Letters to the Editor
An example for all of us
To the Editor:
Today I heard that Samuel Jackson passed away. I immediately thought to myself, "Oh what a loss to his family and the town." I remember Sammy as a main character in my life growing up in Edgartown. He was Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer rolled into one.
Sammy was the leader of his band of brothers and extended brothers who roamed all over Edgartown and beyond getting into benign mischief - the expert in hunting, fishing, arrowhead finding, boat rowing , baseball playing, overall exploring and, yes, plundering apple orchids and watermelon gardens, too.
My memories drift to fishing at Wiggies Pond when there weren't any houses within miles; of swimming at the Eel Pond opening; of "borrowing" a rowboat and taking it out into the bay where a squall almost capsized the boat with eight of us aboard. But Sammy always came through, saved us, and made everything okay. He was our champion who knew where and how to catch the biggest fish, find the plumpest berries, and hunt the most rabbits.
In the passing years I would periodically see Sammy at the grocery store or in passing. We always said hello and exchanged knowing smiles, smiles like so many of us Islanders have for each other, smiles that seem to connect our histories without even having to say a word. He usually had a couple of kids in tow and a huge shopping cart full of food, which looked like enough to feed an army at home.
I came to learn over the years that he continued his leadership qualities and caring ways into adulthood. He and his wife, Diane, took in a number of children and parented them into adulthood. He opened his door and his heart to the children who needed him. He stepped up to do the right thing and take charge, just like when we were kids.
Sammy Jackson will always stand tall and be a hero in my eyes. When people talk about what is needed these days to make things better, think about Samuel Jackson. He set an example that we all might try to follow.
Nothing good can come from Cape Wind
To the Editor:
I have sent this letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, to the Minerals Management Agency, and to President Obama.
I can't think of even one positive thing that could come out of building a wind power plant in Nantucket Sound.
The shoaling caused by building these structures would change the shores of the Cape and Islands, therefore changing the natural habitat for a myriad of plants and animals.
The reason the Cape Cod and the Martha's Vineyard commissions were put into place was because these areas are fragile and unique to the world. I hope you and your office will not ignore the thoughts, concerns, and knowledge that they offer. Cape Wind, if you approve it, will be a huge burden on our fragile environment. You will be sacrificing something very precious for a bit of electricity that could easily be saved by reducing our use a little bit. Please do not be responsible for this great destruction of our home.
The people behind the illness
To the Editor:
This week we celebrated Presidents' Day. There should be a similar celebration for the Dan Aronies of the world. Those are the people who for no reason are struck by fatal or devastating illnesses, mental or physical. They are people with whom unfairness has dealt cruelly. Their limbs may be frozen or their minds may be malfunctioning or otherwise not developing. This does not mean there is not a person with hopes and dreams.
Dan's wit and intelligence and love of life were self-evident to those who knew him. Yet, too often, with folks in wheelchairs or with people with developmental or mental disabilities, we miss the buoyant personality. We may be horrified at their misfortune rather than amazed at their bravery. There is no reason Dan and others like him should not realize the same happiness and fullness as the rest of us. Yet their lives are cut short or they must carry unrelenting burdens. And they do so with dignity.
Dan did. He learned not to complain, to have a sense of humor.
These folks are in the community. We do not accept them as we should. We see them. They are out and about, doing chores and running errands, walking down the block. We may turn away because they look different or because we are afraid of staring. Looking away is how we stare.
Next time, look them in the eye and smile and say hi. Give them the community that we all need. Let them know you care and that you recognize their struggle and appreciate them. They may smile back. Thank you to the Aronies for their candid and heartbreaking story.
To the Editor:
I am writing a note of sincere appreciation and gratitude for my retirement reception in the Martha's Vineyard Hospital lobby on February 3, described in the article, "All in Good Time: Gladys Welch retires" (February 4).
Special thanks to Kenneth Chisholm, executive director, and Marie Zadeh, R.N., director of nursing of Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation, and staff. It was a delightful success.
I am grateful and appreciative of all the kindness shown to me from everyone, staffs old and new from Martha's Vineyard Hospital and Windemere, relatives, friends, community, the eloquent comments from family and friends, and the love, support, strength, and courage continually from my children Diane, Neil and Darren Welch and Amanda to achieve my present life.
Thanks for the cooperation of the Martha's Vineyard Times for the newspaper article, writer Sue Silk and photographer Ralph Stewart.
Wishing everyone lives of health and happiness.
See you around.
Gladys C. Welch, R.N.
Please return the picture
To the Editor:
Sometime during the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 9, an original watercolor painting of Grace Church, done shortly after the new education wing was completed, was taken from the church. This is the second major theft in less than four months from Grace and has left me deeply saddened, as well as somewhat frustrated and angry. While the painting itself is probably not worth a great deal monetarily, it is of tremendous emotional and spiritual worth to the members of the parish, as it was created and crafted with love and gratitude by a former parishioner, now dead.
I cannot fathom why someone would steal a painting from the church. Nor can I understand the theft this past fall of tables and bookshelves from our preschool, or the recent thefts from Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Parish in Oak Bluffs or the Federated Church in Edgartown.
The peoples of the faith communities of this Island work very hard year-round to try to make life a little easier for all of the residents of this Island, regardless of their religious affiliations, or lack of one. Actions like this cut us to the very heart.
While it is tempting to just lock the doors at night and tell our friends with the various 12-step groups and other organizations that they will have to find other space to use, we will not do this. Apparently what we will have to do is to be more vigilant and a little more diligent about locking our doors when the buildings are unoccupied. This is sad, because our energies are much better used elsewhere.
