West Tisbury


Everyone I know is, or has been, battling fleas, a pest unseen for many years. I have only seen maybe half a dozen. But island veterinarians assure us that one flea observed represents unseen trillions hiding in places as yet undreamed of. And so goes my tale.

Summers ago, fleas were everywhere. Animals suffered through flea powders, flea baths, flea dips, flea combs, and flea collars that all seemed to stop working by August. We had pets that scratched and chewed themselves raw. Houses were emptied of all life for a day every October after a hard freeze, so insecticide bombs could be set off to kill adult fleas and their latent progeny wherever they might lurk.

All this changed with Program, a once-a-month pill that acted like a birth control pill for fleas, preventing them from reproducing. Frontline and Advantix followed, liquids applied to the back of the animal’s neck, to kill fleas. As a result, fleas seemed to have disappeared. All this has changed as fleas adapted to and become resistant to Frontline. So here we are, enjoying a deliciously mild autumn, as are the fleas.

The remedy of the moment is a regimen of pills, switching to Advantix, and vacuuming your house every day for two weeks to get any remaining eggs. I have already warned my husband that he will be praised to the sky in this column. He has vacuumed diligently and even washed all the woodwork in our house. I am so impressed. We have laughed that our house has never been so clean. I’m not sure if my point is gratitude or surprise, and acknowledgement of the unintended silver lining in this cloud. Probably a combination of both. Whatever it is, kudos to Mike and thanks for still surprising me after all these years.

In an aside, at our weekly Sunday breakfast Jayne Beitman was full of similar praise for her husband, Ron. The results of a plumbing leak and repair in their house had been totally cleaned away before Jayne got home from work, “as if it never happened.” Thanks for good husbands.

Mike and I had a wonderful Saturday evening celebrating Sue Hruby’s birthday, her first of many planned for 2010. Sue’s birthday is actually December 16, but as a result of blizzards or seasonal flu wreaking havoc on anything planned that day the past several years, along with her general joie de vive, Sue decided to begin early and party often. As we walked into the house, I admired Sue’s birthday cake, prominently in view on her kitchen counter, a piece already cut out onto a plate. It was a vision of swirling lavender-colored frosting, “Happy Birthday, Sue” artfully described in white, pink and white candles places just so. “Jared made it,” Sue proudly announced. Never having known my brother-in-law to bake anything, I was stunned. More so when I realized the cake was made out of wood. It was funny and fabulous. We were all relieved after dinner when Jared brought out a second cake, a delicious and edible one this time, from the Black Dog.

Santa Claus made a surprise visit to West Tisbury last Sunday. He must be a Harley enthusiast, as I spotted him in Conroy’s parking lot, chatting with the Harley Riders after their Red Stocking run.

Thanksgiving is a week away, and holiday fairs and events are upcoming. Among the offerings is the last Antique Show at the Grange Hall Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. November 26 is opening day for the 14th Annual Peace Craft Holiday Benefit Sale at Pyewacket Antiques that will run through December 24. Featherstone’s Holiday Gift Sale, open through December 19, features West Tisbury artists Lynn Christoffers, Ann Howes, Marshall Segall, Joyce Silberling, and Lisa Strachan. December 11 is the date for Handmade From the Heart for Hospice at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House. Hospice is looking for donated items from island craftspeople, bakers, artists, jam makers.

Closer to home is our West Tisbury Church Christmas Faire, to take place on Saturday, December 4, 9:30-2:30. Lunch will be served midday. Gifts, jewelry. ornaments, baked goods, candies, and fabulous wreaths, centerpieces, and swags are among the offerings. The Church Faire always feels like the beginning of the holiday season to me, that and the lighting of the Fire Department tree at the down-island intersection of Old County and State Road. As I write this, I am already anticipating Santa’s official arrival in town, at the Fire Department, coming up soon.

Jan Buhrman is offering a Jewish Holiday Cooking class on Tuesday, November 30, 9-1. The $45.00 fee includes lunch and recipes.

Happy Anniversary wishes to Tara and Stephen Larsen on November 22. I always forget the number of years even though I was there at the beginning of their romance.

Our West Tisbury Library is, as always, a hubbub of activity. This evening, November 18, 6 pm, there will be an MVTV focus group, “Nonprofit Organizations.” The J.C. Trio will perform Friday, November 19, at 4 pm. Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock, Joanne Scott will present “Exercise for Life,” part of the library’s Health and Wellness Series. Also on Saturday, there is a Thanksgiving craft set up for children.

Kathy Logue wrote in about a fundraiser for Les Troubadours, the high school French students planning a trip to France during April vacation 2011. Sunday, November 21, two movies will be shown at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven. From 4-6 you can see Ratatouille, the French version, of course, with English subtitles. Following a dinner intermission where soup, ratatouille, desserts, and refreshments will be served, the second movie from 6:30-8 will be Le Fils de L’Epicier (The Grocer’s Son) also in French with English subtitles.

I keep forgetting to mention Robert Herman’s successful completion of the Falmouth Road Race a few weeks ago. In the course of telling me about the race, Robert also mentioned that his children, Julian and Rose, have become newspaper readers because of being mentioned in my column. Nothing could make me prouder, as I have been a dedicated newspaper enthusiast since Mrs. Wilder tested us on the New York Times Week in Review section every Monday when I was in school. I know there are lots of children and grandchildren in West Tisbury, all with stories that would be great fodder for this column. May I encourage everyone to tell or email their stories so they, too, become newspaper readers for life.

Thank you all.