Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
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Posted November 21, 2007

One of the many things I am grateful for is watching children grow up - our niece and nephew who are now adults off on their own, and the many children of relatives and friends we have been privileged to have in our lives. Driving through town this past week, I watched Allen Healy and his boys, Everett and Kent, tending the sheep in their moveable pens. Brian Athearn and his sons, Hunter and Emmett, had placed new flags on the veterans' graves at the cemetery and at the memorial for Veteran's Day. Megan Mendenhall made my birthday cake this year. Watching the past and the future, respected and carried on, feels to me the essence of my life in West Tisbury.

There was a message on our answering machine from Ezra Agnew saying that he and his friend Kelly will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. Ezra was our nephew Josh's best friend since childhood; he and his mother, Amy Eisenlohr, are part of the family of our hearts. Mike's cousin, Dan Hull, will be coming from Somerville with his daughter, Sunday. I don't have the final count yet for who will be around our Thanksgiving table (we are 11 so far, a smallish gathering for us), but I like that there is always room for another plate and chair at the last minute and that everyone feels comfortable enough to come.

I just learned that Nancy Whiting died early Saturday morning, 12:08 am, at Falmouth Hospital. I remember her love for her family and her love of the library. My condolences to the Hodgson and Whiting family.

Marilyn Hollinshead has returned home from a trip to Tucson. She was there to attend a meeting of the United States Board of Books for Young People, with authors, illustrators, and librarians from many countries in attendance.

Beth Kramer had a few well-deserved days off. She had signed up for a library course in Orlando, Fla. and, when the class was cancelled, she decided to go anyway (non-refundable tickets.) Beth stayed with her mother, Joanie Hopkins, and her aunt, Sylvia Marlin, for three days. Although they "mostly visited," Beth did "tour a couple of libraries" while she was there and returned home just in time for a joint meeting with the Trustees and the Friends at the library last night.

I enjoyed seeing my friend Tom Knight, here for a short two days in West Tisbury. Tom mentioned that his wife's birthday is coming up, so I will wish Suellen a Happy Birthday on Nov. 21.

Happy Birthday also to Nancy Furino on Nov. 19, to Matthew Merry on Thanksgiving Day, and to my beloved niece, Charlotte Hull, on Nov. 26.

Jean Wexler is looking forward to a visit with her granddaughter, Carolina Stewart, who will be arriving with her fiancé for Thanksgiving. Carolina told Jean that there was an obituary for Michael Stewart (Jean's son/Carolina's father) in a recent Manchester (England) Guardian. Carolina had read it online and sent the information to her grandmother. Known in the music world as Backwards Sam Firk, Michael was a well-known pioneer in the collecting of recordings by and interviews of American blues artists from the 1920s and '30s. Here is the site for interested West Tisbury friends. Guardian Universal Backwards Sam Firk.

The entire extended Kirchmeier family will be gathering in West Tisbury for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Susan and Joel Goldstein. Siblings Ruth, Marc, Eva, and Susan, with their families, will make 22 around the table.

Arnie and Christa Fischer will host the family Thanksgiving at Flat Point Farm.

After dinner, there will be plenty of things to do over the long holiday weekend. The Artisans' Festival will take place on November 23 and 24, from 10 am to 4 pm, at the Agricultural Hall. Fair posters, sweatshirts, and calendars will be on sale along with fine art and crafts by Island artists. On Saturday night, November 24, the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society will have a Thanksgiving Concert at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15.00. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate for the best thing to do, a walk on the beach.

Please be mindful as you drive around, especially near the Mill Pond, that turtles, muskrats, and other "water creatures" may be trying to cross the road. Drive carefully.

In the Hull family we plan Thanksgiving dinner for late in the day, everyone gathering at our house around 4:30 or 5 o'clock. It gives everyone the opportunity to spend part of the afternoon enjoying a lovely beach walk together, a jolly occasion for all of us and our dogs. All of us but me. I was the one who was always home watching the turkey in the oven, peeling potatoes, and setting out the silverware. There were times I watched Mike and our dogs head off in the car to meet the family at Lucy Vincent or Lambert's Cove and felt resentful about being home doing "all the work."

Over the years, however, I have come to enjoy that quiet respite before the hustle and bustle. My Thanksgiving Days have a ritual feeling about them, watching the parade while I make the stuffing, talking to my brothers on the phone, setting the table with the Dartmouth plates for dinner, Ridgefield plates for dessert. The sun is usually pouring in my dining room windows. It is dark by the time our guests arrive, but the house is sparkling with lights and candles, welcoming everyone.