West Tisbury: Nobody’s cooking


Most everyone I spoke with before Thanksgiving was dashing around in excitement of guests arriving or themselves going to a feast at someone else’s house. Linda Alley was one of the few people with no holiday plans; hers were for a very busy day preparing for the weekend Artisans’ Festival at the Ag Hall and the opening of Island Made Holidays@Alley’s Farm Stand, both last Friday. She got it all done in her capable way; both were bustling when I was out on Friday. The Alley’s Farm Stand location, representing more than 10 local craftspeople, will be open every day through Christmas Eve from 10 am to 6 pm.

Both of Ruth Kirchmeier’s sisters, Susie and Eva, were coming with their families for the weekend. They stay in separate houses, not with Ruth and Nelson, and plan an intricately orchestrated series of meals, walks, and gatherings throughout the weekend.

Joyce and Geoff Currier were expecting Alison and Ed Pertile, childhood friends of Joyce’s from Long Island, where they grew up together.

Jay and Celine Segel were planning on Thanksgiving dinner Thursday with Island friends. Then Brad and Danielle will be here for a weekend of events, beginning with a family dinner Friday evening.

Rick and Veronica Conover were packing up all the food and heading up to Boston to cook with their kids, Richard and Madeline.

Dan and Fran Bradley planned on dinner with Andre, Cindy, and Elise Bonnell.

Whit Griswold and Laura Wainwright were heading for the boat and Easthampton, where their daughter Lila is in school. Their son, Sam, would be coming from Ossining, N.Y., to meet them for a family dinner at the Northampton Inn. “Nobody’s cooking,” said Laura.

Marie-Louise Rouff echoed a similar sentiment when she told me that her son, Michael Pastreich, was already here with his wife, Stephanie Gonthier, and their children, Megan, Karina, and Eric, all from Saint Petersburg, Fla., to stay with Marie-Louise and Paul Levine. Marie-Louise says that she and Paul just relax and watch them cook, “an enjoyable state of affairs.”

Kathy and Norman Lobb had a full house, with both their daughters home. Dee, Doug, and Skylar Quesnel came from Huntington, Vt. Amanda and Roger Clary traveled from Mooers, N.Y. Kathy and Norm also had three “granddogs” with them, Ripley Quesnel, and Archer and Patch Clary.

Richie and Lydia Olsen were going to dinner at Eric and Karen Medieros’ and looking forward to ”the granddaughter doing all the cooking.”

Cronig’s was closing for the day, leaving Haroldo Nascimento and his wife, Vanda, free at home to prepare a Brazilian feast for themselves and their children, several sets of cousins, and their in-laws. Everyone was arriving at Haraldo and Vanda’s house for a midday meal “at a big table.” said Haraldo. He was making turkey, beef, and feijaotropero, a combination of beans, meat, and sausage.

My thanks to everyone at our little Up-Island store. You make our everyday lives rich with your friendship, thoughtfulness, professionalism, and fully stocked shelves. Hope every one of you had a fabulous day off.

Rob Hauck planned to share Thanksgiving dinner with friends and relatives.

Tim and Eileen Maley were going to Richard Knabel’s and Jim Osmundsen’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for about 20 guests. The next day, they go to a leftover party at Leah and Woolcott Smith’s. Eileen mentioned that she was asked to bring the corn pudding, but was having a hard time finding the ingredients. She blamed me for making it so popular.

The Riggs/Jones/Fielder families were all meeting at David and Libby Fielder’s, 38 at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Fortunately, they had some of the family staying with them and helping with the cooking and preparations.

Bruce and Jennifer Haynes and their daughters, Lily and Hannah, were on their way to the boat, heading off to Jennifer’s parents, the Burkes, for the holiday.

Carol and Garrison Viera were planning for 16 “eaters” (adults) at their Thanksgiving table. Carol’s parents and Garrison’s moms were arriving with sisters and husbands, brothers and wives, all with assorted numbers of children. Everyone would help with the cooking, as the meal had to be served early. Garrison had to be on duty at 4 pm Thanksgiving afternoon.

Mike and Mary Lee McCormack were heading to Bridgewater, where they were spending Thanksgiving with Mike’s four sisters and families. The sisters all live close by, and share hosting duties every year. Mike and Mary Lee were bringing the pies.

Nelia and Chris Decker had 28 guests assembled along their holiday dinner table. It must have been extra fun with the two grandchildren this year, both under 2 years old.

Although invited to the Deckers, Beth Kramer, Douglas, and McCaull Reid, decided to stay home and have a quiet day together.

I saw Megan Mendenhall and Kathy Logue. They spent the day next door with Cheryl and Erik Lowe. Megan was only home for a short time; she was rushing back to Northampton, where she and other Smith musicians will be performing their annual Vespers Concert next Sunday evening. Megan will be singing and playing handbells. I’m hoping the concert will be live-cast over the Smith radio station, as it was last year. Look for it at 4 pm.

The West Tisbury Church Christmas Faire is this Saturday, Dec. 2, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. Plan to arrive right at 9:30 for the full selection of wreaths, swags, table decorations, and boxwood trees. There will also be the best baked goods, coffee, and chocolate, all sorts of decorations, jewelry, ornaments, and gifts for sale. Lunch will be served midday.

