West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - June 22, 2006

It's early Monday morning as I sit here writing this week's column. Tallulah is at my feet, Murphy behind my chair, and a mystery dog on the dog bed. He appeared in our yard about 5 am. Mike and I were alerted by our dogs barking, and I thought it was my mother-in-law's poodle, Daisy. Once I put my glasses on, it was apparent that we had a dark red, short-coated male visitor, not a furry black female. I have called the number on the tag around his neck (very helpful, as I had no intention of waking Joanie at 5 am) and am awaiting a call back from his owner. But for the moment, it feels like we have three dogs all settled in.

The past weekend was the best of summer weather, warm with a light breeze and no humidity. There were events at The Polly Hill Arboretum, the West Tisbury Church's Strawberry Festival, a Hot Rod Cruise-in that circuited the Island from Oak Bluffs to Aquinnah (allowing Ernie Mendenhall to stop at the Strawberry Festival for shortcakes both on the way and way back from Aquinnah), as well as a host of weddings, parties, fishing on the beach, and getting boats in the water. Gardens bloomed with abandon and the dreaded worms seem to have abated.

The Library hosted a garden party last Monday to introduce our new Director, Howard Curtis, to the community. Lots of people came, including Howard's two children, Jonathan and Joanna, from off-Island. Howard had been in Lakeville with Ebba Hierta all day, attending a seminar offered by the Southeastern Regional office on Reporting Library Statistics.

At the party, I was informed that I had neglected to mention some birthdays that fell on June 12. A belated "Happy Birthday" to Debby Athearn, Mike Black, and Jennifer Haynes. And though I did mention Bill Haynes birthday on Flag Day, I didn't know about his birthday present from his daughter, Janice: the original painting of this year's Fair poster, framed and on display in Bill and Betty's dining room.

In one piece of business at their weekly Selectmen's meeting, Dan Waters was named the first Poet Laureate of West Tisbury. It is an honorary appointment, suggested by Cynthia Riggs, and approved at our last Annual Town Meeting. The Library was charged with making a recommendation to the Selectmen, as the Library of Congress is charged with naming our national Poet Laureate (Donald Hall was named to that position on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.). Dan Waters was the unanimous choice of the committee, Shelton Bank, Nelia Decker, and Ebba Hierta.

I spoke to Dan last night. He is very proud of the appointment and to live in a town that would consider having a Poet Laureate as a priority. "This position is a gift to the future... it will outlast us all," he said. I am sure Dan will have a lot to say about writing formal poetry and the role of poetry in our lives. He feels he has come a long way from the weekly D.A.W. quatrains that enchanted Vineyard Gazette readers back in the 1980's.

Leslie Baker celebrated her birthday last Saturday evening with close family and friends at a party at her home. Her husband, David Gorenberg, spent the day making his famous smoked spare ribs, which everyone enjoyed along with braised fennel, coleslaw, and corn bread. Guests attending were a dear friend, Margaret Daniele, from Philadelphia, and from West Tisbury were Rez Williams and Lucy Mitchell, Julia Mitchell, Dave and Leslie's daughter Emma, Mike and me. We laughed a lot, ate a lot, talked about art and vintage cars and friendship. It was a lovely evening.

Mary Beth Norton has arrived home on Great Plains Road after a "gloomy East Anglia winter, with lots of gray weather." She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge. She experienced something called "frosty fog," literally water vapor that freezes in the air. She is glad to be back in the U.S. and particularly glad to be back in West Tisbury.

Debbie Dean will speak about "Trees and Shrubs" this Saturday, June 24, at 11 am at the Vineyard Gardens Nursery, the third in their series of lectures. All are welcome to attend the free lecture.

An entertaining dinner party conversation sparked an idea for Arnold Rabin of Tiah's Cove Road. A writer, professor, and playwright, he decided to write "a dirty grammar book." The result is "The Sexual Guide to Written Intercourse, Fulfilling Grammar, and Seductive Usage," newly published by Consortium Publishing. I enjoyed going through it over the weekend. I found it a readable and informative refresher of the rules of grammar, "the amenities" of punctuation, and just plain funny and interesting reading. You always learn something new. I'm glad, as always, to have Arnold and his wife, Sydell, here for the summer.

The newly formed Space Needs Committee met this morning at 8 am at Town Hall. We have established that day and time for our weekly meetings. We are beginning by gathering information from the Town Departments and working up a set of criteria for its assessment.

I had to call Joanie Jenkinson eventually, to come and pick up the stray dog. Fortunately, she knew to whom he belonged, and would get him home. He was a really nice dog, but I just worry too much about traffic on our road to want to encourage wandering dogs to visit.