Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
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Nina Harris
Nina Harris, left, who works at the Farm Institute, meets Nina Harris, the daughter of Jon Harris, at the West Tisbury Farmer's Market on August 11. Photo courtesy of Jon Harris

Posted August 23, 2007

The Fair has ended and so now the summer. I know we'll continue on, but the air is dry and clear, the nights chilly, and the pace is winding down. I have seen the first spots of color on the burning bush in our back yard. Our cat, Grace, is getting friendlier, sleeping inside on our blanket before her pre-dawn expedition, ridding the world of vermin. The signs are subtle but there, nonetheless.

Island chefs will be serving a special brunch at the Ag Hall this Sunday, August 26, from 11 to 2 pm, open to all who wish to join together in support for Wendy Weisman Jenkinson and her family. There will be music, singing and dancing, hayrides for the kids, and enough love and goodwill to fill a room 10 times the size. Please bring your favorite dessert to share.

Fair Week always brings guests to the Island, and this past week was no exception. As Leslie Baker and I stood at the Firemen's booth waiting for our hamburgers (first thing Thursday morning) we saw a steady stream of visitors. JoAnn and Phil Gutin were waiting with us as JoAnn's brother, John Christiansen, manned the counter. They were here from New York City, staying with John and his wife, Julia Mitchell. Danny Prowten, Dwight and Beth Kaeka, and Ken Edwards had been cooking breakfasts all morning, with Beth McElhiney and John taking orders. We were even interviewed by Julia Rappaport for the Gazette!

Beth McElhiney's friend, Brian Spackman, had arrived on the Island Monday evening. Beth picked him up at the airport around 6:30 pm and brought him home in time to disappear for most of the rest of the night to two fires in Chilmark. West Tisbury was called on for mutual aid, first to a house fire at Stonewall, then barely home to bed again before being called to the Galley fire in Menemsha. Everybody was dragging the next day. I saw Becky Cournoyer at the bank and several fire department wives later at Cronig's. Brian celebrated his birthday while he was here, watching fireworks with Beth and, of course, eating hamburgers.

Bea Phear had special company with her at The Donor's Collaborative table. Patrick's cousin, Vanessa Gordon, came from Texas to play a musical accompaniment on her fiddle as Bea handed out applications for a special Island license plate that will benefit Island non-profits.

Sara and Mark Bonneau were here with their boys, Nick, Ryan, and Sean, all from Barrington, R.I., staying with Sara's parents, Mike and Karen Colaneri. The boys had a great time at the Fair, and were especially proud of winning the prize for the biggest tomato, weighing in at over two pounds.

Everyone I spoke with seemed to enjoy the Fair this year. The racing piglets were a big hit with children and adults alike. Leslie and I were able to look at the Hall exhibits in the quiet time after we finished judging Adult Art. Simon Hickman's sculpture was phenomenal, so beautifully crafted and designed. There were amazing quilts and needlework. We had been told to look for Bonnie George's needlepoint pillow, depicting the center of West Tisbury, and there it was with its scene of Alley's, the Garcia house, the West Tisbury Church, and the Town Hall. The sweaters and quilts always make me want to try my own hand at such endeavors. Barbara Maciel had hooked a rug of a Fair poster, Kenneth Vincent's proudly crowing rooster. The flowers, children's art and science exhibits, and the huge sunflowers were all wonderful, and the Seward brothers' display of mementos from our 1950s childhood was the best.

The next morning we came to see the animals, then back many times for various events. My favorite was the Dog Show on Sunday morning. Although partial to the labs and golden retrievers, there were many especially handsome canines walking nicely with their owners around the ring. At the same time, Karen Ogden was showing off her Agility pupils in a ring toward the front of the fairgrounds.

Tom Vogl and Katherine Long had a visit from Tom's granddaughter, Danielle Vogl, who is heading off to begin her studies at the University of Vermont. As expected in that household, Danielle was treated to amazing meals, and was sent off to set up her own kitchen with a special rice cooker she admired.

Grandmothers Louise Bessire and Joan "Westy" Conlin will have the pleasure of their granddaughters all to themselves this week. Blakey and Clay Bessire are staying in West Tisbury while their art historian/curator parents, Aimee and Mark Bessire, travel to Italy to see what's new at the Venice Biennale.

Teagan Myers will be two years old on August 20. His grandmother, Carol Famariss, is here from Pennsylvania to help celebrate. Happy Birthday, Teagan, and happy days ahead to you, Lindsay, and Clark.

Last Wednesday's New York Times had an interesting article about a company, Nova Rico, of Impruneta, Italy, that still makes globes, many to order. In the course of the article, a Mr. James Akerman, Director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library in Chicago, said the following, with which I will end this column: "Navigation is about more than going from one point to the next. It's about fulfilling one's aspirations."