West Tisbury: Life’s pleasures


I was surprised to find myself just sitting in a chair in my backyard one afternoon last week. Doing “nothing” is one of life’s pleasures, probably because it’s so rare for most of us, especially during the busy summer. I watched birds flying in and out of the birdbath, two pairs of Baltimore orioles, a pair of cardinals. Talley lay at my feet. Maybe an hour, but a perfect hour.

It was an emotional week for everyone who knew and admired Ruth Stiller. Ruth died last Sunday, but it is hard to think of her as anything other than full of life, involved in the life of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center she helped found, the life of the Island, the lives of her family and friends. Ruth’s brilliant smile was always welcoming. She made me feel like the most special person in the world whenever I saw her, and I know she made everyone feel that way. It was just one of her many gifts. One of my best memories of Ruth was an occasion when Friday Shabbat services were held at her house. We all sat around her dining room table; some of the people there remembered the early days, when services were always at Ruth’s house. It felt so warm and very special, a glimpse for me of the way things used to be before there was a Hebrew Center, when the Jewish community gathered around Ruth’s table to pray and study together. She will be greatly missed.

Ebba Hierta told me that a West Tisbury artist, Jane Foster Thame, is showing her work at the Chilmark library from July 16 to August 5. There will be a reception this Saturday, July 23, from 3 to 5 pm. Her work is mixed-media, modern masks made using collage, fiber plaster cloth, found objects, and acrylic paint. The artist was inspired by her collection of African masks, and memories of childhood visits to museums in New York, where she grew up in a household and neighborhood rich with African-American and Caribbean life and culture.

Ben Johnson and Colin Ruel are the featured artists at the Field Gallery’s opening this Sunday, July 24, from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon, the West Tisbury library and the Library Foundation invite everyone to a garden dedication party from 3 to 5 pm. There will be live music and dance performances by artists from Pathways. Refreshments, too. The gardens have been “in progress” since the building renovations were completed, and they are quite wonderful, a beautiful setting for our library.

Other library programs include the first of a series of Monday classes to learn about ebooks accessible through CLAMS, 3 to 5 pm through the summer. The Monday-night movies are “Goosebumps” and “The Peanuts Movie.” Both begin at 6:30 pm. On Tuesday, July 26, Paul Levy is available between 10 am and noon to help with your Mac problems. Sarah Waldman’s cooking class for tweens and teens meets at 5 pm. Two programs at 6 pm: “Music on the Porch with the Long Point 5” and the Martha’s Vineyard Community of Mindfulness. Mariah MacGregor begins weekly art classes for tweens and teens on Wednesday at 4 pm. “All That Jazz with Dave Kish” begins at 6 pm. On Thursday, July 28, join Shirley Mayhew and Linda Carnegie at 5 pm to hear about their new children’s book, “Islander: The Circus Comes to Martha’s Vineyard,” a true story from summer 1963.

Suzanne Hammond has just published her first children’s book, “A Little Girl, a Little Lamb,” about a young girl’s visit to Flat Point Farm. It’s illustrated by Joan Walsh. The book is available at the library, Alley’s, Bunch of Grapes, SBS, the Toy Box, Cronig’s, and from Joan Walsh at the weekly Artisans Festival.

I was totally surprised to walk into Conroy’s to find Amanda Pachico working there, her summer job. We chatted while she waited on me, and I told her how much seeing her reminded me of my own summers working in my parents’ pharmacy. She seemed right at home, very professional and capable, and it was nice to see her as the young adult she has become.

The All-Island Art Show is coming up, on Monday, August 1, at the MVCMA Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. They are looking for Island artists to participate. For information, call Bob Schaefer at 860-729-7403 or email allislandartshow@comcast.net. The website is allislandartshow.wordpress.com. You can also go to the MVCMA office in the Campground.

Space is still available at West Tisbury Parks and Recreation Basketball Camp. Sign up at the beach sticker shed at the West Tisbury School, or call Peggy Stone at 508-696-0147. Grades 1 through 4 meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Grades 5 through 8 meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

West Tisbury crew on the new fire and rescue truck 721 spent Friday evening and part of Saturday training with an instructor from Bulldog, the company that built it. Everyone in town will be pleased and proud to know that he was impressed with our firemen, who had already figured out on their own almost everything about the workings of the truck. Great job, guys.

For the past several weeks, Mike’s cousin Hannah Beecher has become attached to a hen that appeared in her yard. She named her Maude. Maude has been pecking her way across the meadow next to my in-law’s house and through to Hannah’s yard. Although Maude appeared out of nowhere, we all knew she must belong somewhere, so Hannah went exploring. The Holcombs across the Edgartown Road have chickens, and that turned out to be Maude’s original home. Maude was actually Scarlet, a.k.a. Scary Chicken for her unwillingness to let anyone touch her. Well, she is home again where she belongs, and the Holcombs are glad to have her back.