West Tisbury

Three mildish days last week and everyone I know is up to their eyeballs in seed catalogues and garden plans. Green tips of daffodils are pushing just above the ground in a sunny spot behind our house. It’s time to cut forsythia branches to force into bloom for Groundhog Day, a tradition I began years ago following the example of Dionis Riggs at her early Groundhog Day open house parties.

I am sad to report the passing of Catherine DeVito last week. She was bright, interesting, involved in her family and the world around her. My sincere condolences to Al, their family, and all whose lives she touched.

Joan Merry and Don Lyons left last Friday to spend several weeks in Africa. They hope to see okapis (a frequent crossword puzzle word; my Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a large browsing animal of the giraffe family that lives in the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, having a dark coat with stripes on the hindquarters and upper legs”) the Kalahari Desert, and the Okrango Delta in Botswana. Then they will return to their “favorite haunt,” as Joni calls Zimbabwe, to purchase new sculptures for their Gossamer Gallery. While they are away, friend and gallery artist Gordon Melbye is staying at their house with their cat, Winslow.

West Tisbury School principal and member of the Marine Corps Reserves, Michael Halt, is once again heading to Afghanistan. He was given a going-away breakfast at the school, an opportunity for students and staff to wish him well. He expects to be overseas approximately 13 months. We all hope for his safe return.

My friend Betty Haynes was arm-deep in a pot of mussels yesterday afternoon when Mike and I stopped by on our way home from a beach walk with our dogs. Bill and their visiting nephew, Brian Lewis, had gone up to Menemsha earlier in the afternoon to gather mussels for an impromptu family dinner for 14, soon to be happening. Wayne Iacono was bringing lobsters to add to the menu. The celebration was in honor of Brian, newly promoted to Ensign Air Bos’n. He is currently taking officer’s training in Newport, R.I., before moving to San Diego, Calif. There he will be in charge of firefighting, salvage, and recovery operations on the USS Nimitz. Brian explained this all to me while Bill and Betty were counting available chairs, so I hope I got all the information written down correctly. Betty was laughing at the size of the scrap of paper I was trying to write on.

Joanne Scott will be the guest speaker at the West Tisbury Library’s Health and Wellness Series talk about “Chakras: what they are, how they work, and what they do?” She will include information about self-healing, as well. The program is this Saturday, Jan. 23, at 4 pm. All are welcome to attend this free event.

State Road Restaurant is closing this weekend for repairs, rest, and recreation. I am already having limpopo withdrawal just knowing it’s coming. One of my favorite ways to spend an hour of a morning is to sit in one of their sunny windows drinking coffee, eating a warm limpopo, reading the New York Times, and seeing who walks in. It feels kind of cosmopolitan, like I imagine the streets of Paris, or my favorite haunt from my NYC art school days, O’Neal’s, a cafe across from Lincoln Center in the 1960s that had tables arranged in similarly sunny windows, ideal for coffee drinking and people-watching. Anyway, I was assured by State Road staff that limpopos freeze beautifully and can be gently warmed to approximate their previous selves. I guess that will have to do for the next few weeks as far as eating them goes. My other preoccupation, painting limpopos and other bakery items arranged on footed cake stands, or on tables as part of still life set-ups, will continue unaffected. I learned from earlier paintings that they can look quite the same for some while, awaiting the perfect brushstroke.