Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
Click here to contact Hermine

Posted October 11, 2007

I was doing something in our dining room yesterday afternoon when I noticed how much the light has changed. It is warm and golden, lower in the sky. It seemed to reflect into the room. I changed the tablecloth from summer blue-and-white to one of autumnal colors, pumpkin and olive-gold, echoing the turning leaves outside our windows.

When we built our house, I planted a burning bush, Euonymus Alatus, in the back yard. It was supposed to be a dwarf variety. It has now grown to about eight feet high and doubly wide, closer to the house than intended since we added on our dining room a few years ago. Mike complains that it threatens to engulf the back yard. I know he would like to prune it to a perfectly geometric sphere, a generous assessment on my part, because he would really like to take a chain saw to it.

To me, that burning bush depicts the seasons, and its energy is a positive sight, framed by the windows, observed and painted in all its glories. Today, its leaves are reddened in an artistic froth across the top where the sun hits first. The still-green leaves are fading, top to bottom, to the soft yellow that reflected into the dining room, prompting this autumnal rambling. Its loose configuration provides a brushy shape in my paintings, against the evergreen rhododendrons planted behind it, echoing the changing colors in the distant oak woods.

I can only hope that this tribute will make my husband realize how I view this bush, as artistic inspiration, symbol of nature's changes, and life force. I hope he will remember these words when the urge strikes him to "neaten things up" around the yard.

Columbus Day weekend brought many visitors to town. Teena and Charlie Parton came for about a week, staying with and visiting various friends. It was great to see them for Sunday breakfast, a regular occasion when they still lived here, and to reminisce about West Tisbury stuff, like hot fudge sundaes at Alley's (Wednesday nights all winter) when they were in charge.

Debbie and Alan Coutinho came from their home in western Massachusetts to spend the weekend with their children and grandchildren.

Bill Francis was here with his family, staying with his parents, Ken and Jean. He attended his 20th high school reunion Saturday night at the Ag Hall.

Mark and Renee Hearn and their children, Devon and Blake, were here to help Glenn and Linda at the last Farmers' Market of the season.

I also saw Henry Bassett at the Market, stocking up on French toast bread from Douglas Reid. Henry and his parents, Sarah Wasserman and Brian Bassett, spent the weekend on Music Street with Susan and Bob Wasserman.

Bob Woods celebrated his 90th birthday at the family's retreat on North Road. He and his wife Jeanne have closed up the house for the season and returned to California, accompanied by their daughter, Fran, who flew out to drive them back. They intended to be home in time for Jane Newhall's 93rd birthday on Oct. 4.

Last Wednesday evening's dinner at Deon's Restaurant, a fundraiser for the Fire Department's Association, was a great success. The place was packed and dinner was fabulous. I had not had time to try Deon's over the busy summer, so was glad for the opportunity, and am doubly glad they will remain open so I can eat there again.

If you were a member of the MVRHS Class of 1968, please e-mail Madeline Fisher at She is planning the 2008 class reunion and needs to know how to contact class members.

Leslie Baker asked me to let anyone interested in making a proposal for an exhibit on the library's art wall in 2008 to please leave the following information at the circulation desk: your name and telephone number/e-mail address, first and second choice of month you would like to exhibit, and a brief description of what you plan to show. We are interested in displays of artwork, memorabilia, or items of historical or literary interest.

Ginny Jones has returned from a WGBH Irish Music Learning Tour of southwest Ireland, and she was most impressed. Ginny had wanted to see some of the places (on land) that she had sailed around over the years. She also wanted to be spared the effort of "shlepping her own bags." She was delighted to find the tour "very well-run and very interesting." Besides music, there was lots of history, art, architecture, and natural history presented. Ireland is experiencing a drought, as we did here this summer. Unfortunately, they had heavy rains early in the summer, ruining the hay crop, before drought burned their pastures. She predicted, "They are in for a hard winter."

The West Tisbury Library will begin opening on Sunday afternoons beginning this Sunday, October 14, and continuing through the winter months.

Pumpkins and corn stalks are appearing around town, decorating doorways and driveways. The late mums, asters, and Nippon daisies are fully in bloom. When Mike and I walked with Tally and Murphy around sunset one evening last week, the sun behind Doane's field set the shrubbery a dark, fiery red. It was that way at Sepiessa, too, ablaze under a darkening sky.