The Town Party is back on, thanks to Phyllis Meras. She was mightily disappointed at its announced cancellation for this year, so called on some friends to help, went to the selectmens’ meeting to state her case, and now expects to see many of her friends and neighbors at the Ag Hall for our usual potluck party on Thursday, Dec. 14, 5 to 8 pm. Call Phyllis if you can volunteer some time to help. 508-693-1439.

The West Tisbury Free Public Library Party will be Monday, Dec. 18, 4:30 to 6:30 pm. The Dunkls will be there, making the atmosphere extra-festive with their music. There will be plenty of greenery to make swags or wreaths from, and delicious treats to eat.

Not only are Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa coming, but the winter solstice, too. Katherine Long is deep in plans for her annual party. It will be Sunday, Dec. 17, this year, from noon till 9 pm, a fabulous pot luck of food and friends. Katherine’s mother and sister will be here, and Tom’s daughter Wendy with her husband Bill. I am hoping baby Grace will come again, but Katherine doesn’t think her parents will make the trip this year. We’ll see. Children are welcome, but our hostess asks that dogs be left at home.

I owe a belated happy birthday wish to Tara Larsen, and belated good wishes for her and Stephen’s anniversary, both mid-November. Violet Cabot will celebrate her birthday on Nov. 30. Also a shout-out to my colleague and fellow West Tisbury columnist John Alley, wishing him a fabulous birthday on Dec. 3 (hope I got it right this year).

Another anniversary worth noting: Tim Boland and Laura Coit moved to West Tisbury 15 years ago on Nov. 1. Tim mentioned that their first stop was the library. Neither has hardly left. Laura has worked in our library for years. Tim is director at the Polly Hill Arboretum, and an excellent plantsman and teacher. Together they designed the landscaping at the library. Tim has plans to begin a program for kids beginning this spring, labeling the plantings in the Habitat Garden and using it to develop garden/plant-related programs for kids.

Sadly, I need to send condolences, too, this week. To Kathy Young and her family for the loss of Kathy’s mother, Virginia Iverson, a woman of beauty, spirit, and imagination. There will be a remembrance gathering and luncheon at the Tisbury Council on Aging on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 12:30 pm, followed by another gathering at the Ag Hall at 4 pm.

Patricia Hawkes died last week, too. She was a familiar visitor to the West Tisbury library, probably daily with her husband, Peter, in the early days after they moved here full-time. They lived “just down the road” with their daughter, Jane, and her partner, Allison McKinley. We all met over dogs and books, subjects that guarantee a strong friendship will be forged. No service is planned.

At the West Tisbury Library this week, if you haven’t seen Ruth Epstein’s collages in the Program Room, do try to get there before the end of her show. It is a spectacular exhibition, very personal, gorgeously and interestingly crafted, work of a kind we rarely see on the Island. Ruth makes collages ranging in subject from the loss of relatives in the Holocaust to current events, explorations of a subject in depth, and some that are just (just?) strikingly beautiful.

Enos Ray will be the next artist to show at the library. There will be an opening reception for him next Saturday, Dec. 9.

Friday, Dec. 1, 3:30 pm, One Love Yoga’s Emily Histen will lead Glow yoga for Tweens/Teens ages 10 to 17. Sign-up is required.

Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 to 3 pm, Doug Brush and Ken Vincent’s Chess Club for Kids. Kids under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult or responsible grown-up. Chess sets provided. At 2 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, a screening of “Ex Libris,” famed filmmaker Frederick Weisman’s tribute to the New York Public Library “as a place of welcome, cultural exchange, and learning.” The program is made possible by the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association, the Friends groups of all the Island libraries, and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. The program is free, but everyone is asked to bring nonperishable food donations for the Food Pantry or unwrapped toys for Red Stocking. Tickets available at mvfilmsociety.com.

Monday, Dec. 4, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop. At 6 pm, life coach and mother Jennifer Knight will lead an Empowered Mamas Workshop for mothers and grandmothers that includes guided visualization, breath work, journaling, and expressive arts. Sign up at the library. Also at 6 pm, gardeners of all levels and backgrounds are invited to the Community Seed-Saving Library meeting. Bring seeds, borrow seeds, or just find out how it works.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 5 pm, Paula Josa-Jones will speak about her new book, “Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body.” Books will be available.

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 11:30 am, Julie Pursel, RN, will offer a healthcare planning workshop to help families and care providers plan and discuss their wishes and concerns. Find out how to start a health plan for yourself or a loved one. Sign-up is required.

Congratulations to Brian Athearn on his becoming the Ag Society’s new president, and to Heidi, Frank, and Peter Dunkl, this year’s Creative Living Award honorees.

This column has developed into quite a novel. I suggested to Geoff Currier, my editor, that it might need to be broken into a serialized version, à la Charles Dickens. It shows how much West Tisbury has grown over the years that the mention of a few of our holiday plans has become such a lengthy discourse.


The MVTimes has launched a daily email newsletter called The Minute. Arriving in your inbox by 5 pm each weekday, The Minute is full of up-to-date news, events, contests, and even ideas for your evening dinner. See archived newsletters, and sign up for delivery, here: mvtimes.com/newsletter-archive.