding rod and bird seed and the ingredients to make baklava.

Out came the yellow pad, to note everywhere I went, just in case of any phone calls from contact tracers. By the time this mad circuit was complete the list would be three pages long. In some places I doubled up on the caution, and wore both cloth mask and face shield, as I have the habit of touching my face a lot. Such redundancy reminded me of the “belt-and-suspenders man,” the classic old-timer who is loath to take chances.

I made two short (rather than one long) visits to my mom’s in South Thomaston and remain deeply grateful for friends Jennie and Jacob who provide her with so much backup, help, and moral support. Yeah, I wore my extra safety gear to her place and sat still in my chair — no wandering around her home, no messing with anything. My relatives were all planning micro-Thanksgivings this year, so we connect when it falls right.

Likewise, I enjoyed two visits with our daughter, the first on Brunswick Maine Street near her workplace, where we were grateful for Portland Pie and for Gelato Fiasco still accommodating diners outdoors. We did not hug; she teaches small children and has promised her employer she would keep distance, reliably and faithfully. A few days later in Rockland, we ate at Café Miranda out beside the fire ring, and then headed to the rink at Midcoast Recreation Center to skate. There was only one fellow besides us on the ice. I recommend it.

By the end of the day before the November 19th ferry — the last state vehicle ferry for a month to Matinicus — my island-bound U-Haul was heavy with comfort and winter prep for a handful of islanders. Somebody was getting an extra freezer. There were 50 lb. bags of flour and sugar, jugs of molasses, and lard in which to fry doughnuts. There were two kerosene heaters, antifreeze, assorted propane fittings, and 500 lbs. of chicken grain (meaning fresh eggs around the neighborhood come spring). There was Chinese food from both Camden Island and Hong Kong Island. Also, cranberries and oranges, and a turkey. Heavy cream. Rum.

But the truck’s main load was the lumber to build the interior of our soon-to-be children’s library. The pine shelving and tongue-and-groove really is something to feel good about, a symbol of hope about the future of this community and everybody’s efforts toward the happiness of our littlest islanders, and a reminder that we “can have nice things.” As I write this (a couple of days before Thanksgiving) the electrician is wiring the little building now, and the carpenter is ready to start insulating.

So looking back, a thumbs up and thanks, here in public, to restaurants that are still willing to maintain tables outdoors, cold weather be damned. Warm appreciation to local businesses where a “regular” might get called by name, like at Viking Lumber, the Country Inn, Rock City Cafe, Eastern Tire, and the ferry terminal. Thanks also to the places still open in the late afternoon, like Atlantic Baking Company with their array of goodies, because sometimes it’s a big deal during that unprofitable part of the day between lunch and supper when a lot of places are closed. When you cannot just go home, a hot cup to warm the fingers is no small thing. My gluttonous side thanks Ada’s Kitchen and Flatbread for their tasty pizzas, because a good handmade pizza is probably my favorite restaurant meal “out.” Come spring, one hopes, draft beer in a glass besides.

Walking out of a grocery store in my double layer of facial PPE, I did spot an actual belt-and-suspenders man. This gentleman, of some estimable age, wore a fat belt like would hold up a rock climber and bright suspenders worthy of any firehouse. I grinned at him, from behind my face shield and mask, but I doubt he could tell.