Strawberry Festival at West Tisbury Church

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If you can find yourself beneath the yellow pollen film covering everything, I hope you can get outside to enjoy the remarkable weather we are having, and at least a few of the interesting things happening around town and the Island. Summer officially begins today, June 21, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. I suppose it’s a gift having these long days, as there is so much more to do at this time of year that we might as well have light to do it in.

The opening has been cut into the Great Pond at Quansoo. It’s perfect weather for haying — no rain. Roses are blooming everywhere. Clematis are resplendent. Beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis) is making its most spectacular show; if you are driving down Music Street, take a look at Joanne Scott’s front yard, where her house is totally obscured by the pink blooms of the biggest beauty bush I have ever seen. Tomatoes are flowering and beginning to set fruit.

Strawberries are at their peak, and you can enjoy every manner of strawberry treat at this Saturday’s Strawberry Festival on the West Tisbury Church lawn, inside if it’s raining. From noon to 4, indulge in shortcakes, ice cream, smoothies, and if anything is left over, there will be strawberry jam for sale after church next week.

The farm stand behind Alley’s is open every day. Alley’s is open till 7 pm. The Antique Show has begun on Fridays at the Grange Hall. Also at the Grange is a World Market on Mondays, the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, and Artisans’ Shows on Thursdays and Sundays. The Chilmark Flea Market will begin this Saturday morning, 9 am to 2 pm, in the field outside 142 North Rd. between Tabor House and Tea Lane.

Then there are special events.The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club “Blooming Art” exhibition and sale opens Thursday evening, June 21, at 5 pm, with a reception at the Old Mill. The exhibition of art by Vineyard artists and corresponding flower arrangements designed by club members will continue through the weekend.

ACE MV is hosting a fundraiser, “Charting Courses,” this Saturday evening, June 23, at the West Chop Club from 5 to 8 pm. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Phil daRosa Project will provide music, and a guest speaker, Paul Osterman, will present “No Economy Is an Island.” Information at acemv.org and tickets at www.ticketsmv.com/ace.

I heard someone on the news yesterday speaking about Juneteenth, a holiday I knew nothing about, so I went online and read a bit. June 19, 1865, is the day that Union soldiers led by Major Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had taken effect on Jan. 1, 1863. “It was the first day that all Americans were free,” was a statement repeated by many ministers and civil rights advocates throughout the day.

For a person who usually stays pretty close to home during the summer, I spent most of the past weekend out and about. First was the memorial gathering for Flip Harrington. A crowd of us listened as one after another, beginning with Flip’s wife Soo Whiting, his brothers, and his children, and so many friends from the Island and across the country who came to share their remembrances of what Flip and Soo had meant to them. A fabulous potluck followed. Everett Whiting’s barbecued venison was amazing. Lots of visiting and more stories.

Then to the West Tisbury Town Picnic at the Ag Hall. I had seen Susie Boass walking home as I was driving along the Panhandle. She was carrying a great-looking canvas bag with the town seal on it and the date of the picnic — June 16, 2018. So I knew to get one when I got to the picnic. They were being given out to everyone who attended.

Reports were that lots of people had come, a steady stream from noon on. Brian Athearn had brought lambs from Run Amok Farm. I had gotten there late, but people were still eating, kids were still playing games and taking hayrides, and everyone had had their selfies taken. It looked like everyone was having a good time.

Sunday was Luna Mayhew’s first birthday, celebrated with a potluck at home surrounded by family and plenty of friends. As it was Father’s Day, too, Daniel and Jack were getting plenty of attention. Daniel’s sister Toni and her husband Scott came from off-Island. Shirley was the perfect matriarch, happy to watch her great-granddaughter. Luna smiled at us all and seemed delighted to be the center of attention, especially when her grandmother, Betsey, cut and served the birthday cake. It was all over Luna’s face as she laughed and asked her mama, Caroline, for more. A wonderful day for a birthday.

Gwendolyn L. Jarrell has a new puppy. His name is Buddy, and he is totally wonderful, keeping Gwendolyn busy playing with him and taking good care. Buddy is reported to be settling in nicely.

The West Tisbury Fire Department welcomed back Luke Sudarsky and Maddie Scott into their ranks for the summer. Both had been active firefighters when they were still in high school, but now that they are in college they return to drills, meetings, real fires, and rescues during summers and vacations.

I am so excited about Kate and Alex Salop buying the Toy Box from BeeBee Horowitz. I had stopped in last week and heard the news. It felt familiar and somewhat different, all in good ways. Congratulations to all of you.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

Friday, June 22, “the Mac Pro,” Paul Levy, is back on the Island for the summer and resuming his Tuesday and Friday hours at the library from 10 am to noon. He will be on hand to help Mac users with any questions and to provide help using, buying, or selling an IPhone, IPad, or Mac computer.

Saturday, June 23, beginning at 11 am, Jennifer Knight will lead an afternoon of guided visualization, intuitive painting, and journaling based on Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” Sign-up is required. At 4 pm, there will be a concert, “David Rhoderick & Friends,” featuring pianist David Rhoderick, pianist Molly Sturges, baritone David Behnke, and soprano Olivia deGeofroy performing music by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Fauré.

Monday, June 25, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Class will meet. At 5 pm, the Mill Brook Watershed Management Committee will hold a public forum to present their final report after four years of archive review, consultation, field work, assessment, and analysis. They will present data, key findings, conclusions, and recommendations, marking the conclusion of their work. The complete publication is available on the town website at

westtisbury-ma.gov/Boards/mill-brook.html. A limited number of hard copies are available at the library and town hall. The next step is for the selectmen to formally receive the report and begin to review and implement the recommended actions. At 7 pm, “Islanders Read the Classics” will meet with John Hough to discuss “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. You needn’t have read the book to attend, but should you wish to, copies are available at all the Island libraries.

Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 pm, a concert by David Stanwood and Dan Waters.

Thursday, June 28, 4:30 pm, a concert by Steven Lubin, performing works by Mozart.

Also at the library, a series of free guitar classes for teens ages 13 to 19 will meet on four Mondays, beginning on July 2. Sign-up is required. Bring your own guitar or borrow one from the library.

One of the best things about summer is stepping right outside your door to pick bouquets of your own design and variety. Today it was an arrangement of ferns, hosta leaves, and matricaria that made me think of Nancy Cramer, who always comes up with the most creative combinations, dramatic sprays of leaves and branches. It’s on a table in our front hallway underneath one of Ruth Kirchmeier’s woodcuts. The greens of the arrangement mirror the greens in the print. What a lovely composition.