West Tisbury


I looked up the Declaration of Independence and puttered around online, reading about the history lessons I have forgotten. Rereading the wording and logical arguments of that document was truly moving, and I suggest that you all read it, too.

Fourth of July was a special holiday in our home. It was my Nana’s birthday. She would always come to visit, and I can remember cuddling up next to her watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” on the Million Dollar Movie or The Early Show, having her tell me that, like George M. Cohan, she had believed the parades and fireworks were all to celebrate her birthday. As she was the most special and loved person in my world, I could easily imagine it was true.

My parents had a big family picnic that day with traditional hot dogs and hamburgers. All my great aunts and uncles would come, and lots of cousins spanning several generations. Lawn chairs and tables spread across the yard. Both my parents were home at the same time and my Daddy was just in rolled up shirtsleeves instead of his usual suit and tie. I’m so lucky to have those memories, probably little different than most small town children of the 1950s. Not so different than now, perhaps, as most of the Island goes to Edgartown for the parade and/or fireworks, and barbecues in backyards or on the beach remain the norm.

Don’t forget the library, town hall, and post office will all be closed for the holiday.

I worked at the polls last week. Every half-hour, Norm Perry put up the vote count and percentage of the electorate who had voted. It felt very exciting to see that 838 West Tisbury voters, 34.53 percent of 2,427 registered, came to vote, despite predictions of a low turnout statewide. Congratulations to our new Senator Markey and congratulations, too, to Mr. Gomez for running. It was exciting to see so many first-time voters; there seemed a lot of 18-year-olds learning what to do. Lots of young children in their parents arms, too.

Karen Overtoom and her daughters, Olivia and Michelle DeGeofroy, arrived just in time to vote. They had come from the West Tisbury Church, where Olivia performed her solo senior violin concert.

Karen Colineri and I worked together, giving us an opportunity to catch up and visit between voters. Karen is rightly proud that her daughter, Nikki Galland, has just published her latest historical novel, “Godiva.” Nikki will be speaking and signing her book at the Grange Hall on Wednesday, July 10, at 5:30 pm. It is part of the Library Foundation’s Speakeasy Series, just moved to another location. The cost is $25, and there will be refreshments served. For reservations, call 508-693-3489. Visit wtlibraryfoundation.org for more information.

Besides the story of “Godiva,” Nikki plans to speak about “the bigger picture, the writing process in general, going from being a story-teller in the theater to being a story-teller of fiction.” She also mentioned her history with the West Tisbury Library, adding she might be the only Speakeasy speaker who actually grew up with the West Tisbury Library, who remembers being taken there as a child “before we had library cards.” Nikki is a grand story-teller and I am eager to attend this program. And to read her book.

The Shaw Cramer Gallery will host their first Artists’ Reception this Friday evening, July 5, from 6 to 8 pm. West Tisbury artists are: Leslie Baker, Laurene Kraasny Brown, Hermine Hull, Ruth Kirchmeier, Julia Mitchell, and Marie-Louise Rouff. At 6 pm Tuesday evening, July 9, Leslie and I will give an artists’ talk about our work. The gallery is located upstairs at 56 Main Street, Vineyard Haven.

The July 6 Farmers’ Market will be open an extra hour this weekend, from 9 am to 1 pm. “Just for this weekend,” says market manager Linda Alley.

Saturday is also the kick-off to the library’s 2013 Summer Reading Program. Singer-songwriter Vanessa Trien will sing folk songs beginning at 11 am at the Ag Hall. There will be face-painting one half hour before and after the performance. Tickets are $3; face-painting is $1.

Kara Taylor’s first Artist’s Reception in her new up-Island space is this Sunday, July 7, from 5 to 8 pm. She is in the former Stan Murphy/Gossamer Gallery building on South Road. Her new paintings of trees and woodlands will be featured.

Lynne Whiting stopped by my studio, bringing her sister, Laurie Francoise, who is visiting from Utah. Lynne loaned me a wonderful tablecloth I had admired and want to use in a painting. She also reminded me about the small gathering she and Allen planned for Sunday evening, marking the official opening of the Davis House Gallery for this season. The gallery is now open Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 6 pm, for July and August.

I still don’t feel like it’s July. June passed quickly and quietly. Rose petals are falling to the ground beneath bushes that were heavily-flowered. Must be all the rain. Everything appears lush beyond remembering.

Between taking down a big tree this spring and all the rain we have had, our daylilies are blooming more abundantly than ever. They came from some thinnings from Danny Prowten’s yard maybe 20 years or so ago and have spread from a modest patch to a huge ribbon that divides our side yard. Without the tree, they appear more vibrantly orange. I have tried to get purple adenophora established with them, having loved that combination since seeing it in Trudy Goff’s garden in Edgartown when I first moved to the Island. For a reputedly invasive plant, it resists my best efforts to flourish where I really want it.

Sue Hruby sent me a column written by her cousin, Tim Schwebach, for his local paper in Dell Rapids, South Dakota. The following is from it. “What better place to celebrate the liberty and freedom of America than on a farm? After all, our country was founded as a rural, agricultural entity.”

We are lucky to live on rich farm and pasture land in West Tisbury, lucky that it allows us to be more independent than folks in many places, that it keeps us anchored to the weather, the seasons, and the land.