West Tisbury: A week of birthdays

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A busy weekend of birthdays and get-togethers, along with gorgeous weather. Everyone seemed to be smiling. No coats in sight; maybe a light one, but definitely no hats, scarves, or mittens needed.

I was at Ruth Kirchmeier’s for a meeting of our art group. We were greeted by beds of yellow eranthis, purple crocuses, and white snowdrops all blooming in wide swaths of color on either side of her door. I noticed that Louise Bessire’s snowdrops and lavender crocuses are out, too, underneath her hedge along the Edgartown Road. Over the years, they have spread into adjacent yards, making quite a show.

Snowdrops decorated the table in Joanne Scott’s living room for the tea party she gave for a group of friends to celebrate Suzi Wasserman’s birthday. Joanne starts her tea parties in January, and we go through the winter meeting one Sunday afternoon a month. One of us is always having a birthday, so besides getting together, we get to eat cake.

After that, I headed to the library, where Minor Knight was hosting a 90th birthday party for her dad, Robert Edward Lee Knight. Since he was born in Texas, the program room was decorated in a motif of longhorn cows and ten-gallon hats, a long table with plates of hors d’oeuvres, and a fabulous birthday cake. Loads of friends were there, and the conversation was lively. Even Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden came; well, in life-size cardboard replicas, but they were there in spirit, holding placards wishing Happy Birthday to Mr. Knight.

The New York Times crossword puzzle celebrated its 75th anniversary this Sunday, too. It began as “a comfort and distraction” as the country faced war after the bombing at Pearl Harbor. I’m not old enough to remember Margaret Farrar, the first puzzle editor, but Will Weng, Eugene T. Maleska, and Will Shortz have delighted me every day for most of my life, and earned my fervent gratitude.

At the West Tisbury library this week: Saturday, Feb. 25, 10:30 am, a program for children ages 6 and up with Felix Neck, all about the winter habits of our local fauna. Learn how to identify tracks, scats, and other signs of the island’s active-in-the-winter species. Sign up at the library, 508-693-3366. At 4 pm, Constance Messmer, local author and medium, will speak about sensitives and empaths. Sunday afternoon at 3 pm is a rock concert for kids by Jellybone Rivers and the Maniacs of the Heart. Monday evening at 7 pm is Dave Kish’s monthly jazz evening, this one featuring a documentary and a discussion in tribute to Black History Month. It’s school vacation week, so there will be movies every afternoon at 1 pm for families and teens. Free popcorn, too.

Martha’s Vineyard Partnership For Health is offering two free series for people over 60 who have chronic health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, depression, etc., and for their caregivers, too. Learn skills and knowledge to take a more active role in your care. Classes will be held at the American Legion Hall in Vineyard Haven on Wednesdays from March 1 to April 5, and at the Howes House on Mondays from March 13 to April 17. Classes are from 10 am to 12:30 pm. To register, please call 508-939-9358, ext. 114, or email ksamways@ihimv.org.

Don’t forget the Dine to Donate at Offshore Ale on Thursday, Feb. 23, to benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. You may go to either lunch or dinner. You need a coupon that can be printed at bit.ly/charterdinner.

Parks and Rec free family skate is this Saturday, Feb. 25, 12:30 to 1:30 pm, at the ice arena. Please bring a snack or dessert to share. Drinks are provided, and skates are available for rent. Call Peggy Stone at 508-696-0147 for more information.

The Federated Church has planned a Big Easy Mardi Gras Potluck for Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 5 pm. Please sign up in advance to bring an appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, or dessert. There is a sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall, or you can call 508-627-4421 or email admin@federatedchurchmv.org.

Our West Tisbury Church has free community suppers every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 pm. You may bring a side dish to share or just bring yourself. All are welcome.

Ellie Bates sent an email to notify everyone that the Howes House Writers are taking a winter break, and will reconvene in May.

I am sad to note the death of Tom Brennan last Saturday. Mr. Brennan was a fixture at the Plane View for many years before he switched over to Linda Jean’s and then moved into the Henrietta Brewer House. He and his daughter, Cathy, would often be at the airport when Mike and I went for our Sunday breakfasts. He was a lovely gentleman, and will be missed by all who knew him.

Mike must have taken my last column to heart. When I got home from my parties and cakes, he was working on a huge tree he had taken down earlier. Chainsaw in hand, branches were trimmed, and finally the whole trunk was cut into lengths for our woodstove. Next comes lots of splitting and stacking, but my vegetable garden has a lot more light, and our garden shed is no longer in danger of being crushed in a storm by a leaning tree. When I was younger I would have looked at this as an opportunity to plant a whole new section of the garden. Fortunately, aches and age have made me a lot smarter.