West Tisbury: Late summer landscape

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Mornings have been foggy before the sun burns it off. The the sky is blue, bright with sunshine and puffy fair-weather clouds. Nice to have cooler days and nights. The late summer landscape is full of mallow, cardinal flower, butterfly weed, black-eyed Susan, summersweet, vitex, and butterfly bushes in a variety of colors. Annuals are at their peak.

I must have run into everyone I know this afternoon at the library, Ghost Island Farm, and Cronig’s. We all commented on how nice it was to see a familiar face, and how quickly this summer is going by. The fair starts a week from Thursday, on August 17.

Julia Humphreys and I got together last week to go out to breakfast in Edgartown. Part of the fun was to ride down-Island in her convertible with the top down. We had a lovely day for it. I have been trying to do a few special things with friends this summer, not as much as I wish, but better than many years past. I had to go to the Old Sculpin to look at some art for a project I’m involved with, so going in with a friend and making an occasion of it seemed the way to go. We had a great breakfast at Dock Street, then walked over to the Sculpin.

Besides the convertible, being out together gave us time to catch up a little. Julia had just gotten back from her family reunion in Keene, N.H. The last one was in 2006, when everyone gathered at Julia’s house. A lot can change in 11 years. Her 100-year-old aunt was there, and “lots of cousins, babies, and dogs.” Julia had 36 people singing “Happy Birthday” to her on July 29. Everyone had a happy time.

Bruce Blackwell arrived on the Island last week, and has been busy ever since, planning a memorial service for his partner, Brandon Mayhew Wight, who died last year at their home in Florida. The service was held on Tuesday at the Granary Gallery, Brandy and Bruce’s shared business and passion. They sold the gallery to Chris Morse when they retired, although they never really retired; their love of art remained and remains a lifelong interest.

The banner is strung along the fence in front of the West Tisbury Church announcing the annual Peach Festival, to be held this Saturday, August 12, from noon to 4 pm. There will be tables set out on the lawn for everyone to enjoy fresh peaches, peach smoothies, ice cream, and shortcakes. There will be cobblers, pies, and jars of jam to take home. Music, games, and a raffle for a peach tree donated by Jardin Mahoney will be part of the afternoon’s entertainment. In case of rain, the festival will be held indoors.

A special guest will be here for the Sunday morning service. The Rev. Raphael Warnock will lead the service at 10 am. He is such a wonderful speaker, very popular, his sermons highly anticipated when he visits every August. Welcome, Pastor Warnock.

The Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard will meet this Saturday, August 12, from 9 to 10:30 am at the Howes House. Following the business part of the agenda, Setti Warren, mayor of Newton and candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, will be the guest speaker. If you can’t make the meeting, take a look at his website, settiwarren.com.

Jenny Allen, Geraldine Brooks, Nicole Galland, John Hough, Paul Karasik, Gregory Mone, and Rosemary Stimola will be taking part in panel discussions at “Islanders Write” at the Grange Hall on Monday, August 14. The event features over 30 writers talking about their craft, and is sponsored by The MV Times. Doors open at 8 am. It’s free and open to the public. For more details, visit Islanderswrite.com.

Paul Karasik has a full-page graphic report about oyster farming in Katama Bay on the op-ed page of last week’s Vineyard Gazette. In Paul’s humble opinion, “They are the best oysters in the world.” Keep an eye out for his cartoons, which frequently appear in The New Yorker.

Polly Hill Arboretum will offer a program about gardening with native and exotic plants that are hardy, but not invasive. It begins at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, August 16. Admission is $10, $5 for members.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

I begin by mentioning the art exhibition of abstract paintings by Albert Alcalay, currently in the Program Room. Mr. Alcalay lived in town for many years; his house and studio were on Campbell Road, and he taught at Harvard. He died in 2008. His family has hung this show for the month of August. It is a collection of large, colorful, exuberant, beautifully and imaginatively designed paintings, mostly dating from the 1970s. Don’t miss it.

Tommaso Bertini is also exhibiting his work at the library this month. A full-time resident of Florence, Italy, Mr. Bertini was introduced to the Vineyard by Nat Benjamin. Besides being an architect and teacher, Mr. Bertini paints large, active paintings of boats in full sail. They line the staircase going downstairs, and are displayed throughout the library. There is a lovely one hanging behind the circulation desk.

Friday, August 11, 3 pm, Roger the Jester will perform in a magical musical show for families.

Saturday, August 12, an ice cream social with music by Vineyard Sound a cappella group will begin at 4 pm. At 6 pm, writer/humorist/performer Jenny Allen will read from her new book, “Would Everybody Please Stop?” and speak about what makes people laugh. Attendees are invited to bring questions, comments, and any quotes from your favorite humor writers.

Monday, August 14, at 10:30 am, Mathea Morais begins a series of writing workshops for ages 9 to 14. Preregister at the library, or call 508-693-3366. At 2 pm, Jane Paquet will lead kids’ activities in preparation for the upcoming solar eclipse. At 5 pm, learn about the ancient art of henna tattoos, and get your own free tattoo. For ages 13-plus. Signup is required. The Monday Night Movies for families and for teens/tweens begin at 6 pm. Free popcorn provided.

Tuesday, August 15, public health nurse Liz Sanderman will speak about sleep changes as we age, sleep disorders, and simple steps to improve sleep. The program begins at noon. She will remain afterward to check blood pressures and answer health-related questions. At 4 pm, there’s a book talk by Madeleine Blais. Her new book is “To the New Owners: A Martha’s Vineyard Memoir.”

Wednesday, August 16, at 2 pm, Matt Hayden will lead a flint-knapping workshop for kids ages 10 and up.
I don’t know how this column gets so long. I had promised Geoff Currier a short column this week. You can see that I didn’t keep my word.