But, as my music director, Wes Nagy, wrote to me when I informed the congregation of the theft via email:
"This really makes me reflect on how this Island has been changing in the last decade. Lisa and I never took the keys out of our cars or locked our homes. This has obviously had to change as we ourselves have been victims of theft in the past years, most notably in our rental home. I, however, refuse to believe it is the local residents and Islanders that are to blame, and to let a few bad apples spoil it for the rest of us, is not going to alter my opinion about this Island. With the desperation created by our failing economy, some individuals look for an easy way out to make ends meet (although what the heck are they going to do with a watercolor of the church?). Anyhow, please make sure my love of this Island and its residents will not diminish, and that it doesn't diminish yours."
While my faith in some people might be a bit shaken, I can honestly say, "No, Wes, my love for the Island and its residents is not diminished." I am also hopeful that, as we enter the season of Lent next week, whoever took the painting will repent and return it to the church, or that perhaps someone in the community might see it and recognize it and let us know of its whereabouts so that we can reclaim it.
Grace Episcopal Church
Respect and thanks
To the Editor:
I have written to Chief John Schilling of the Tisbury Fire Department and Chief Dan Hanavan of the Tisbury Police Department.
About 5 pm on February 7, I awoke with the screeching of the smoke alarm in our house. I got up hastily and ran downstairs and was met with a huge cloud of black, oily smoke. I immediately woke my wife and called the fire department. Granted, the fire department is probably less than a mile away, but nonetheless I was astonished at the speed with which they arrived; it seemed to be only a few minutes before they were in front of the house. They were friendly, insistent, and efficient and escorted us immediately to the ambulance to keep warm, the ambulance being staffed by two obviously knowledgeable and medically efficient EMTs.
The problem, a plugged fuel line to the oil burner, could of course have caused a major conflagration; providentially it did not enflame the house and was immediately extinguished by the firemen. All the windows of the house were opened, the smoke eventually dissipated, and the whole incident was over in an hour. We returned to an ice cold house with only a trace of smokiness remaining. The heating company arrived promptly and repaired the problem with the furnace.
My wife, Margie, and I commend the fire and police departments and all their personnel and the EMTs for their speed, efficiency, and friendly attitude to two rather shaken residents.
With deep respect and many thanks.
To the Editor:
The next two weeks will be the last opportunity for presale orders of the American Cancer Society's daffodils, bouquets of 10 buds that open into huge yellow blossoms. Volunteers have reached workers in schools, banks, hotels, offices, town halls, and stores throughout the Island and will return the last week to pick up their orders.
Martha's Vineyard for years has been among the top contributors on the Cape and Islands. Two years ago we were ninth in all of New England, even among universities and big corporations. Our dedication to fighting the disease of cancer is most heartening
The American Cancer Society continues its battle through its research, education free programs and services that help people fight cancer with courage and optimism. They offer free nights of housing to hundreds of cancer patients and family members who must travel far from home to Boston for medical treatment. Free transportation is offered daily from Woods Hole for patients going to Hyannis or Mashpee for treatments.
Our Island is very much a part of all these efforts. Our largest Daffodil Day contribution was $14,000 a few years ago. Last year was $12,000 which, considering the economy, was truly commendable. Because some people contribute their bunches or money for bunches, we are able to donate the flowers to the hospital, nursing homes, and senior centers.
Boxes of daffodils will arrive on Tuesday, March 23, and will be met by the volunteers who will range the Island to deliver the presales.
The next day, March 24, they will be sold at Cronig's in Vineyard Haven and at the hospital. On that same day, Debbie Magnuson will be selling daffodils, facing the elements, snow, rain, sleet or hopefully warm sunshine sitting outside Fella's, next to the post office in North Tisbury. We all hope you will be on board with us.
A warm and masterful builder
To the Editor:
I first met Dan Prowten at a dinner party given by Lucia Evans and Bill Procos of Helios. They were living in the old Cape at Wayside Farm in Chilmark. Dan had just built a barn for Ann Hopkins at the top of Christiantown Road. We hit it off talking post and beam construction while admiring the timber frame and woodwork in that antique farmhouse.
Over the years, Dan had me shingle and in time, reshingle, many of the various projects he took on. I doubt there is any place in this country that has as great a density of talented carpenters and builders as Martha's Vineyard. In my estimation, Dan had few equals. He was fearless and could see and walk the straightest line through any undertaking. I rarely saw him at the lumber yard - a sure sign of good preparation.
Dan always struck me as exemplifying the best qualities of a New Englander. He certainly had Yankee ingenuity, integrity, and an underlying warmth of spirit. I miss his company.
To the Editor:
Last Thursday, after the "Snow-pocalypse," I had to dig out my 1994 Toyota Camry, loaned to me by my grandmother to use while my 2004 Jeep lives in the Palmer Avenue lot in Falmouth. I am a commuter student, and I needed to make a boat, but the Camry isn't the best vehicle for driving through snow, even if it is just out of the driveway, so I grabbed my shovel and dug away.
I made good progress after about 15 minutes but still had a ways to go before I could get my car out.
Then a man in a white dump truck drove by me with a plow, stopped, backed up, and gave the end of the driveway - you know, the bad part, where the snow gets all built up from plows working all night - a few passes, completely clearing the rest of my driveway for me. He smiled and drove off.
Whoever you are, thank you. It really is the little things and the random acts of kindness that make day-to-day life so much easier. Thank you, thank you.