Town Column : Aquinnah
What a momentous week we had: a presidential visit to our town and lighthouse, the passing of our senior senator, and a hurricane that wasn't quite a hurricane. Hurricane Danny, which was supposed to touch down over the weekend with 60-mile-per-hour winds got downgraded to a tropical storm and aside from some leaves and debris on the ground I didn't see any great damage. We did get three inches of rain in one day. Just what we needed this summer - more rain.
It is hard to believe that Ted Kennedy is gone. He represented the state of Massachusetts in the Senate for all of my life and more. I did not know the man personally, but I felt like I knew him in that way you know people who live their lives in the public eye. What I liked about him was the imperfection of his life's journey, so much good and bad mixed together, and his willingness to show up day after day for 47 years for our state. May he rest in peace and may we learn from his struggles and his example.
At 9 am last Thursday, Joan LeLacheur was summoned to the lighthouse by the Secret Service. They arrived looking like tourists. She arrived with a broom. They looked through every nook and cranny of the lighthouse and she swept up and removed cobwebs. They dispersed and she waited. And waited. A crowd gathered at the gate, rumors had started. Around 1 pm, Joanie heard a whoop go up from the crowd and voices saying, "Hello, Mr. President!" There he was before her - Barack Obama with his wife and daughters and their friends. She said, "Come into the light." And he strolled in, children running ahead of him. Joanie said they were all very tall but did not make her feel short, that they were curious, gracious, and quick to smile. She noted that the Obamas were very affectionate with each other. Joanie asked if he would like to sing a song in the lighthouse as it has wonderful acoustics. He declined, saying that Michelle would kill him if he sang. The Obamas were sunshiny and optimistic and the whole thing was over much too soon.
Filmmakers Eden Wurmfeld and Justin Schein were in Aquinnah this past week for a vacation and also to present their film, "No Impact Man," at the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival, which concluded last Wednesday. The past two summers, the filmmakers have stayed in Aquinnah, which they love for its beauty and feeling of uncrowdedness. Ms. Wurmfeld, a producer, is currently fundraising for two projects, one of which is an animated kid's series about issues like climate change.
The Aquinnah Cultural Center is offering house tours this week, and there will be a horseshoe crab basket demonstration on September 9. Call 508-645-7900 for details.
Please note that due to the holiday on Monday the town clinic will be held the following Monday, Sept. 14, 1 to 3 pm, at the town hall. This clinic is free to all residents of Aquinnah.
The Island is feeling much less crowded already and the president and the Secret Service have gone home. Here's hoping that they did not take all the sunshine with them. I'm so looking forward to a glorious September when I can finally see my Aquinnah friends who I have not had the time to see all summer.