West Tisbury: flowers blooming


Sprigs of forsythia are blooming in vases around my house, bringing spring inside earlier than it appears on these still gray, cold mornings. The wind whips through the dogs’ fur on our walks. For us, layers of sweaters, coats, gloves, and hats remain the norm.

The cornus mas is putting on quite a show in front of Middletown Nursery. Canada geese have been gleaning barren appearing fields and paddling through the Mill Pond. The days are noticeably longer, light skies till well past 6 o’clock.

As I look around my own garden, I see many reminders of Donnie Mills, gardener and plantsman, who died last week. Donnie ran a wonderful nursery at the old Farmer Green’s, now Fiddlehead Farm, the yard and greenhouses filled every spring and summer. He and his mom, Esther, presided over my favorite Palm Sunday destination, handing out marigolds and cookies to all attendees. My rhubarb, oft-divided now, was a gift from Don. Many of the perennials in my garden. I was just learning in those days, and Don was a patient and eager teacher. My condolences to his family and many friends.

I invited Cynthia Walsh and Jaime Hamlin to tea last week. Jaime’s cat, Maisey, is Nelson’s mother. It was about time that the Hamlin sisters, who brought Nelson and me together, got to see the no-longer-so-little fellow. At six months old, he already weighs almost eight pounds.

Jaime was barely inside the doorway when Nelson attached himself to her. He seemed to remember her familiar smell of mother and home. He sat nestled against her through the entire visit, biting her with the great affection that had previously been reserved for me. Fortunately, Jaime adored him, too. We had our tea and a marmalade cake I made; it seemed the appropriate accompaniment for viewing a marmalade cat. Talley and Nan were both home that afternoon. Cynthia remembered their stories from her volunteering at the animal shelter. As Jaime and Cynthia left, the dogs climbed up onto the sofa with Nelson, spreading golden orange fur from end to end.

Keston and Emily Smith brought their young son Gideon to see the fire trucks at Station 2 on Sunday morning. Gideon got a full tour from the assembled firemen after radio/truck checks were completed.

Jared Hull and Sue Hruby have returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Sue called it “the best trip I ever took, bar none.” They flew to Ecuador, then joined three other couples – Chinese, Swiss, and Canadian – and an Israeli family of four on the boat that took them around the islands. Most notable was “the abundance of everything – fish, birds, seals,” said Sue. The food and service were as wonderful as the scenery, and Sue said she would recommend the trip to anyone who loves the outdoors, although Jared was disappointed not to be able to fish.

We saw Bob Wasserman at the airport Sunday morning, and were glad to catch up on Wasserman/Bassett family news. Both Henry and Hugh are enjoying school. At home, Henry has devised games to amuse his little brother. The latest was a sort of treasure hunt to identify and locate items around the house, modernized by using an Ipod for clues and tracking. Bob had been in New York City working with the transition team for incoming chief of police William Bratton. Susan was visiting her father, Russell Hollister, in Minnesota. I should have remembered that Bob and Susan have the same birthday, February 18, and Sarah’s is February 26, so belated Happy Birthday wishes to you all.

There will be a ribbon-cutting at 10 am when the West Tisbury Library reopens at 1042A State Road. There will be tours, music, and refreshments – a big thank you to everyone in town for making this project possible. Please come and explore and enjoy.

On Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, Julia Mitchell will give the first artist’s talk in the library’s exhibition space. There will be a dedication for the tapestry she designed specially for an alcove in the new library, a tokonama, inspired by a Japanese memorial alcove, to celebrate the new space and commemorate the old. A selection of her tapestries will remain on display.

Windemere will host its second Memory Cafe this Friday, March 21, 3:30 to 4:30 pm. It is free and open to all members of the community who have memory loss, and their caregivers. Michael Haydn will play the piano, and refreshments will be served. Please note that this will be a monthly event, the third Friday of every month. It’s a nice opportunity to socialize, enjoy the music, and really good chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s PechaKucha Night is also this Friday at 7:30 pm at the Harbor View Hotel. Participants show 20 images for 20 seconds . Register by calling Jessica Johnson at the museum. 508-627-4441, ext:117.

The Federated Church Cabaret is this Saturday evening, March 22. Curtain time is 7:30 pm. Director Peter Boak, Louise DuArt, the Federated Fellas, and The Sweet Fedolines will entertain with a program of music, magic, and silly stuff. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Federated Church and Peace Quilts for Haiti. Admission is $15. Wine is $5/glass.

West Tisbury RFD mail customers may want to wish Annie Cummings a happy retirement and say thank you for her years of service. She will be retiring after 31 and a half years with the USPS, most recently as rural mail carrier here in town. March 29 will be her last day on the job.

Following my description of Nanuk’s bout of anaplasmosis in last week’s column, a very nice woman named Maureen called to tell me about the new Seresto collars for dogs and cats. She had bought one for O.B., her long-haired marmalade Maine coon cat and declared it quite satisfactory. O.B. stopped scratching and hasn’t had a flea or tick since. This was last year. The collar has an eight month active lifespan. She has just bought a new one. They are expensive, but not nearly the cost of a bout of Lyme disease or one of the other tick-borne diseases. Or possibly losing a beloved pet.