West Tisbury: Thanks to Beth Kramer

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I came home to a blooming bouquet of forsythia I had cut before I left for Connecticut. The house was vacuumed, and Mike had dinner cooking. What a nice welcome home from a difficult trip to Connecticut, to be with my family following my brother Mike’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. It was good, indeed necessary, for us to all be together. He will begin treatment soon, so I expect to be making many more trips in the upcoming months.

My thanks to Beth Kramer for so ably filling in for me. No surprise, as we all know how capable she is. She did a great job. I was grateful to her, not only for so willingly taking over with no warning — I rushed into the library Sunday afternoon about 2:30 announcing I was leaving on the 5 o’clock boat to avoid the predicted blizzard — but for helping me check out a bag of books and audiobooks in record time. Home to pack, then off to catch the boat and begin the four-hour drive. Glad I did, as I was snowed in in Redding rather than still here with boats not running. And nice to have Beth’s informative columns to read and catch up with news at home.

Everyone who has news might send it to both Beth and me, so she can take over easily as the occasions arise. Her email is bkramer@clamsnet.org.

I came home to snow, then 50° temperatures that melted everything, then snow again. It’s warm again for now. Snowdrops and the earliest pale blue crocuses that were buried are now showing themselves, hardy survivors and harbingers of approaching spring. It certainly feels like it. Despite an occasional snowy, windy winter day, we have had a pretty easy time this winter.

Ruth Kirchmeier sent me pictures of the heaths and hellebores blooming in her garden. Buds appear to be swelling on forsythia, ornamental cherries, quince, and dogwoods. I urge everyone to go outside and clip some branches to force indoors. It is such a welcome sight. And free.

Hallie Mentzel always dug up a clump of blooming snowdrops and planted them in a copper bowl to bring inside and set on her dining table. I think of her every year at this time, as the snowdrops in my yard are a combination of thinnings from her yard and from Louise Bessire’s. Every year some pop up unexpectedly in new spots, and I have visions of them carpeting our lawn in ever-thickening patches. It’s one of the things I like best about gardening, the sharing of plants and stories, watching the tapestry of plants representing the tapestry of my life, my friendships, my travels, where I was when I found this plant or that one. Stories and connections. Life.

If you really want a bit of spring and the benefit of doing good at the same time, the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group is having their annual daffodil sale. This year we are able to buy them at the West Tisbury library. There is a signup sheet at the circulation desk. Daffodils can be picked up there on Wednesday, March 16. They are $10 for 10 tightly budded stems –  well worth the price, as they open brightly and continue blooming for a nice long time.

While you are in the library, enjoy the new Cafe Cart, courtesy of the West Tisbury Library Foundation. Coffee, tea, and home-baked biscotti by Kira Shepherd of Vineyard Treats are on the menu.

The library offers free movies, crafts, and popcorn for families and teens during school vacation week. Listings are on the website: westtisburylibrary.org. Lego Club meets Saturday, Feb. 27, 2:30 to 4:30. The final February Jazz Concert is this Sunday afternoon at 4.

Jill Jupen will be leading a new poetry workshop for adults at the library beginning Wednesday, March 2. It’s called “Poet in the Shed,” and invites secret poets and those who have always wanted to write poetry to come out of the metaphorical shed and get some encouragement and help. Learn about the importance of line breaks, editing, and if you wish, reading your work aloud. Discussions of the art of poetry and different types of poetry will be offered, along with prompts to encourage your creative imagination. Preregister at the circulation desk or at wtmail@clamsnet.org.

Joanne Scott gave one of her Sunday-afternoon teas to celebrate Susan Wasserman’s birthday. We had a special guest hostess, Joanne’s granddaughter, Olivia, who was visiting from Dorchester. She greeted everyone at the door, seated us, brought us our napkins, and helped cut and serve the most delicious cake, still warm, that she had helped Gram prepare. Joanne had told me earlier in the week that Olivia was coming for the weekend and would be a surprise. I was sworn to secrecy. So, apparently, were all the other ladies, as everyone seemed to know that Olivia was expected.

The Reverend Charles Wildman will be the guest of the West Tisbury Congregational Church this Sunday. He will give a sermon titled “The God of Second Chances.”

Mary Holmes will begin a free series of six programs entitled “Powerful Tools for Caregivers,” beginning Monday, March 7, 2 to 4:30 pm, at Howes House. Mary is a wonderful teacher and resource, and caregiving is an increasingly needed skill as we all age. She will focus on how to care for ourselves as we care for our loved ones. Pre-register at 508-560-6012 or PowerfulToolsMV2016@gmail.com.

West Tisbury’s Sue Silk is a dynamo, a retired executive who mentors entrepreneurs and women who want to hone their skills and grow their businesses. She is also active in Island nonprofit C.E.O. (Creative Entrepreneurs with Opportunities). She will be moderator of “Island Seminar to Aid Women Entrepreneurs,” the first in a series of programs sponsored by C.E.O., to be held at the Baylies Room of the Whaling Church on Saturday, March 5, 8:30 am to 2 pm. The program includes setting new goals, creating a new three-year business plan, identifying and analyzing new marketing and sales opportunities, and opportunities for financial support. C.J. Rivard, an Island expert in digital marketing, and Judy Soules, CFO of Edgartown National Bank, will be the featured speakers. The program costs $75, or $60 for C.E.O. members. Lunch is included. Pre-register at www.TicketsMV/CEO. For information: iamaceo.org or susan.silk@comcast.net.

I happened to be in the down-Island Cronig’s last week, and looked up to see a lot of familiar faces ordering lunch at the deli counter. Kenny Mastromonaco, Erik Lowe, Brynn Schaffner, and Steve Serusa were talking to Greg Pachico, whom one would expect to see there. They were all in Vineyard Haven taking a food-handling safety class (Greg was recertifying) in preparation for the firemen’s booth at the Ag Fair this summer. One person who is certified has to be in the booth at all times. Hard to think about preparing for summer events already, although most people on the Vineyard do. They are much better prepared than I, who prefer to enjoy this lovely winter solitude and pretend that summer will never come.