West Tisbury


Our weather still seems unseasonably mild as we approach Thanksgiving and the last weekend of November. It doesn’t look at all wintry yet, as one can find canopies of orange-gold beech leaves, and lawns remain bright green. Oddly, many maples have held onto their leaves while the usually late oaks were wind-swept clean by an earlier storm. Margaret Logue has snowdrops blooming in her yard. I have seen a myrtle flower and two perfect pink cherry blossoms. The allée of pear trees as you enter the cemetery is as beautiful bedecked with crimson leaves as it is in early spring, when it presents an enticing cloud of white blossoms.

Everyone is busy getting ready for company or getting ready to go somewhere themselves, planning a meal, or a contribution to one. Welcome to visiting family and friends.

I have been asked to reprint the corn pudding recipe that has become a staple of West Tisbury holiday tables. Believe it or not, I have lost my copy, but am writing it from memory. Because I usually make it doubled, that is how I remember the recipe.

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs, beaten

2 cans of creamed corn

2 cans of corn kernels, drained

1 16-ounce container of sour cream

2 packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a large casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until center is set.

It’s funny how some things become rituals. There are times when nothing is as right as corn pudding or tuna noodle casserole or icebox desserts of puddings and graham crackers. Norma Salop gave me a recipe for a sour cream cranberry jello mold that tastes delicious and brightens the table with its bright pink color. Removing it perfectly from the mold is a part of my Thanksgiving. Once or twice a winter doesn’t seem so bad to indulge in nostalgia.

Phoebe Potts will be here with her husband, Jeff Marshall, for Thanksgiving dinner with Marjory and Robert Potts. Phoebe will be reading from and speaking about her book, “Good Eggs,” at the Bunch of Grapes Friday evening, November 26, at 7:30. You can preview her work at phoebepotts.com, or read reviews by Brooks Robards on the MV Times website and by Kate Feiffer on the Gazette’s.

Don’t forget the Antique Show at the Grange, the Artisans’ at the Ag Hall, and all the other weekend entertainments. If you’re still here on Monday, the Scottish Society of Martha’s Vineyard’s Annual Meeting and Potluck is at the Federated Church at 6 pm.

Last week’s column gained me a new reporter. Leah Isabelle Littlefield, a fourth-grader at the Charter School, daughter of Lisa Epstein and Ivory Littlefield, sent me the following news: her grandmother, Ruth Epstein of Lambert’s Cove Road returned last weekend from a trip to Germany. She traveled with her son and daughter-in-law, Mitch and Susan Epstein, and their daughter, Lucia. Mitch is having an exhibition of his photographs at the Kunst Museum in Bonn. He is also a short list for the 2011 Prix Pictet in photography and sustainability.

Painter and photographer, Domingo Pagan, will speak about his work at a reception at the West Tisbury Library this Sunday afternoon, November 28, 3 pm. His month-long exhibition, titled “Eclecticism,” showcases the variety of subjects and media that intrigue him, a truly Renaissance man. Meet the artist and learn about his work.

I can’t believe I’m writing about an event in December, but here it is. Chris Wiley of Vineyard Gardens will talk about hollies next Thursday, December 2, 5 pm, at the West Tisbury Library. Chris is a knowledgeable plantsman and wonderful speaker.

One of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is that my niece Charlotte’s birthday falls right at the same time. Charlotte was born on November 26, 1985. Even though she is a grown woman with a faraway life of her own now, when her birthday comes around I indulge in reminiscences of our growing up together. Happy birthday, Charlotte.

Another special November birthday comes on the 30th, Violet Cabot’s birthday. I am grateful that we are making memories together, and that you and your family are a part of my life. Happy birthday, Violet.

May everyone reading this column have a good Thanksgiving. I know that holidays can be an odd combination of happiness and sadness, gathering and loss, and just plain a lot of work. I can’t help remembering the Thanksgivings of my childhood, when my parents were alive and probably feeling the same mix of emotions as I do today.