Everything looks replenished from the rain we had over the weekend. The rhododendrons and other evergreens in our yard have finally had a good drink, about an inch of water. I hope the wind won’t dry it all out. Now the ground is covered with leaves, bare branches making lace-like patterns in the woods outside our windows.
My friend Julie Kimball called Saturday to tell Mike and me that her husband, Penn, had died on Friday. We just talked a few minutes ago, telling stories and laughing together about funny things Penn said and did. I told her about the opening statement of John Early’s eulogy for John Cotterill several years ago. “If you never had an argument with John Cotterill, you never really knew him.” It seemed an apt comment for Penn, too.
Penn was brilliant and he loved to argue, to challenge and broaden our thinking by making us defend it. Dinner parties could be contentious. They were never dull. So many times over the past years I have wished I could hear Penn’s opinions about some latest outrage in the news. He was an excellent writer, a careful analyst of issues, a gifted teacher, a proud Liberal (capital L,) a killer tennis player, an avid Red Sox fan, a genial host, a thoughtful friend. His and Julie’s Christmas parties were always wonderful, Penn presiding, decked out in his red-and-green Christmas best jacket, sweater vest, and bow tie. His greatest pride was reserved for his students (although we all laugh that one was Pat Buchanan,) his wife, Julie, and his daughters, Lisa and Laura. I never knew his first wife, Janet, but Penn and Lisa always spoke so lovingly about her and their years in Westport. I’m sure Penn knew that the Red Sox won this year’s World Series.
There will be a gathering this summer when the family is on the Island. Penn’s ashes will be buried in Abel’s Hill cemetery. We will all have an opportunity to remember him, to share stories, to comfort his family. You will be remembered well, Penn, and well-missed.
Linda Alley invites everyone to “have fun and hang out with friends” at the next Winter Farmers’ Market this Saturday, November 16, 10 am to 1 pm, at the Ag Hall. Enjoy lunch by the fire and bring your holiday shopping list. You will find everything for a completely island-grown/raised Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, pies, condiments, baked goods, and the freshest winter vegetables will all be available this Saturday and the next.
The West Tisbury Library’s Community Poetry Reading is this Sunday, November 17, 4 to 5 pm, at the Bunch of Grapes Book Store. Poet Laureate Justen Ahren will host readers and listeners. All are welcome.
Also on Sunday is a Vineyard Artisans Sample Sale at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center from 11 am to 3 pm. There will be artwork, crafts, photography, a bake sale, and raffle.
Mother Goose on the Loose continues storytimes for infants and toddlers on Thursday mornings at 10:30 am. They meet this week at the Oak Bluffs Library, next Thursday, November 21 at the Vineyard Haven Library.
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has scheduled a forum in each island town, to discuss plans for their new facility and to seek input from the public. West Tisbury’s will be on Monday, November 18, 5:30 to 7 pm, at the West Tisbury Church. Chris Murphy will be the moderator.
The Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living will hold its annual meeting next Wednesday, November 20, 9:30 am, at the Tisbury Senior Center.
Cheryl Stark and Margery Meltzer invite everyone to look at their newly-designed website: cbstark.com.
The 2014 Vineyard Colors calendar is out, available in town at Alley’s and Conroy’s, or online. Besides gorgeous photography, this year’s calendar includes a monthly verse by Dan Waters.
The West Tisbury Cemetery looks beautiful, decked out for Veterans Day with American flags and the bright red leaves of the double row of pear trees lining the drive in. Brian Athearn was busy on Sunday, with help from his boys and some of their friends, placing flags on the graves of veterans. Thanks for your efforts. They are noticed and most appreciated.