You can find plenty of snark, a smattering of sarcasm, and enough cynicism to stuff a 24-pound Butterball these days on social media. We needed a break from all that, so we asked some friends and colleagues to reflect on what it is that fills them with gratitude about living on Martha’s Vineyard. The answers came easily.
Here’s what we’re thankful for:
The philanthropy. A recent report at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School Committee meeting was staggering. There were 177 graduates in the class of 2017, and they received $1.792 million in scholarships. There were 716 scholarships given to current and former students. Amazing. And schools aren’t the only places where that giving is felt, as our story two weeks ago on the Permanent Endowment Fund illustrated.
The seafood. Particularly, fresh bay scallops. We’re especially grateful for the times when the Net Result has these delicious little morsels for $20 per pound. We also have a taste for smoked bluefish and, certainly, on Martha’s Vineyard there are times when you can catch that bluefish yourself and cook it up the same day.
A roof over one’s head. Hey, we could always do better, and some organizations, like Habitat for Humanity in Oak Bluffs and Island Housing Trust, are attempting to make that happen for more people at an affordable price. The top-of-the-shop zoning recently approved at Oak Bluffs special town meeting should also help put a dent in one of the Island’s perennial problems.
Open spaces to roam. Places like Cedar Tree Neck, the Sheriff’s Meadow property in West Tisbury where you can hike through the woods with family and friends and find yourself on a beautiful beach. And don’t tell the tourists, because it’s our place to escape the busier Island spots.
There is perfect weather. It’s not always perfect — wind, rain and, ahem, snow — but when it is perfect, it’s spectacular. Think shoulder season — sunshine, light breezes, no humidity. It’s unbeatable, and most of the tourists have already made their way to their less-perfect homes.
There is beauty everywhere we look. Seriously. Almost everywhere you turn there is an ocean view, a pond filled with wildlife, rolling farmland, and time-tested rock walls. Sunrises. Sunsets. It must have been difficult for photographers in the days before digital cameras, because they likely burned through rolls and rolls of film catching those Vineyard scenics.
No traffic lights. The one on the Lagoon Drawbridge doesn’t count because, well, that’s only a minor nuisance when we’re in prime boating season. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing on the roads of the Vineyard. No long waits for yellow and red lights.
The Ritz Cafe in Oak Bluffs on a Saturday night. Or any night, when we can walk in and at least many (if not all) know our names. It’s a place where everyone from 20somethings to our Island elders crowd the dance floor. Not sure we’ve ever seen anyone there having a bad time. It’s pure Island energy in a small, friendly place.
Everyone knows you. OK, there are times when this can also be a downside, but it’s great to live in a place where there are familiar and friendly faces — where conversations come easily. It’s a place where everyone accepts you for who you are. Neighbors look out for each other. During the recent storm that knocked down trees and caused power outages all over the Island, we witnessed people willing to help out neighbors in need — even if it was a cup of coffee from a house with a generator.
Button-down shirts are considered dress-up. You typically don’t see someone wearing a tie on the Island unless he’s a lawyer. There’s a casual elegance that makes it an inviting place for those of us who would rather throw on a pair of jeans and a T shirt.
Dogs are welcome. We love the sight of wagging tails in the morning. As you know, The Times is a dog-friendly office, but we’re not the only ones. It makes for a more friendly and stress-free environment.
Throwback jobs. We live in a place where jobs like farming and boatbuilding are not only appreciated, but still thrive. We get to reap the benefits of the farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship of boatbuilding, just about every day.
No malls. We love shopping local. We know the names of the merchants and their staffs, and they know us and our preferences.
People appreciate newspapers. We love it that our readers can’t wait for Thursday, as we found out during Tropical Storm Jose, when the lack of ferries kept us from delivering our print edition on time. We appreciate how invested you are in the paper, buying ads, writing letters, and sharing your stories.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.