West Tisbury: Town picnic success


The town picnic was great! The weather was perfect. Benches were set up under a canopy of trees for shade and the pleasantest ambience. There was music played and sung. I have heard from the committee that everyone hopes to make this an annual event. I encourage them to go with it.

It felt laid-back enough that I hope there was not an overwhelming amount of planning and work that went into making such a relaxed occasion. People came and went throughout the afternoon, so it never felt too noisy or hectic, although everyone certainly talked and visited and had a good time.

And ate. Some of the picnics could have come from gourmet restaurants. Some were good old tuna fish or peanut butter and jelly. Fried chicken, lots of different cold salads. Everyone brought their own meal, but we were asked to bring a dessert to share. They ranged from icy-cold watermelon to sugar-dusted lemon squares, and lots of chocolate desserts.

Kids played games and made race cars out of vegetables and fruit. When he got up to speak, John Alley quipped, “I almost got run over by a banana.” His speech continued unimpeded, a short discourse on West Tisbury history I will paraphrase here:

The first recorded Town Picnic took place in 1927, and almost 200 people came, “most of the town.” The town had newly separated from Tisbury. It was referred to as “the Great Division.” The date of incorporation was April 28, and that was the date of this gathering to celebrate the incorporating of the Town of West Tisbury, signed by the state legislature. Town leaders were Sanderson Mayhew, William J. Rotch, and Henry L. Whiting. When we held our Centennial celebration in 1992, the selectmen and Centennial committee held a town picnic, also on April 28.

My thanks to our Town Historian John Alley. I hope I got the facts correct. He certainly gave them to me that way.

Modern history is that after the Centennial Town Picnic, Cynthia Walsh and Debbie Magnuson thought it should become an annual event. Things happened, as they do, and though they spoke about doing it again, it didn’t happen. Years passed. I think there was an element of tribute to a dear friend who has passed away, Cynthia Walsh, in reviving the custom this year.

Thanks to our board of selectmen, Skipper Manter, Cynthia Mitchell, and Kent Healy, who all appeared to be having a good time at the picnic. Thanks to the committee that put it all together: Debbie Magnuson, Skipper Manter, Dianne Powers, Janice Haynes, and Evan Fielder. You all did a great job, and we had a great time.

The weather held for Sunday’s graduation of 177 students from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Congratulations to every one of you.

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 18. Wish your dad a happy day.

Mike and I went out to lunch at the Plane View last Friday and ran into Caroline Drogin, a familiar face, as she works at our West Tisbury library, on our way in. “See you inside,” she said, although she was walking in the opposite direction. When she reappeared, it was with a whole table full of diners-to-be, her family visiting from near and far. Caroline’s family has lived or summered here since her grandmother came to Edgartown in 1969, when her father was a teenager. Her father, Bob, bought the house in West Tisbury in 1993. Caroline and her brother, Casey, grew up summers here. Casey is an animator in New York City, and we have the pleasure of having Caroline here as a year-rounder.

The group at the table included Caroline, her grandmother Samantha Drogin, her stepmother Frankie, and Frankie’s parents, Cery and Cely Abad, visiting from “steamy Manila” in the Philippines. The Abads are adjusting to the cooler temperature by wearing layers of clothes and fortifying themselves with plenty of raw cherrystones. Lambert’s Cove Beach beckons. Here’s wishing you a perfect summer, and good times together.

At the library this week:

Two events on Saturday, June 17. Boy Scout Leader Matt Hayden will lead a woodbuilding workshop for kids ages 12 and up, 8 to 11 with a parent attending. Wood, tools, and essential supplies will be provided. Bring your imaginations to create a sculpture, a structure, a small stand, or whatever you may come up with. The workshop begins at noon. Preregistration is required, so call the library at 508-693-3366. Tom Dresser will present his new book at 3:30 pm. “The Hidden History of Martha’s Vineyard” takes a look behind the scenes of some Island history names and places, the Underground Railroad, shipwrecks, graveyards, and more.

Monday, June 19, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop continues at 11:30 am. She will continue her free classes throughout the summer. MVY’s Dave Kish will present “All That Jazz,” a music-themed documentary, with a discussion to follow. It begins at 7 pm.

Tuesday, June 20, a visiting nurse will be on hand from noon to 1:30 pm to check blood pressure and to answer any health-related questions you might have.

Save the date, next Saturday, June 24, for the first of a summer series of “Conversations with Tweed Roosevelt.” His guest will be David Foster, author of a new book, “A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard.” The program begins at 7 pm.

After a week of chilly, rainy days, it has turned sunny and hot, with a light breeze. All that rain has made everything green, green, green. The air is perfumed with roses of every variety, from pink and white beach roses, multiflora roses that grow along the roadsides, billowing shrub roses, ramblers, and rose bushes of every shape and color in gardens all around the Island. This has been a long and lovely spring.