Town Columns

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - September 7, 2006

The rain stopped just in time for a party Mike and I were going to in Oak Bluffs this evening at Brooks Robards and Jim Kaplan's house. The sun was out and it had gotten quite warm, to the chagrin of all the gentlemen in sports jackets or sweaters, and the ladies also in too-warm layers of clothing. But it was still a cheerful scene with all of us spilling out around the porch and lawn, onto the quiet street. There was lots of good conversation and laughter. Many West Tisburyites had traveled to O.B. to attend; we talked with Robert and Marjory Potts, Jesse and Bronwen Sonneborn, Judy Birsh, Dorothy Barthelmes, and Bob Henry.

Coming home, we drove along East Chop, one of Mike's favorite drives, looking out over the water at boats and wispy, plum-colored mare's-tail clouds in a soft pink sky. As we got to the end of Old County Road, the sky had darkened and the moon was bright above Rez Williams and Lucy Mitchell's barn. The air still feels moist, but it is expected to be clear for Labor Day.

The night before, Saturday, Dorothy and I had also made our way to Oak Bluffs to attend Don Sibley and Harry Seymour's opening at the Dragonfly Gallery. We could hardly get in the door of the gallery, it was so crowded. Harry and Don both were surrounded by well-wishers and there were lots of red dots around the walls. It was an interesting show, as the two artists' work is quite different but oddly, quite complimentary. Don Sibley's new paintings are mostly non-representational, large, experimental in their use of materials, and rather formal. Harry Seymour is more traditional in terms of depicting a recognizable subject (people and sights around Oak Bluffs) and being an oil painter. Both are wonderful designers of space and graceful colorists. I look forward to going back to really look at the paintings when the gallery isn't so crowded.

It was nice to see Nancy Cole and Peter Rodegast at the opening. I hadn't seen them all summer. Nancy told me that Peter's sisters were here for the holiday weekend, staying with their mother, Eleanore, on Old County Road.

It has been a busy week for the Colaneri family. Karen Colaneri was off-Island to attend the graduation of her son-in-law, Mark Bonneau. Mark received his Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Fitchburg State College. Karen stayed with the Bonneaus at their home in Barrington, Rhode Island. She returned home in time for the reading and book-signing at the Bunch of Grapes by her daughter, Nicole Galland, on Friday evening. Nicky's second novel, "Revenge of the Rose," has just been published. Nicky's sister, Sara Bonneau, came from Barrington, and her cousins Alex Goethals of Lambert's Cove, and Ben and Lucia Goethals-Poster of Tucson, Arizona, were all in attendance. As was most of West Tisbury. The Bunch of Grapes was filled, standing room only. Ann Bassett does a wonderful job at these events.

There has been so much to do: parties, dinner parties, book signings, gallery openings, the Artisans Festival, Farmer's Market, plus work. For a regular stay-at-home, I've been busy every night. So, it seems, is everyone else I know. We all appear to be driving the well-used roads heading down-Island.

Last Tuesday's New York Times Op-Ed page had "A Flood of Images" commemorating the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. One of the artists represented was Jeffrey Marshall, Phoebe Potts's husband. He had lived and taught in New Orleans years before, and felt the need to return after the hurricane to see and record the damage. Jeffrey's drawings and his written description of what he saw and felt are very poignant. I saw the name "Jeffrey Marshall" and wondered if it was the person I knew. Marjory Potts confirmed that it was and told me the story of his involvement in this project.

Bruce and Jennifer Haynes were in Boston Friday night, attending the Red Sox-Blue Jays game, a gift from Jennifer's parents. The Red Sox even won! Bill and Betty were dog-sitting for Matthias, but met me at Nicky's book signing, and we all went out for ice cream afterwards.

Paula Black called from the Library, asking for paper bags. They are used to sort and store books for the Friends' book sale, a process that goes on year-round. If you have extras, please drop them off at the library.

My cat Grace turned 10 on September 1. Mike and I found her as an abandoned kitten, under a rhododendron bush when we were visiting my brother Andy in Redding. She fit into the palm of my hand. She is still a little mite, seven pounds at her recent annual veterinary check-up. Dr. Jasny pronounced her "a perfect specimen," as she does every year. Somehow, Grace has managed to hold sway over several rambunctious dogs over the years, and to remain her dear self. Happy birthday, kitty.

Mycologist/explorer Lawrence Millman will lead a mushroom walk through the grounds of the Polly Hill Arboretum this Saturday, September 9, from 10 am to noon. "Demystifying Mushrooms" will focus on the habitats, taxonomy, and ecological niche of fungi. He promises a surprise ending to the morning. Please register in advance by calling 508-693-9426. Admission is $24 for non-members, $20 for members of the Arboretum.

Sally Thibault asked me to reprint my corn pudding recipe. It has been a hit with everyone I have given it to, as it has been for me since getting it from Suzanne Hammond. Eileen Maley and I always make double batches for potlucks, and it always disappears. Here it is:

Corn Pudding

1/2 stick butter, melted
2 beaten eggs
1 16 oz. can whole corn, drained
1 can cream style corn (not drained)
1 cup sour cream
19 oz. box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix

Mix it all together and bake, uncovered, in a preheated 375-degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or till set. The recipe doubles easily but you will need to bake at least an hour and check to make sure the center is cooked through.

The powers that be at The Times are requesting that we columnists ask for more news about our neighbors, so please call or e-mail or tell me in person when we see each other around town. I hope this column reflects life in our town. I am always interested in what you have to say.

Sue Mullen, Leslie Baker, and I have been out painting mornings this past week. It feels great to be getting out in the landscape and Tallulah enjoys being part of the party. We were down at Sepiessa Point one morning and Leslie pointed out to me how there we were in our funny hats and messy old clothes, painting in the sunshine. I responded as I often have, that being a painter is the best life in the world. And it truly is.