West Tisbury: The West Tisbury Church Christmas Faire


The West Tisbury Church Christmas Faire was packed Saturday morning. Packed with wonderful greens and food and gift possibilities, and packed with loads of appreciative shoppers. It’s always a good feeling to support the church, to support local businesses and craftspeople we know, to support our community.

I arrived a little early, so waited for the doors to open with a growing group. Someone noticed what looked like oranges on a thorny shrub or small tree planted along the right-side fence of the churchyard. No one knew what it was, but we were all entranced by seeing a fruiting tree at this time of year. When I ran into Susan Jones, who works at Heather Gardens, I knew she was someone who would know the answer. She did. It’s called Christ’s Thorn. I looked it up online when I got home. Encyclopedia Britannica gave its description as a member of the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae), native to Southern Europe and Western Asia. I have no idea how it came to be planted here, but would be interested if anyone can tell me. I’ll be glad to pass it along in a future column.

I hoped to find it Sunday afternoon when Megan Mendenhall took her mom, Kathy Logue, and me on a tour of the Smith College greenhouses, a string of humid glass structures that house collections of various species of plants. Rooms full of ferns, begonias, orchids, sedums, bromeliads, and more. I never found Christ’s Thorn, although I did see some plants with similarly thorny aspects.

Kathy and I went to Smith to hear the annual Christmas Vespers concert, scheduled for 4 and 7:30 pm on Sunday. Megan sang with the chamber singers and played in the handbell choir. It was spectacular, so much so that we attended both performances.

There is nothing more stimulating than being on a college campus. I loved every minute. The energy, the conversations, the beautiful old buildings, even sleeping in the dorm. It brought me right back to my own college days.

My thanks to Kathy for inviting me on this trip, something I have wanted to do since Megan began her freshman year; the Vespers concert is legendary. Thanks to Megan for being a gracious and entertaining hostess, and to her friends, Shelby and Feresh, who bunked in together so I could have a room to myself.

Coming home Monday night, it was lovely to be greeted by the brightly lit tree at the entrance to Old County Road. Every year that tree grows larger and fuller, needing more and more lights to adequately festoon its branches. Our firehouse across Edgartown Road has been strung with colored lights, too. I love it all — the lights, the decorations, the music, the anticipation, the cards and smiles and greetings. Thanks to the Fire Department for making everything feel so festive.

Fire Station 2 is decorated, too. Good thing, as Santa Claus is rumored to be visiting West Tisbury on Sunday afternoon, from 1 to 3 o’clock.

Another mood-inducing tradition is the Minnesingers Concert. There will be two performances on Friday, Dec. 8, at 4 and 8 pm at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.

There will be a third annual Carol Sing at the Federated Church in Edgartown this Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 pm. Peter Boak will take requests for favorite Christmas songs and provide the piano accompaniment. There will also be a display of Peace Quilts for sale between 10:30 am and 1 pm.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, in collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, will hold an opening reception for their holiday show, “Merry and Bright,” on Monday, Dec. 11, from 5 to 7 pm. The exhibition features 100 years of holiday cards from the museum’s collection and a collection of Hanukkah dreidels from a private collection.

Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard is looking for donations of jams, pies, soaps, crafts, anything home- and handmade for their fundraiser, Handmade From the Heart, this Saturday, Dec. 9, 10 am to 3 pm, at the Daniel Fisher House in Edgartown. Please leave your donations at Hospice’s office at 79 Beach Road, Suite 28, Tisbury Marketplace by noon on Friday.

I have been way overdue in welcoming Rory Bunting Goeckel to life in West Tisbury. Rory is the son of Jennifer Reekie Goeckel and Jonathon Goeckel. He was born at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Nov. 7, and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces. He was welcomed home by his big sister, Charlotte, and his grandparents, Chele and Alan Reekie.

My condolences to the Blake family on the passing of their patriarch, Roger Blake, on Nov. 23. A graveside service is scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 9, 9:30 am, at the West Tisbury cemetery.

Don’t forget that West Tisbury’s Holiday Party is a week from today, Dec. 14, at the Ag Hall. The party will begin at 5 pm and run till 8 pm. Please call Phyllis Meras at 508-693-1439 to offer your help. Or just bring a potluck dish and come to the party.

The West Tisbury library will host an artist’s reception for Enos Ray this Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4 to 5 pm. The exhibition spans most of Enos’ artistic life, beginning with his first-ever painting at age 12 and running through the present. It will be on view in the Program Room through the month of December.

Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm, come to the Second Sunday Jazz Concert at the library. Performers are John Alaimo on piano, Tauras Biskis on drums, and Michael Tinus on bass.

Kanta Lipsky continues her Balance Workshop on Monday morning at 11:30 am. At 7 pm, the monthly “Writers Read” evening will meet to hear eight-minute presentations of original fiction and nonfiction read by the authors. Sign up for a time at 508-693-4307, or just come to listen.

Time to enjoy, if you can, the rush of parties, lights, visits, and plans. It will all be over soon enough, and life will quiet down for a little while as winter reigns.


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