Although it is only half over, May 2011 has been a surprisingly noteworthy month in Menemsha. Alec Gale created quite a stir when he dragged up a WWII ordinance believed to be a 40mm shell likely to have been used in some sort of anti-aircraft mission. He strolled into the Texaco with the curious piece of history. Marshall called Jonathan Klaren, the police officer on duty that day, who then sent friend and former Navy SEAL Tom Rancich a picture of the object. Tom secured the shell on the beach and it was guarded until the bomb squad arrived from off Island. It was wrapped in explosive and detonated around 7:30 that evening.
Two days later, Jeffrey Lynch and friends Will Farrissey and Mike Capen set his poles up with mackerel rigs and set off for the Head. They returned to the Texaco a couple of hours later with quite a story to tell. They had spotted a dead whale and decided to check it out. When they approached it, they saw more than just a whale. Their eyes fell on something that makes you think of Brody's line in "Jaws" — "You're gonna need a bigger boat." A great white shark, maybe 20 feet in length, was circling the whale. Jeff's story certainly prompted a flurry of phone calls and photos sent from one person to the next.
Later that same day, Emmett and Marshall Carroll took the trip up Vineyard Sound in the Kathie C. She had been hauled out at Gannon and Benjamin where the bottom was scraped and she was given a coat of the glossiest white paint I have ever seen. She sits in the harbor looking as good as she did the day she was splashed.
One other interesting Menemsha tidbit but perhaps not quite as exciting involves osprey. Last weekend the C White Marine crane lay dormant just as it has on prior weekends. Well, a pair of osprey caught sight of it and likely thought it was the most remarkable spot to make their nest — perched high above one of the most fertile fishing grounds the Island has to offer. The pair began gathering sticks and other high-quality nest-making materials. It was really taking form when the crew arrived back Monday morning. The dock project is on a tight schedule so the nest-making was put to a halt and the pair has gone off in search of a new location.
The second annual Ladies Luncheon held at the Chilmark Church began with a rough start. Ethel Sherman, with her kind heart and giving spirit, took a tumble that resulted in a broken hip. I continue to be amazed with her remarkable composure throughout the event. While awaiting the ambulance, Fran Flanders, a former EMT, got right back into EMT mode as she sat alongside Ethel. Great big well wishes go out to Ethel. You were certainly missed at lunch.
Since the food was on the tables and the ladies were already there, lunch continued after a few words were offered by Pam Goff in Ethel's honor. Sheila Price, Phyllis Conway, Bette Carroll, Fran Flanders, Valerie Murphy, Roberta Morgan, Ann Deitrich, Harriette Otteson, and Pam Goff were served by Julie Flanders, MaryBeth Grady, Janet Weidner, and me, until I got the call from school that Brooks was under the weather. If anyone knows how to clone themselves so you can be in two places at once, by all means do share your secret. Many thanks to Betsy Larsen for the delectable lobster rolls and to Chris Fischer for the soup. Yummy thanks to Mary Beth and Allison Berger for the sweetest of chocolates.
The Vineyard horse show season started Sunday with a Gymkhana. Two lovely second-grade girls from the Chilmark School participated in the event, which can be described as games on horse back. Bella Thorpe and Imogen Taylor rode to ribbons and had so much fun doing it.
On Wednesday, May 18, at 5:30 pm Isaiah Scheffer, our town shellfish constable, will be at the library to present an update of the town's efforts to restore populations of bay scallops, oysters, and quahogs.
Are you feeling hungry? Are you thinking of heading out on the town? Why don't you wait until Tuesday, May 17, and dine to donate at Sharky's. I think by now we all know just how generous JB Blau is and, yes, he is doing it again. This time the benefit will go to the Chilmark Preschool PTO and the Chilmark School PTO. Thank you in advance for helping fund the enrichment programs that help make these two schools unique.