Town Column : Chilmark
Old Punxutawney Phil has done it again, and we're in for six more weeks of winter. Which, according to the calendar, we were anyway. The custom of predicting the end of winter, according to Google, originated in Europe as Candlemas and was introduced into the United States by the Germans. Since 1887, Phil has seen his shadow 96 times.
The focus on winter, weather or not, recalls winters of old - say about ten years ago, in Chilmark. Winter was loosely defined as "sometime after Christmas" when a mass exodus took place, leaving behind those who cherished, or so they said, the long dark days, which they put to good use. Artists painted; writers wrote, and poets mused. Leaving the house was an excursion requiring skill and planning and was not undertaken lightly. People made soup and kept stockpots on the back of the stove. Ensconced in rocking chairs by a leaping fire, they sipped tea or hot chocolate and read all the things the distractions of other seasons had prevented them from reading earlier.
These days, we seem to be swimming on a tide of activities all over the Island. Churches, libraries, women's groups, children's groups all conspire to keep us busy and out of trouble. It takes some getting used to.
The big news in Chilmark last week was the recognition received by Coast Guard Station Menemsha, which was presented with the prestigious Kimball Award, given for proficiency, skill and constant state of readiness, among other things. It's difficult for the layman to grasp the myriad accomplishments necessary to win this recognition, but we are proud of all of you and extend our enthusiastic congratulations.
Here's a reminder from the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Martha's Vineyard. There is a meeting tonight, Thursday, at 5:30 in the hospital cafeteria for those interested in forming a relay team. Team captain kits will be available as well as other pertinent information. The relay this year will be June 13-14. For more information, please e-mail Amy Sullivan at email@example.com.
"The Lonely Dorymen," the 1960s documentary shown recently at the library attracted such a large and enthusiastic crowd, (about 86 people), that the library will offer a repeat showing. The film chronicles the hardships endured by Portuguese fishermen looking for cod in the waters off Newfoundland and Greenland. The film, sponsored by the Friends of the library, is free and will be shown this Saturday, Feb. 9, from 4 to 5 pm. Everyone is welcome.
Local history buffs may be interested in a new book at the library, "Talking Hands," by Margalit Fox. It tells the story of a Middle Eastern desert village where everyone speaks sign language and includes a chapter on the Chilmark deaf community.
Zee Gamson e-mails us that her husband, Bill, has recovered mobility and is now walking and driving again. He slipped on ice and broke a kneecap in December and has been immobilized ever since. Zee adds that they are enjoying the "dramatic weather," sitting by the fire with family and friends.
Tauras and Ellen Biskis of Flanders Lane are the parents of a baby girl, born at 5 pm on Jan. 29, weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces. They haven't decided yet on a name. The baby joins brother Kestutis, who will be two in April.
And Station Menemsha chief Steven Barr and his wife, Andrea Suter, have announced the arrival of Isaac, born the day of the Kimball Award ceremony at the Coast Guard station.
The church is offering a six- or seven-session series of Lenten Bible studies combining art and prayer to study scripture using DVDs and visual guides. The idea is "to open the heart and engage the mind." Sessions will take place on Thursday mornings at 10:30, beginning today, and continuing through March 13, in the fellowship room at the church. For more information, please call the church office at 508-645-3100.
Marsha Winsryg's Spindrift Marionettes is presenting "Cupid and Psyche," a Greco-Roman mythological love story between god and mortal, next Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 236 Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Silken marionettes, life-size god and goddess puppets and shadow puppets dramatize the tale of love and loss, courage and despair. The performance is 50 minutes long, with original adaptation and music and is appropriate for children over five. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and may be purchased online at TicketsMV. Zambian crafts will be for sale, and proceeds from the show will benefit the Mama Bakhita Center for Disabled Children and the Upeme orphanage in Zambia.