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  •     Catherine O’Neill, who helped found the Women’s Refugee Commission in 1989 and in a long career had worked for the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund among other notable organizations, died on Dec. 26 at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 70 and had had cancer for 12 years.

  •    There’s no doubt that the story was highly exaggerated, but when I was a child I heard it said my grandmother was so strong that she had once carried a claw-foot bathtub in her arms. I tend to believe that statement was metaphorical, perhaps derived from an old Yiddish folk tale or saying, but as a child I believed it as fact.

  •    Sitting in the living room last week, I enjoyed the warmth and dance of a fire in the fireplace as I began reading “Team of Rivals,” the book by Doris Kearns Goodwin on which the film “Lincoln” was based, a Christmas present. It, too, had something to say about fires.

  •    It may seem funny, but I sometimes think the nicest part of my day, at least on those days when I have to work, is the walk between the house and the office. The few moments it takes to stroll the 250 feet to or from The Star, absorbing whatever the weather is and looking at the sky, keep me happy.

  •    The Edwards tradition of cutting a white pine from their own Northwest wood lots for a Christmas tree goes back to the time Christmas trees first became popular among East Hampton’s old-fashioned Presbyterians.

  •     Leon Jaroff was a man who did not suffer fools gladly. A senior editor at Time magazine, in charge at different times of its science, medicine, environment, and behavior sections, he wrote some 44 Time cover stories and a column for the magazine called “Skeptic Eye.” He was 85 when he died at his Further Lane, East Hampton, residence on Oct. 20, having been in declining health for some time. A memorial gathering was held at the Time-Life Building in Rockefeller Center on Nov. 29.

  •    Gathering up children’s clothes and winter coats for East End Cares to distribute among those whose belongings were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, brought me up short. It is true that three current generations of our family have lived in my house, but, even so, the amount of clothes we have accumulated — and hold on to — is out of line.

  •    That the South Fork is part of the greater metropolitan area rather than the rural place we used to think it was has become almost impossible to deny. You get the message from conspicuous consumption, both in the size and shape of many new houses and in the boutiques that have turned East Hampton’s Main Street into Madison Avenue East. But you also get the message by simply taking note of all the millions of special events you can participate in on any given jam-packed weekend.
        Take Saturday, for example.

  •    More than 43 million Americans are said to have traveled at least 50 miles to celebrate Thanksgiving, and among them were four members of our family, including two grandchildren, who live in Nova Scotia. Two other grandkids were in Tennessee visiting other relatives for the long weekend, but it was a grandmother’s dream come true, nevertheless, having so many gathered here at one time. The feast at our house, with 14 adults and seven kids — from 2 to 11 — was all that it’s supposed to be (at least according to Norman Rockwell).

  •    My gal pal and I spent almost the whole hour it takes us to walk from the Star office to Main Beach and back on Monday talking about — what else — food.  Not food in general, of course, but specific to our Thanksgiving tables.