Town Columns

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull - October 12, 2006

Columbus Day, officially today when I was a child, feels like the official end of the summer. Summer people return over the long weekend to close up their houses. The weather has become unpredictable, on with a sweater, then off with the sweater all day long. The list of chores around the house seems endless as the time in which to accomplish all of them dwindles.

Two dear summer friends, Mary Beth Norton and Brooks Robards, were here over the past weekend. We made time Sunday afternoon for a short walk together and a cup of tea. Brooks will return this weekend (Oct. 13-15) to read her poetry at the Bunch of Grapes on Friday night and at the Louisa Gould Gallery on Saturday afternoon. I am hoping she will read "Tallulah," a poem she wrote after a walk with Tally and me in 2004, when Tally was just a puppy. How many people have a poem written about their beloved dog? With Brooks's permission, I am reprinting the poem, a framed copy of which sits on my writing desk, a Christmas gift from Brooks.


The color of sand
she races down the beach
past Lillian's shack
romps in the surf
even rides the waves
then turns toward land
and rolls to salve
her salty back.

All the while
we walk and talk
friends and Tally
the high-spirited
one-year-old dog.

She brings us
what we might
miss: a starfish;
a seal carcass
rotting behind
a driftwood clump
white jawbone and teeth
intact near the pall
of brown fur.

Gamboling Tally

a clutch of gulls
into the water
then chases a tern
flying low enough
to catch at a leap
that lands her up
the dunes instead
soaring supple as a deer.

She is our joy
our freedom
unleashed, we
who walk
by the water.

"Welcome Home" to Ann Howes, who has just returned from a three-week painting trip to Scotland. She was accompanied by three friends from Philadelphia, all artists. The weather and scenery were all any painter could wish for. As Ann described the Highlands around Killin on the River Dochart, "There was a marvelous rocky river and waterfall there which was spectacular when we had a full day of rain, the water was raging over the rocks and down the falls....The countryside was lush and green, hilly, with small houses in the valleys. The town of Killen was small with a main street of stores, the favorite of ours was the Fruiterer where we went to get good local produce and fruits. It was about the size of Back Alley's." On they traveled to The Isle of Mull, where their favorite scenes to paint surrounded shaggy-haired Highland cows. Ann came home "with a sketch book full and happy thoughts in my head." I am sure that wonderful large watercolors will come from those sketches and I can't wait to see them.

Among the many things I don't know is that there is an active group of swing dancers on the Island. "Heads up," as Harriet Bernstein announced in her e-mail, "I'm polishing my shoes now!" An internationally acclaimed 21-piece swing band, Compaq Big Band, will be featured at Outerland over the weekend of October 21 and 22. The doors open Saturday night at 7 pm, with a free swing class scheduled at 8 pm. If you need more practice, Linda and Chester Freeman (back by popular demand) will hold three classes over the weekend: 11 am to 1 pm Saturday - Basics and Refresher Course, Saturday 2 to 4 pm - Sassy Steps and Musicality, and Sunday 1 to 3 pm - Eight-Count Lindy Moves. The classes are $25 for one, $40 for two, and $50 for all three. Please contact Outerland at for more information.

The West Tisbury Library has announced a new schedule of library hours. They are as follows: Monday 10 am to 9 pm, Tuesday through Thursday 10 am to 6 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm.

The Monday Night Movie at the Library on Oct. 16 will be "The Fall of the House of Usher" directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price, Myrna Fahey, and Mark Damon. Screening begins at 7 pm and is free.

Heidi Schultz asked me to announce that The Vineyard Sinfonietta concert scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Howes House has been cancelled.

I don't know if it is my imagination or coincidence that, since the new path in North Tisbury has been completed, there are lots more pedestrians out walking along it. Every time I have gone by, I have seen joggers, walkers, families with toddlers or pushing strollers. It's nice to see people out walking or doing errands and they all look happy.

My friend Bill Ternes will be here for a three-day outdoor painting workshop. He will be staying with Mike and me till Saturday. Bill and I are planning on doing a lot of painting together, enjoying the fall colors, and hopefully, sunny skies.