Town Column : Chilmark
Bette Carroll, eyes sparkling and sporting a huge happy smile, looked about half her age on Saturday as most of Chilmark joined her at the Cornerway for a spirited 85th birthday celebration. It was reminiscent of old-time parties at what was then the Tavern with homemade delicacies, from pasta to chowdah, to Timmy's homemade bread, several birthday cakes and lots of homemade music. Lorna Flanders brought a tarpaper cake; Kendra Carroll's Hershey kiss cake, Katie Carroll's chocolate wrapped polka dot cake and Debbie Hancock's chocolate cake with marshmallows took care of the chocolate-eating crowd, and Everett and Gini Poole brought a "healthy" carrot cake.
Musicians were plentiful. Julie Flanders Thorpe held forth on the trumpet, Chris Carroll plucked his banjo, Carl Crocker did the bongos and Merrily Fenner played the classical guitar. Bradley Carroll played the bongos, and Bella Thorpe brought her harmonica. Bella and Brooks Carroll and Oona Carroll, 1, played the bongos. Everyone pitched in by turns; Joy Flanders served as "bartender", and Katie Carroll cut the cakes and took photos. Brooks Carroll and Bella Thorpe did the clean-up sweeping and "dishpanned" a lot. Everyone gathered to sing the old classics, put together in song books in honor of Bette's sister, Pat, to round out the evening.
Double happy birthday, Bette! (Her actual birthday was the 29th) And thanks from the Carrolls to Frank and Judy LoRusso for sharing the premises at the Cornerway.
And happy birthday on the 24th to Bella Thorpe who is now five.
With so much publicity about Chilmark recently focused on trophy houses, it was nice to read in the Dining In section of the New York Times last week an interview with Jan Buhrman, well-known for her exotic sauces and other delicious and original dishes, about the resurgence of farms in Chilmark. There's North Tabor Farm, specializing in honey and eggs, Mermaid Farm, the place to find heirloom tomatoes among other things, and the Allen Farm, for lamb. Jan knows where to find all the ingredients for her soups and stews and has been active in the Slow Food and Island Grown Initiative movements. She has expanded her food enterprise to include chickens and pigs, which are growing along with the vegetables in her backyard. The Times ran three of her recipes, Beet Curry Soup, Long Island Heirloom Squash, and Scallops with Preserved Lemons on the Half Shell. (I wish they had told us how to make/preserve lemons.) Islanders have a long history of living off the land, a culture that is alive and well today.
The art show for the month of February at the library will feature the work of school children, always a lively and colorful scene including drawings, paintings, portraits, and sculptures.
I have been more than a little behind the times in reporting the death of Rose Anthony. She was of course an Island tradition in almost every branch of education and was an early leader in working for Island literacy and English as a second language. Rose was also a dedicated volunteer at the Chilmark library, and spent several hours a week every Monday afternoon working on inventory, shelving and other projects. The library misses her tremendously.
The next church-sponsored men's breakfast group will meet this Saturday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 am in the church's fellowship room. All interested persons are invited to a hearty breakfast and a presentation on a topic of interest to all.
A note from Thomas Bena reports that his film series will revert to its original name, Martha's Vineyard Film Festival, and that it will still have the wide range of films, domestic and international, for which it is well known. The eighth annual film festival will be held March 14-16.