Town Column : West Tisbury
This has been perfect weather for a winter clean-up, the annual compulsion I feel to go through closets, dresser drawers, basement shelves, and worst of all, my desk. There are piles everywhere, making it look worse than it was, but I know I'm moving in the right direction. I have my tax papers mostly together, ready to move out to the big worktable in my studio. On Friday I'm going to a clothing swap, so that pile will be gone. I'm making progress. I just wish it would all stay organized and neat, but by next winter it will surely need sorting once again.
Everyone in town was shocked to hear that Shelton Bank died last Tuesday in California, where he and Janet had gone to be with their children for the winter. He was such a presence in town, serving on the energy committee, library board, and poet laureate selection committee over the years. He also organized many poetry readings at the library. I remember a program he did at the library several years ago about scientific discoveries. He spoke so easily and made the subject so accessible and interesting. He must have been a wonderful teacher. My condolences to Janet and their family.
My husband is the source of most of my news this week, as he's been out and about while I've been in my studio or cleaning closets. He stopped by the library Saturday afternoon and happened on the Kevin Keady concert. "I just couldn't leave," he said. He loved it.
Mike's second report was about Sunday's ice rescue drill off Flat Point. He had gone off to the firehouse a little before 10 am and didn't come home till about 2:30 pm, soaking wet, and ready for a late lunch in front of the wood stove. Mike, Beth McElhiney, Eric Medeiros, Kenny Mastromonaco, John Cotterill, Brynn Schaffner, Peter Pate, Louis DeGeofroy, and Greg Pachico, with their ice sled and rescue sling, practiced pulling each other out of the Tisbury Great Pond for several hours. It took some doing to get in there in the first place, two guys jumping together to break through the ice, but persevere they did. Everyone was pulled to safety several times and they are looking forward to doing it all over again Monday night at their regular drill.
Next Sunday, they are planning to take their truck apart to replace drain lines and hoses, and won't be home all day. Hopefully, by next Sunday I'll remember this and not be wondering where Mike has gone.
I have been awaiting a visit from my friend, Hallie Mentzel. After election day, she went off to her New York apartment, promising to be home in West Tisbury for Barack Obama's inauguration. I invited her, Linda Hearn, and Leslie Baker over to watch the inauguration and have lunch here. It's been a bit of a comedy of errors as the weather has made travel difficult. There have been phone calls back and forth as plans were made, cancelled, revised, and revoked. Finally, Hallie is arriving Monday, but just for a short visit, returning to her friend, Jean Halvorson's, in Falmouth for inauguration day, leaving Leslie, Linda, and me toasting our new president in my living room.
There is such excitement everywhere as inauguration day approaches. I don't remember ever a more pronounced hopefulness for a new administration and its potential to repair our country and the world. A tall order indeed, and may President Obama and his administration be all that we need them to be.
Happy Birthday to Candy DaRosa this Saturday, Jan. 24.
Elizabeth Graciosa Carbon, "Bess," was born on August 12 in Porto, Portugal, to Shannon and Dan Carbon and big brother, Jack. Bess's Island grandparents are all well-known: Jack and Ginny Carbon of Edgartown, and Pat and Dorothy Gregory of West Tisbury. Welcome and happy birthday, Bess.
Susanna Sturgis is speaking at the West Tisbury library at 5:30 pm, January 22. Her new book, "The Mud of the Place," will also be available for purchase and signing.
Maisie, the famous literary mouse, will visit the library on this Wednesday at 10:30 am, during regular story time. Don't forget the "Mother Goose on the Loose" programs for infants and toddlers every Monday at 10:30 am.
Joanne Scott told me that during her early-morning walks she often sees the otter that has taken up residence in the Mill Pond. I was surprised and delighted to finally see the fat and sleek little fellow myself. Driving home from the post office one day, I stopped to look at the Mill Pond, one of my favorite views. The end of the daylight was hitting the far shrubbery, turning it a burnished red, and highlighting the patterns of ice and open water. And there was the otter. Surprisingly, my dogs didn't bark. Mr. Otter seemed as interested in Talley and Murphy as they were in him. Suddenly, he disappeared back under the ice, and we drove off toward home.