This is the first column I am writing on my new computer, and I hope all goes well. Brian Athearn took pity on my on-going computer woes and has built me a new, faster, cleaner machine. All I need it to do is write and send in my column.
To that end, there have been some glitches. The machine that worked perfectly at MV Tech offices developed issues as soon as I brought it home and Mike and I tried to set it up. Yesterday, I thought my husband was going to pull the plug and toss the whole thing out into the driveway and drive his truck over it, maybe both trucks. After several consults with a very patient Brian, Mike seems to have gotten the thing running. When I returned home from my Space Needs Committee meeting this morning, planning to gather up notes for my column and write it at the library, it appears to be functioning, at least enough to write my column and email it to The Times. Mike just returned home from MV Tech with the latest advice and a comment from Brian, "I've only seen that happen once before." We may be ignorant but we are still creative. After I finish my column, Mike will try again to install the printer, the monitor, and the mouse again, all working together at the same time. I hope we don't negate all the progress we have made.
I've got to comment on how interesting it is to have become friends with Brian and to work with him. When I moved to West Tisbury as a new bride, Debbie and Harry Athearn were among the first of my new friends. Brian was their young son. Over the years, he has grown up, joined the military, returned home to start his business, marry Kate, become a father of Hunter and Emmett, serve the town as an assistant at the cemetery, a member of the Fin Com and Paths Beside the Roads Committee - a farmer, hunter, fisherman, philosopher, and friend. It is a gift of growing older in the same place that the children you remember become adults and the relationships grow as well.
Mike came home from one of his consultations with Brian over the weekend with packages of home-raised pork and venison Brian killed and butchered himself, plus a dozen eggs from his Runamuck Farm, a name that always makes me smile. If I need advice on canning or making preserves, he is one I would call, having learned from his mother and continuing the country ways. My favorite image of Brian is of him at the cemetery before Memorial Day, wheeling his boys along in their red wagon, placing flags on all the veterans' graves. Brian is another example of how lucky Mike and I are in our friendships.
The only drawback with the new computer is that our cat, Grace, liked to sleep on her pink towel atop the old monitor. The new monitor is a flat screen model, larger but with no protuberance for a cat to nap. I have arranged the pink towel behind the new monitor on my worktable and hope Grace will be adapt.
Ruth Kirchmeier spent last weekend with her siblings in Branford, Conn., where they all met at the home of her sister and brother-in-law, Eva and Truett Allison, to celebrate Eva's 70th birthday. In attendance were Susan and Joel Goldstein with their daughter, Elizabeth, Eva and Truett's daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Michael Allison, Mark Kirchmeier, and Ruth. They all enjoyed a family dinner at "an elegant French restaurant on the Branford Green." Eva's actual birthday was January 23.
Karen Overtoom and Louis deGeofroy invited a crowd of friends and family members to a combined 100th birthday party (they each turn 50 this month) at the deGeofroy family homestead in Seven Gates last Saturday night. There was lots of food, wine, laughter, and a good time for all of us. The official dates are Feb. 4 for Karen and Feb. 28 for Louis. Happy Birthday and many happy returns, with much love.
Happy Birthday wishes are sent to Alley Estrella, who will celebrate her birthday this week on Feb. 9. Her parents have planned a party with all of Alley's kindergarten classmates.
Last week at our Paths Committee meeting, Steve Berlucchi announced that he had become a new grandfather to Lindsey Marie, the first girl born in the Berlucchi family in 60 years. A proud Grandpa Steve was planning a trip off-Island to visit his son, daughter-in-law, and the new baby. Welcome to Lindsey.
Betsy Burmeister e-mailed a request for donations to stock all Island ambulances and fire trucks with oxygen masks sized for animals. She said this is commonplace off-Island, and she feels that it could save an animal's life if oxygen could be administered at the site of an accident or fire. A set of three masks costs $55.00. She has donation cans set up at Cronig's and at all Island veterinarians' offices, or checks can be mailed to her directly: Betsy Burmeister, PO Box 4434, Vineyard Haven MA 02568.
The West Tisbury Library will host a special program of music by Corelli, Bach, and Pergolesi, performed by the Island Consort, this Sunday afternoon at 4 pm. Musicians are Ray Kellman playing the recorder, Ann Fielder, cello, Edith Yoder, flute, and Linda Berg, harpsichord.
Other events at the library include a visit from The Cat in the Hat at 10:30 am on Wednesday, Feb. 14, the children's craft, "Valentine Hearts, all day Saturday, Feb. 10, and the movie, "Sounder," which will be shown Monday evening at 7 pm.
Jackie Clason has a special presentation planned for anyone suffering from Lyme disease. Her subject is "Using Homeopathy to Cure Lyme Disease." The program will be held on Feb. 14 at the Howes House, 4 to 5 pm.
The Chilmark Library and the Vineyard Gazette sponsored a Crossword Puzzle Contest last Saturday afternoon. There were several West Tisbury folks who made the trek to Chilmark to participate. In fact, the winner was Dan Cabot, and the runner-up was Skip Peterson. It was a lot of fun and I hope the sponsors decide to do it again.
Condolences are given to Eileen, Tim, and Chloe Maley. Eileen and Tim have just returned from Kingston, Ontario, where they gathered with family members following the death of Eileen's mother, Alma McGregor. Mrs. McGregor was a frequent visitor to West Tisbury, where she had many friends and shared lots of happy occasions; she especially enjoyed multi-family Thanksgiving dinners at Bob and Maggie Schwartz's house.
Mike and I have been enjoying watching the birds outside our living room windows. We had taken down our feeders when Rocket and Grace were kittens. Both cats were formerly feral kittens and demonic hunters; it seemed criminal to lure the birds to a horrible fate. Rocket is long gone and Grace is ten now, mostly content to sleep on the ledge by the woodstove and occasionally opening an eye, but not looking at anything with malevolent intent. So now we are able to watch the chickadees, nuthatches, flickers, and most excitingly, tufted titmice (they were common in Connecticut when I was a kid, but I never saw them here until a year or so ago). We have both seed and suet feeders and a birdbath, all a constant amusement as we have our morning coffee.