West Tisbury


Leaves have appeared overnight. Lawns and fields are bright, fresh green. Shad bush, its blossoms like soft breath, seems to float along the roadsides and through the woodlands.

Driving home the other evening, I noticed Lynn Christophers ahead of me, turning into her driveway at the Cleaveland House. We had been playing phone-tag for too long, so I took my opportunity and followed her in. It was one of those golden evenings, the sunlight softening everything it touched. Cynthia Riggs was in her garden. It was the perfect setting for a visit.

Cynthia’s garden is magical. It winds in along the driveway, daffodil-lined. Then you walk through a series of herb-and-flower-filled raised beds she made of bricks from her old chimney, to an enclosed vegetable garden. That is where she was, picking enough of her early greens for a dinner salad. Among the greens was an odd-looking knobbly thing I had never seen before. Cynthia introduced me to Jerusalem artichokes and told me a bit of their history.

Jerusalem artichokes are an old New England vegetable, the root of a sunflower-type plant that easily spreads around its original planting site. The name is an anglicized version of “girasole,” French or Italian for “sunflower.” Cynthia sent me home with some for Mike’s and my dinner, with recipes, and extra roots already planted in a corner of my garden. As I said to her, a very satisfactory visit. I learned something new, had something for dinner, and had half my column written after listening to Cynthia’s story. Thanks.

By the way, if you are wondering what happened to Lynn, she was diverted by Daphne, Cynthia’s cat, prancing through the yard carrying a large, formerly-living thing in her mouth. Lynn is a photographer and cats are her specialty and passion. So, after chatting at the beginning, Lynn and camera disappeared. She returned and joined us in the garden for awhile after getting some prized shots of Daphne showing off her accomplishments.

I couldn’t make much mention in last week’s column about the April 22 birthdays of father and son, Nelson and Jeffrey Bryant. Everyone around them was playing it cool because of a surprise party planned for Saturday night at Rob and Gina Oslyn’s house. Sam Bryant came home from New York for the actual birthday, a traditional game dinner at Nelson and Ruth’s, all shot by the celebrating gentlemen. Jeff seemed surprised that Sam planned to remain home through the weekend. They were invited to Gina and Rob’s for dinner Saturday evening. Jeffrey, unsuspecting, was surprised by about sixty friends and relatives, gathered to celebrate his 60th birthday. Rob Oslyn and Rob Morgan collected friends, bandmates, and acquaintances from long ago. There was wonderful food, music, and affection in abundance. And a mild, perfect night.

Linda Vadasz was here from Budapest to celebrate three birthdays and to spend time with her beloved granddaughters. Linda’s birthday was April 16. She, her daughter, Nicole Cabot, and granddaughters, Violet and Reed Cabot, travelled to New York City, where a party was held for Linda’s mother’s 90th birthday on April 17. They are back in West Tisbury, relaxing, reading, and enjoying one another, celebrating Nicole’s birthday on April 27. Linda will return home to Gaston this weekend. We will all be sad to see her go.

Don’t forget tonight’s public forum at our library, 7 pm. Trustee Dan Waters will lead the discussion, providing information about the history of the library, its current use and needs, and our eligibility for a one-time state grant that may cover a substantial portion of the cost of an expansion. Please come and share your thoughts.

Olivia, a well-known literary pig, was guest of honor at the West Tisbury Library last Friday. She met an overflowing group of children and parents, filling the children’s room and up the stairs into the room above. There were questions and hugs, and stories, of course. If you don’t know Olivia yet, come to our library and start with her first book by Ian Falconer.

Vineyard Gardens’ Saturday Lecture Series continues with a talk by Tom Clark of the Polly Hill Arboretum. His subject is “Woody Plants,” low-maintenance and sustainable plants that do well on Martha’s Vineyard. The talk is free and begins at 11 am. Call 508 693-8511 for more information.

Have dinner at Zephrus Sunday, May 2, and help support the West Tisbury Church. Zephrus is donating 20 percent of the proceeds from a special evening of “good food and fellowship.” Dinner is served between 5 and 9 pm. Call Zephrus at 508 693-3416 or Dinny Montrowl at 508 696-4917 to reserve a seat or a table. Or just show up. All are welcome.

There will be a party on May 8 for retiring Police Chief Beth Toomey. More information in next week’s column.