Town Column : Aquinnah
Obama's here. So far all I've seen is lots of state troopers on motorcycles and many black SUVS with official plates, but it's only been about a day so there is time for first family sightings. We had such great weather for the fair, I hope everyone had a good time and didn't eat too much fried dough and tempura. I took my two-and-a-half-year-old son and he had a great time, but all he could talk about afterward was how one of his friends threw up. This was not the most remarkable thing about the fair to me, but then I'm not two and a half.
At the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival's screening of "Disturbing the Universe," a documentary about lawyer, William Kuntsler, Cora and Peter Weiss of Aquinnah shared some reminiscences after the film. When I called Cora to find out a little more, I found that what she really wanted to talk about was a book event happening tonight at Midnight Farm from 5 to 7 pm. The book is called "Airlift to America: How Barack Obama, Sr., John F. Kennedy, Tom Mboya, and 800 East Africans Changed Their World and Ours" by Tom Shactman with a forward by Harry Belafonte. This is a pre-publish sneak preview - the book comes out on September 15. It is about a unique initiative that took place in the early 60s, where African students came to American colleges to learn leadership skills to take back with them to Africa (this was at the end of colonization of Africa). Cora was executive director of the foundation that ran the program from 1959 to 1963, and the book is based in part on never-before-seen files that have been sitting in her garage for years. It sounds like a fascinating story.
Starting Friday, there will be an ongoing exhibit at the Aquinnah Cultural Center about Muhsh8n (pronounced, "muhshoon"), a traditional burnt-out canoe. On Saturday there will be a demonstration on pipe carving and Muhsh8n burning.
Liz Witham said that the premiere of her and her husband, Ken's, film, "Tunes from the Tipi and Other Songs from Home," went great and that they hope to have another screening in the fall. It is available on their website, DocuTunes.tv.
I saw our head librarian, Jen Christie, the other day and she said that the summer programs have been very well attended. The talk on Faulkner brought 90 people to the library. It is so great to see our library grow and become such a community gathering place. The renovation of the little red schoolhouse (aka the permanent library) continues apace. I've heard it looks lovely.
The flag at Town Hall was flown at half-mast last Thursday for long-time summer resident, Vance Harrison, who passed away on August 16. May he rest in peace and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
The hurricane passed us by for the most part. We had some heavy rain in the night on Saturday night, but the weekend days up-Island were lovely. Surfers certainly enjoyed the waves that came with the passing storm, even though the beaches were officially closed.
Labor Day is just around the corner and I still think we should try and push summer into September; we all could use a little more sun and relaxation. If you see any Obamas around Aquinnah, let me know.