It's early in the morning and I'm sitting at my desk, Talley as always by my feet, trying to think of something to write for this week's column. Mike is upstairs still asleep. Murphy and Grace are sleeping too, out on the porch.
My desk is cherry, very beautifully made by my husband this past winter. The view of our garden through the windows is quiet, only the sounds of birds to be heard, the daylilies and catmint still putting on their abundant show. I am writing about gratitude.
Yesterday morning Sue Hruby and I took a ride up-Island to look at a spot I have been painting in Menemsha. As we walked down the road, a man was packing up his car in front of the house he had been renting with his family for the past week. We all said "good morning" and started chatting, about his vacation's end, about my painting of a scene nearby. He asked if we lived on the Island, and when we said we were both here year-round, he said, "You are so lucky."
I responded, "Yes, I know we are, and I am very grateful." As we walked on, I said to Sue what was lucky was appreciating what we had and feeling fortunate.
It was a conversation I had with my father-in-law, Richard, many times over the years. Shortly before he died last winter, he told Mike that he had had the best life in the world, better than anything he could have imagined as a young man.
As I sit here this morning, my feet in my puppy's fur, I am feeling tremendous gratitude for more than I could ever have imagined.
Fran Woods and Landes Bell stopped by yesterday with their son Henry. Henry will be starting college in a few weeks, at Humboldt State in California. Maggie Bell will be heading to Argentina to study Spanish and, I was very pleased to find out, Art History. Mike and I look forward to having dinner with them on Saturday night.
Lew and Frieda Kaplan arrive this week for their annual stay at Sue Hruby's house on Tiasquam Road for the month of August. Sue, Roy, and their cats leave on a 9:30 am boat for their month in the Georgia mountains; the Kaplans will be arriving on the noon boat to the Island.
Dorothy Barthelmes and Bob Henry will be here from Bethesda, Md., for six weeks at the Slocum House.
Both Murphy houses, on Music Street and in Chilmark, will be filled, as the family all arrives beginning on Friday. Ann DuCharme and Ted Murphy, Teddy and Julia, will be coming after visiting Ann's parents in Vermont. On the way down, they will pick up Steve Sr. in Hopkinton. Greg Barron and Sarah Murphy fly in from London with their children on Saturday.
The Friends of the West Tisbury Library's Annual Book Sale will begin Friday morning, July 28, at 9 am at the West Tisbury School gym. There seem to be more books than ever this year, with flats of books organized beneath most of the filled tables. There are some great art and architecture books, gardening, Vineyard history, cookbooks, classics, and children's books (that is what I have looked at) as well as biographies, novels, and mysteries for reading on the beach. "Heavier" reading (i.e. non-fiction) is also well represented. The sale runs from Friday through Monday, 9 am to 3 pm. Friday and Saturday, books are as marked. Sunday they will be sold at half-price. Monday they will be free. Volunteers are still needed, so anyone interested please sign up at the circulation desk at the library.
There are still a few spaces available for Susan Collins's Card Stamping workshop at the Library this afternoon, from 4 to 5 pm. Anyone 10 years old and over is welcome. Susan invited a group of us over earlier in the summer to try out some of her new stamps and inks. It was really fun.
The Movie Museum at the Grange is showing "My Favorite Blonde" starring Bob Hope tonight at 7 pm. Richard Paradise and the Silver Screen Society sponsor the movies and have found a volunteer projectionist, Brian Langhammer, to run the show.
The Library's Monday Night Movie will be "Charlotte's Web," shown for free at the Howes House at 7 pm.
"Happy Birthdays" this week to Jeannie Francis and Stephanie DaRosa on July 24, and to Claire Chalfoun on July 26. Happy 21st anniversary to Penn and Julie Kimball.
I wish a special "Happy Birthday" to my husband, Mike, today, July 24. We have planned a regular day, Mike working (fixing a door for the Days, doing something at the Police Station) and me painting in my studio. Tonight we will have a birthday dinner at the Square Rigger, just the two of us. Tony and Doreen will come over to tease us about our choices always being the same (steak for Mike, shrimp for me); all our friends know what we are doing because it's what we always do. I'll be wearing my favorite summer shirt (magenta linen) eating my favorite dinner with my favorite person in the whole world. Our life together is filled with laughter and friends and work we love. It is more than I ever imagined. Thank you, Mike, and Happy Birthday.