West Tisbury: Working at the polls


I love working at the polls. You see everyone in town, and find out the election results right away if you work the last shift. You work with the most professional and congenial crew. It’s fun and interesting.

Last week I was on the early-morning shift, 7 am to noon, sharing the table with Katherine Long. Katherine had just received news of the birth of her great-granddaughter, Emma Chiasson, the day before, so between checking in voters we kept looking at Katherine’s phone for new baby pictures. Emma’s parents are Lydia and Matt Chiasson. Many of us know Lydia’s mother, Wendy Colbert, from the fiber tent at the Ag Fair and from years of Tom Vogl and Katherine’s solstice party. Maybe we will meet Emma there this year. Katherine made her a very special quilt with all different animals on it. I think it was entered in the fair this summer.

I ran into Ginny Jones shopping at Conroy’s for school supplies with her grandson, Everett Healy, who was getting ready to return to Eagle Hill School for his second year. He will be going well-supplied with notebooks, pens, pencils, all the things he will need. Eagle Hill specializes in teaching kids who are dyslexic, and Everett comes by it from both sides of his family. He and Ginny asked me to mention this wonderful school for dyslexics, hoping that knowing about Eagle Hill might be useful to other Island families reading this column. Everett, I wish you a great school year.

While at Conroy’s I also ran into Chris MacLeod. Chris and his wife, Hope, have moved to Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury with their two children, Finnegan and Linden. The move took place just in time for the MacLeods to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary in their new home.

I am terribly sad to report that Florence Paul died last week, on Sept. 6. Fudge and Ben followed their daughters, Jan Paul and Diane Wall, to the Vineyard, moving into the little guest house behind Diane and Howard’s house on Oak Lane. They were on hand to be a daily, very special part of their granddaughters’ lives. “Ganny” always had cookies and puzzles and games waiting after school; she was always fun, although a demon at Scrabble. My love and condolences to Diane and her daughters, Hilary and Tessa Wall, to Jan and her husband, Rich Rooney, and their daughter, Janaye. No mother or grandmother was so loved and so well cared for by her family.

A reminder about the Affordable Housing Planning Workshop next Monday, Sept. 19, 4 to 6:30 pm, at the Public Safety Building in West Tisbury. This is the first of three workshops to discuss, recommend, and plan housing and zoning policies in town. Please bring your opinions and come to the workshop.

Now that school has started, don’t forget to slow down driving past the school, and to stop for school buses.

The following are programs this week at the West Tisbury library:

Dr. Elliot Dacher will be leading an advanced meditation group this fall, beginning Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 to 8 pm. The series is free. Participants will read and discuss “The Way of the Bodhisattva,” written by Shantideva in the 9th century. You must have experience with meditation practice and be willing to commit to all five sessions. For more information: esd@elliotdacher.org.

Rachel Rooney will help beginners navigate the social media scene on Fridays, 11 am to 1 pm. Make an appointment at the circulation desk, 508-693-3366, or online at rrooney@clamsnet.org. On Mondays, also from 11 to 1, Rachel will introduce you to the world of ebooks accessible through CLAMS. Bring your laptop, iPhone, Kindle, or other mobile device.

Sweta Guerung and Adrian Smith of Himalayan Crossroads will give a slideshow presentation about relief efforts following the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The program, on Saturday, Sept. 17, begins at 4 pm.

The library is still closed on Sunday except for “Sew Much Time,” the Martha’s Vineyard Modern Quilt Guild’s once-a-month full-day quilting retreat. Bring your sewing machine and your project this Sunday, Sept. 18, between 9 am to 4 pm.

Mondays in September, Love Ablan offers a free group meditation from noon to 1 pm. This Monday the group will explore journaling and creative writing, so bring your notebook and a pen or pencil.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5 pm, Island artist Taylor Stone will present a slideshow and talk about her new book, “Island Magic.” Her original art “takes the form of a magical guide to native flowers alongside micro-stories detailing their curious effects.”

Next Thursday, Sept. 22, the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council will hold an informational meeting for potential applicants applying in the 2017 cycle. The meeting begins at 6 pm.

I realized this week that I haven’t mentioned Joannie Jenkinson’s impending retirement as our Animal Control Officer. I am still in denial. Joannie has been the best ACO ever, and it’s hard to imagine her not at the end of her phone answering calls. Looking back through some years of town reports gives a good picture of what Joannie’s days have been like for the past 25 years. She has dealt with: missing dogs and cats and pet birds; escaped horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, and guinea hens; barking dog complaints; animals and birds injured or killed; rabbits, bats, muskrats, raccoons, owls, snakes, even an ant call. Joannie has had to intervene in disputes between neighbors, quarantine pets, find new homes for animals, trap feral kittens, get squirrels out of chimneys. It’s been her job 24/7. Seeing her feeding the swans and cygnets at the Mill Pond has been one of West Tisbury’s most familiar sights. I can’t imagine her retiring; as I said, I’m still in denial.