Edgartown’s $3.5 million sparrows’ nest


To the Editor:

Sauntering down North Water Street, I couldn’t help but notice the historic Captain Warren House, next to the Edgartown Library. I recalled the wonderful family memories I experienced when it housed guests like me luxuriating among the magnificent flower gardens and the other pristine captains’ houses lining Edgartown Harbor.

I took pause to marvel at the now-dilapidated, paint peeling, wood rotting and leaking, overgrown eyesore and felt very sad. Then, something else caught my eye.

A family of sparrows peered at me from a hollowed out cave of dry rot above the stair stoop. The cute little birds started singing joyfully, and a Vineyard epiphany hit me like a bolt of Katama lightning.

The Captain Warren Inn is a $3.5 million bird house. Who would have had the foresight, other than Edgartown’s town government way back in September 2004, to invest in such a lovely home for our dear feathered friends?

A petty feeling came over me when I selfishly thought about how many meals on wheels for the elderly or the dozen or so affordable houses the town could have acquired for $3.5 million. I also felt ashamed when my mind’s eye envisioned how many library books, pencils, teacher salaries, police vehicles, harbormaster electronics, and trips to Disney World that mega-sum of taxpayer dollars could have purchased.

Yet, the sparrows were indeed happy living the good life. Thank goodness the hard-working people of Edgartown used to have a town government for the birds. Today, I am willing to bet that no other community is more tolerant or generous than the good folk of Edgartown. This philanthropy also includes the sparrow family who share their comfy digs with rats, skunks, moles, mice, and rabbits. Just imagine these cute critters nesting atop Claire Murray carpets and oriental rugs. How lovely.

I am awestruck that the residents of North Water Street have accepted the degradation of their neighborhood to provide a home for its endearing sparrows. If I may be so bold, please consider a fresh coat of white paint upon the bird house entrance. Bless you.

Paul Mellen