West Tisbury


The Derby is over. West Tisbury was well represented with tired fishermen and many prizes among them. Tony Rezendes won Shore Bass with his 32.12-pound fish. Boat Bass winner was Stephen Pietrusca. My brother-in-law, Jared Hull, won Flyrod Shore False Albacore; he had held the lead with his 12.69-pound fish almost throughout the Derby. Patrick Jenkinson took Boat Albacore, and his son, Wyatt, “cleaned up” as Jared and Sue told us after the end-of-the-Derby party. Congratulations to you all, and my apologies to anyone I missed.

Linda Alley called to remind me about the first winter farmers’ market this Saturday, October 20, 10 to 1, at the Ag Hall. I love the way the market switches from hot dusty summer and lemonade to hot lunch in front of the fire. Kevin Keady will be playing music, tables will be piled with abundant displays, and everyone you know will be there.

There will be a memorial service for Eleanor Jensen Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock at the West Tisbury Church. Eleanor was Howard Wall’s mother and a lovely lady.

Jenn Doyle invites all kids (and grown-ups) to “Touch A Truck” at the Island Children’s School this Saturday morning from 10 to 1. John Keene will assemble a collection of his biggest dump trucks and bucket loaders, backhoes and bulldozers, all to raise money for a new playground at the school.

Move from the Island Children’s School off Old County Road to Lambert’s Cove Road for a pig and chicken roast at Run Amok Farm. Brian and Kate Athearn will be doing the cooking. It’s a fundraiser for their son Hunter’s 5th grade class trip on the Shenandoah. For $15 per person or $40 per family there will be plenty of food and plenty of fun, Saturday afternoon between 1:30 and 4:30 pm.

Joanne Scott saw a crocus in bloom on her morning walk, somewhere around the Littlefield house on State Road. I know there’s a patch of them there every spring. I’ve enjoyed watching Tucker Hubbell and his crew restoring that iconic house. It looks totally different without the porch. Or the blue shingles. I have learned that that blue-green color was quite common a hundred years ago on houses around town and the island.

I write regularly about our dogs. Boundless energy and enthusiasm have a way of commanding one’s attention. But this week, I want to pay tribute to our cat, Grace, who died Saturday morning. She went into Animal Health Care to have a bad tooth removed last spring, an emergency. Dr. Everett sent her home without the tooth, but with the probable diagnosis of a squamous cell cancer in her mouth. When the biopsy confirmed the diagnosis, we knew Grace wouldn’t have long to live. I just wanted her to be comfortable, to lie in the sun on our porch as the weather warmed. That was what she loved best. I thank her regular vet, Dr. Michelle Jasny, for giving her that time. And her own indomitable spirit.

Had I known when I brought her home, a soft gray powderpuff of a kitten, I would have named her Tenacity or Persistence. As it was, she became Grace. She was tiny, 6 ½; pounds at her peak, tough and self-possessed. She survived several attacks and woundings, hernias, and an enlarged heart that was supposed to finish her off over a year ago. Yet she endured. She allowed us to serve her but not to be too familiar. She was always herself.

By about age 12, she would allow me to pet her and she would follow me out to the studio or sit on the back of the sofa while I read or wrote. By 16, she had become my shadow instead of a shadow presence. She spent the last weeks of her life as close to me as she could get. Constantly. She seemed to need my attention, rubbing her head into my face and hands, sleeping next to me or on my chest. I could feel her body rise and fall with every breath as the cancer that would kill her raged unseen and unstoppable. I called her “Kitten,” as to me she still was. She seemed to be comfortable almost to the end, when she moved off the back of the sofa, to a shelf in the sunroom. No more petting and purring. She turned her back to me on Friday and stopped eating. I knew it was time.

She is buried in the back yard, next to her kitty pal, Rocket (Roger Clemens Hull), who she loved, and next to the Adirondack chair where I sit with my coffee on summer mornings. She used to sit on one of the chair’s wide arms, purring, butting my hand to rub her ears. The sun pours through an opening in the the rhododendron hedge at that spot. She will always sleep in a patch of sunlight, her favorite thing.

Rest in peace, Kitten.