West Tisbury

Our living room looks like an annex of SBS’s cat and dog toy section. Between “Auntie Leslie” and “Auntie Sue,” I think Porter has every toy ever invented to stimulate the imagination and reflexes of a growing kitten.

Grace didn’t care much for toys. Her favorite was some twigs tied to the end of a piece of curling ribbon that my cousin’s children made when she was a kitten. I buried it with her. Porter, on the other hand, is attracted by everything. If it moves, he’s on it.

I don’t remember being so focused on observing how a kitten learns, but Porter has provided an unending lesson. Mike and I watched him figuring out how to climb a tree (the easy part) then figure out how to come down. We were out stacking cordwood, watching him get so far up the tree, turn around, start to come down, then stop. After several tries, he finally realized he had to come down backwards. Watching him, we could almost see the gears turning in his brain. This past week he has mastered the cat flap. Tentative, then gradually more confident. Looking through it. Standing up looking over it. Coming in was easy, but for some reason going out was a different matter. He is in and out now, independent, a growing-up cat instead of a little kitten.

Tom Hodgson found the first snowdrops blooming, as he usually does, in a sheltered spot along Music Street. It’s so early, but I guess I’ll have to go out to look in my early spots. It’s been so mild, in the 40s during the days. Hazy, warm air lays over the landscape like a soft mantle. We still haven’t had a decent snow yet.

Karen Ogden and Linda Habekost were off Island last weekend with their dogs to Masterpiece Dog Training in Franklin. Julia Humphreys and Katie Upson went along to cheer on Karen’s Australian shepherd, Nolan, who won his Rally Excellence Title, and Linda’s golden retriever, Navie, who took Rally Advanced. They are trying to decide whether to continue to the next level, a ten-week commitment that becomes more difficult and expensive when traveling by boat is involved. Congratulations for your achievements so far.

You don’t have to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in inaugural festivities for President Obama’s second term. Two parties are planned on the Island. The first is at Grace Church on Sunday evening, January 20, beginning at 6 pm. “Vineyard formal” is the requested dress for dinner and cocktails by Park Corner Bistro, followed by dancing to Mike Benjamin’s band. Joan Merry is decorating. The $125 person is also a benefit to raise money to replace flooring in parts of the church. Advance reservations are requested. Please send to PO Box 1197, Vineyard Haven, 02568.

Monday, January 21, the second inaugural ball will be held in more typical Vineyard style at the Chilmark Community Center, although “Vineyard formal” is the requested dress here, too. The party begins at 7 pm, costs $10 at the door, and attendees are asked to bring a favorite finger food and beverage to share. The Martha’s Vineyard Democrats are hosting the party. Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will provide the dance music. They are looking for volunteers to help set up and clean up. If interested, please email warrendoty@verizon.net or mooreii@aol.com. Binnie Ravitch is the contact person for general information, at 508-693-2421 or binnie1946@gmail.com. “Come help us celebrate and start the New Year bright.”

The library’s Monday and Friday story time, Mother Goose on the Loose, is moving from the old library to the second floor conference room in Town Hall. The program still begins at 10:30 am. It still meets at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services on Tuesdays. Thursdays are as follows: January 17, 31, and February 14 at the Oak Bluffs Library; January 24, February 7 and 21 at the Vineyard Haven Library.

Community suppers continue at the West Tisbury Church every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 7 pm. Marjorie Pierce suggests that everyone interested invite a neighbor to come along with you, to help make it a true gathering of our community. Feel free to bring a side dish or dessert to share, or just bring yourself. Marjorie’s comment, that it would be nice to come to the church and have dinner with company, sounds appealing. Do come.

Mike and I were out to lunch at the airport last week, when Dan Larsen come in with his two daughters, Natalie and Isabella. I enjoyed watching father and daughters eating and laughing together. It reminded me of similar occasions with my own dad, going out together, feeling like the most special girl in the world. I said to Dan, “No one will ever adore you the way your girls do.” Of course, no one will ever adore us the way our dads did either. Still, it made me feel very happy.