Chilmark: Please, let’s go

A photographer from Connecticut braves the winds at LVB in late November. — Valerie Sonnenthal

I picked up my GOOD Farm turkey Tuesday morning and headed home after errands. Got a call from my husband just before leaving to teach at Howes House: “I’m heading over to the ER for a c-scan.” I left, forgetting the folder by my side, so no MELT maps for a group of first-timers. Rain on and off, and flooding. At 4:30 pm my husband calls; he’s in an ambulance heading over to the 5 o’clock ferry. I rush with his things in his green MV bag, no traffic till the hill down to Vineyard Haven. No cops, no horn, but I’m flashing my headlights on and off getting around whatever cars I could to meet the ambulance driver waiting for me by the ticket taker. I’m getting a little jumpy: “Come on folks, please, let’s go,” becomes a mantra for the slow motion of traffic. Precious minutes ticking by.

I park, leaving flashers on in the rain, and stride in my gray polka-dot wellies to hand over my husband’s bag and request a visit before the boat pulls out, 12 minutes to go. I am told kindly not to run, but the front of the boat feels far away. I can’t figure out how to get into the ambulance, walk from the back where I see my husband strapped into a gurney. I knock on every door then the second side door opens and I’m welcomed in.

I promise to get to Boston on Thursday, Thanksgiving, and need one day to get ready to go, again. My oldest son lives in Jamaica Plain, his brother is on a bus heading to Boston; with the roommates gone there’s room for us until Saturday. There has been good news, not cancer or TB, though it’s a week later and we’re still wearing masks in his negative-air room. I feel deeply supported by many members of our community, and that makes each day a little easier.

My husband definitely picked the right time to be at MGH. You can park on the street, there’s been no traffic, making the 20-minute drive between my son’s home and the hospital something I can already do without Google Maps, and other Google-friendly drives are accomplishable without added stress.

Thursday, Thanksgiving, my sons and I ate in Chinatown at a Vietnamese restaurant. Friday I drove my youngest son to Logan and went to visit my husband and hung out with him until his bronchoscopy, and then drove back to J.P. I did drop off pants to an elderly Greek lady named Rodi, once my mother’s; they needed replacement elastic in their woolknit waist. Monday I finally look at my calendar; I have to ask the dog sitter to take the dogs to the vet to not miss my senior’s blood work schedule, change ferry tickets to open, cancel lunch, and miss our extra town meeting. There have been good friends showing up daily. At this point we are still waiting for test results. Yesterday my husband’s case was presented to 30 infectious disease doctors. I feel exceedingly grateful to Dr. Yukevitch and his staff, everyone in the ER, the great ambulance team from O.B., Dr. Guiney, everyone on Ellison 16 and the team of doctors at Mass. General who are working together to try and figure out what infection or fungus my husband may have picked up, perhaps last spring on our trip out west.

I am sending deep love out to Duncan Caldwell and his family on the loss of his life love and partner, Nancy Caldwell, who passed away on Thanksgiving Day.

If you’re looking for good company, head to the Chilmark Church Tuesday winter meals at 6 pm to enjoy free food, conversation, and community. On Sunday, Dec. 3, at 5 pm, the Dolce Duo with Atzic Marquez on violin and Adele Dreyer on piano; Lia Kahler, mezzo-soprano; Jesse Keller, choreographer/dancer; Merrily Fenner’s doo-wop trio, Serendipity; and the Vineyard Sinfonietta will offer a free concert celebrating the holiday season. Candle lighting and refreshments included. All are welcome, free. 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark. For further information call 508-645-3100.

This week enjoy Improv Dance with the Yard from 10:30 to 11:30 am at the Winter Farmer’s Market, which runs from 10 am to 1 pm at the Ag Hall.

Pathways Arts is where you’ll find Rebecca Gilbert’s Knitting Group every Monday from 1 to 3 pm. Tuesdays is Writing and Poetry, with optional prompts. Doors open at 6:30 pm, program starts at 7 pm for Pathways programs. To learn more , see You can stop by every day but Wednesdays and Sundays, and find a warm environment to work in. TMVFF will host a private evening of Short Films on Friday, Dec. 2, at 5 pm at Pathways. Please contact them for more info at or 508-645-9599.

Qigong for Beginners starts on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The Chilmark library offers a four-Wednesday series from 11 am to noon; NP Marcia Denise will lead the class in an instructional video of Qigong, a gentle exercise that helps to encourage body awareness, flexibility, and mental relaxation. Following class, Marcia will lead an hour-long information session about a different medical topic. Being in the Light, a new exhibit of photographs by Claire Ganz, will be on display at the Chilmark Public Library, Monday, Dec. 4 to 31. Claire is an island artist and writer smitten by what curiosity and holding herself and others in the light reveals. Reception with the artist is Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 3 to 7 pm. Come to the annual Holiday Concert featuring the Vineyard Classic Brass Ensemble on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 5 pm. Join Stories and Songs on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 am. For questions or information, the library can be reached at 508-645-3360.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society and Island libraries will offer a free screening of “Ex Libris,” a new documentary about the New York Public Library from film legend Frederick Wiseman, on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 pm. Meet librarians from Martha’s Vineyard libraries, and enjoy festive sweets made by Beth Kramer, library director and baker. Admission is free, but reserve your tickets online, and please consider bringing nonperishable Food Pantry donations or unwrapped toys for the Red Stocking Fund.

Shotgun season for deer hunters runs through Dec. 9. Wear orange, and be careful out there when walking your pets.

Island churches are collecting mostly men’s gently used winter jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, boots, shoes, or small suitcases on wheels to donate to the CityReach program on the Common. These will be given to the homeless; 20 percent are women. This project is assisted by local teens working with our Island churches. Please drop off at St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Edgartown and the United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard next to the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs (go to the white Parish Hall next to the church). The deadline is Dec. 10.

Have a great week.


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