West Tisbury


Green and white tips of snowdrops-to-come have appeared in clumps around my yard. Daffodils, too, and daylilies are showing, as we enjoyed a mild week. I had some early chives in a warm spot in my kitchen garden, but Nanuk decided to sunbathe there, leaving a cozy hole and the remains of my chives, now carefully replanted. It’s cold again and will continue on awhile.

Joanne Scott invited a small group for Sunday afternoon tea to celebrate Marie-Louise Rouff’s birthday. We shared chocolate cake and catching-up stories of our winter’s progression. The funniest was when Marie-Louise and Kanta Lipsky compared notes (Kanta’s story appeared in the Gazette) about mouse invasions in their houses. Both artists, they suspected the same mice returned nightly after being let loose from Have-A-Heart traps in the morning, so they started marking them with spots of paint from their studios. The mice were proved to be the same. Marie-Louise said her problem was solved after my husband, her carpenter, plugged up holes where they got in.

I have written repeatedly about my new kitten, Nelson, who is into everything and won’t stop biting me. It seems a not-uncommon problem. Every time I see Richard Knabel, he consoles me that time may solve the problem. His newest kitten is getting better as she gets older. I can only hope.

My problems pale compared to those of Dan Waters and Hal Garneau, proud owners of three Tonkinese kittens, now seven months old. Dan said, “I don’t know why we had our house renovated, then invited a demolition crew in.” He and Hal love their kittens and have a tolerant attitude towards their antics. Toby, Jasper, and Simon definitely run the show, “extremely affectionate, endlessly entertaining and challenging, put on earth to remind humans they are not in charge.” Toby, who can open a sliding door with no handle by himself, has a game where he tries to get behind the refrigerator. Dan pulls him out by the tail, the only accessible part of the cat, making him attach himself to Dan’s arm and bite down. Dan accepts this with good grace. “The only thing to do is to peel the cat off as gently as possible.”

I remember telling someone when Porter was a kitten that he had been put on earth to teach me how to be playful. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be learning from Nelson. Endurance? Acceptance? A higher pain threshold? I persevere.

Welcome home to Megan Mendenhall, who has returned from a trip to Costa Rica. She and her cousin Lily travelled and camped, visiting different sites for three or four day stays. Their most interesting experience was climbing up a volcano, dormant or extinct, that Megan said was remarkably green inside. Beside that, they saw “lots of monkeys.” Megan is teaching at the West Tisbury School, her alma mater.

The West Tisbury Library has enlisted Donald Nitchie to run a free winter poetry workshop for six poet-participants. They will meet every Tuesday, from February 18 to March 25, 5:30–7 pm. The group will focus on critique. Intermediate and advanced writers are asked to pre-register at the library: 508-693-3366 or programs@westtisburylibrary.org.

The library also wants to remind anyone needing to apply for or renew a passport that it can be done there. Prep includes getting your picture taken at Mosher’s or the UPS Store, checking out information on www.travel.state.gov, and making an appointment at the library.

West Tisbury School 4th graders will perform “Shakespeare Strikes Back” at the Chilmark Community Center this weekend on Friday, January 24, at 6 pm and Saturday, January 25, at 4:30. Performances are free. Please bring a non-perishable food donation for the Island Food Pantry.

Lynn Ditchfield announces new classes for ACE MV this February. On Saturday, February 1, she and Susan Klein begin teaching “Arts in Global Education,” a 3-credit college level undergraduate and graduate course through Fitchburg State University. Alice Robinson offers ServSafe Food Sanitation Training beginning February 4, and another for recertification. There is also Spanish, GED prep, Relaxed Body/Open Mind/Deep Rest at the Yoga Barn, and a Valentine’s Day cooking class. Call 774-310-1131 or look at the website, www.acemv.org.

As temperatures dip to record lows, you might consider buying a raffle ticket to win 100 gallons of fuel oil or 100 gallons of propane. It’s a benefit to Save the Gay Head Light. Tickets are available at down-island Cronig’s on January 25 and 31 and February 1, 1 to 4 pm. Beverly Wright will draw the winning ticket on February 1.

Some sad losses for West Tisbury with the passing of David Franklin, Sonny Jackson, and Jonathan Revere. All well-known both in town and Island-wide, they will be missed. My condolences to their families, their many friends and admirers.