Chilmark: Winter kept us on our toes

Winter keeps us on our toes. Thank the rain and warmth melting enough in preparation for another snow day and further melting after another foot of snow. I tried to venture out to Arnie Reisman’s Poetry Café, but in last Tuesday evening’s wintry near-whiteout conditions, I only went as far as Pathways to hear Pathways Projects founder and director Marianne Goldberg, Nhat Nichols, Barbara Peckham, Jack Schimmelman, Heather Tilton, Ilmarinen Vogel, and the evening’s host, Scott Crawford, read poems and memoirs. I was duly impressed by the wonderful offerings made by Island artists: large ceramic urns, a full range of jewelry, outerwear for women, assorted books and CDs, and really just too much to mention. If you are looking for a special gift, go no further than Pathways Projects at Chilmark Tavern. Be sure to read Holly Nadler’s piece on Saturday’s “Women LIVE!” program at Pathways; it was an evening of constant inspiration in honor of International Women’s Day.

The sad news this week is the closing of the Beetlebung Corner branch of Santander Bank on May 29, 2015. Not only does our community lose a public exhibition space that has been mounting local artwork since the 1950s, but the closest branch for account holders is now down-Island. Of course we will all miss the smiles and cheer of the wonderful staff there, including Nikki Youngblood, Carrie Chhibber, and Kim Klaren, besides all those who came before them. Presently there are no shows scheduled for April and May. It would be fun to have a group show of local artists in May, so get in touch with Nikki at 508-645-2608 if you are interested in one of these slots.

Friday, March 6, Peggy Freydberg celebrated her 107th birthday, and I know everyone wishes her all the very best! Oak Bluffs resident Betty Dutton, now 87 years old and still riding horses and playing tennis, gave me a call the other day and told me that in 2008, she read about Peggy Freydberg celebrating her 100th birthday, decided she wanted to get to know her, and gave her a call. Since that time, Betty has driven from her Harthaven home up to Chilmark to take Peggy, every other week (weather permitting), to have her hair done in Katama and then deliver her back home. Betty, who started coming to the Vineyard in 1946 and moved here in 1976, has enjoyed every moment of their friendship.

Good news: Chilmark Chocolates opens its doors again today, Thursday, March 12. If you want to learn about healthy foods, come to Slow Food Martha’s Vineyard’s annual Farmers’ Brunch on Sunday, March 15, from 9 am to noon at the Chilmark Community Center. There are four speakers, plus exhibits and displays, exploring “Negotiating the Complexity of GMOs — Sourcing Seeds, Feeds & Foods.” Learn the difference between GMO-free and organic, grass- vs. grain-fed beef and poultry, the real cost of eggs, and the latest on GMO labeling efforts. And there’s a raffle of locally available GMO-free products. Tickets are $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers, and are available at the door or at slowfoodmarthasvineyard.org.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival rolls into town Thursday evening, March 19, through Sunday, March 22, with films showing at the Chilmark Community Center and Chilmark School. They are still looking for volunteers, so check out tmvff.org to sign up or to see the entire schedule and buy tickets.

Special thanks going out this week: first to Heather Thurber of Breezy Pines Farm for organizing and bringing together 40-plus Island woman last Wednesday evening at the CCC to celebrate and support one another in a sacred and safe space. Also to Nikki Graham for serving as editor of a published volume of writing from Nancy Aronie’s November 2014 Writing Workshop, and to Jacqueline Stallings for letting us take over the Ritz for a reunion/celebration on Saturday afternoon, March 14. And of course to everyone who participated as we grow into our own paths and support one another. 2015 is a wondrous year.