West Tisbury: Support and strength


It is painful to begin a column with the loss of a young man, Jake Baird, who died on Friday in a car accident in Chilmark. Chilmark called West Tisbury for mutual aid about 8 o’clock that morning, reporting three people in a car that had gone off the road at Middle Road and Tea Lane. Everyone on the Island who knew him, parents, teachers, and classmates, was devastated. Everywhere I went all weekend, everyone had stories and occasions and memories of his life to share. Our Island always comes together at these times to offer sympathy and support to Jake’s family and the friends who will miss him.

Warming temperatures last week melted the last of our snow, but left mud and pools of water over invisible (treacherous) ice everywhere. I was worried about plants rotting in that standing water, but it seems to have disappeared and been absorbed into the ground. Looking at a prize chartreuse-blooming primrose barely peeking out from one of these puddles I wasn’t sure whether it was worse to leave it or move it; terrible conditions either way. Glad I didn’t have to do anything. Hopefully, it will survive and continue to flourish come spring.

The weather continued to dominate conversations and lives. Boats ran sporadically. Winds were intense, leaving a litter of branches and dead leaves everywhere. Dog walks were short. The cat decided to do his hunting inside, leaving Mike and me to shut him in the hallway while we “encouraged” his mouse out the door.

Isaac Silber-Parr’s bar mitzvah was postponed for almost an hour Saturday morning as we waited inside the Hebrew Center for the ferry to bring approximately 30 of Laura Silber’s off-Island relatives to Vineyard Haven. They had been stranded in Woods Hole since Friday. Everyone finally arrived, and Isaac’s bar mitzvah turned out to be the moving and celebratory occasion his family intended. Isaac assisted Rabbi Broitman with parts of the service, he was called to the Torah for the first time, and he and Rabbi Broitman spoke eloquently about Isaac’s Torah portion, his questioning and comments as they prepared together for this special day. All in front of a full congregation of family and well-wishers, school friends, and a group of Isaac’s childhood babysitters. Congratulations to Isaac and to his parents, Laura Silber and Jim Parr.

Congratulations to the Segel, McCrumb, and Howard family, who are celebrating the birth of Nathan Christopher Howard on Jan. 4 to Vikki and Dan Howard of Alton, N.H. Everyone awaited Nathan’s birth at the hospital as the huge bombogenesis snowstorm raged outside. Nathan arrived at 8:30 am, weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces, and in perfect health.

A belated thank-you from John, Diane, Jack, and Kevin at our West Tisbury Post Office “for all the cheer and goodies; you spoil us.” This message is belated because I kept forgetting to put it in the column. Diane called me right after the holidays to ask me to include it. My apologies.

Cape Light Compact has announced a storm assistance program for residential and business customers to replace their oil or propane heating systems. Money is available to help pay for the replacement as a result of flooding from the recent storms and/or cold temperatures. You must call by Jan. 31 to qualify, and for details about the program: 800-797-6699.

Representatives from Cape Light Compact will be at the West Tisbury library this Sunday, Jan. 21, at 3 pm. The program is a collaboration between the library and the Green Team of the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Learn how to understand your electric bill, and ways to save energy and money through energy efficiency. They will likely be able to answer some of your questions about this heating system replacement program, too.

Other programs at the library this week:

Friday, Jan. 19, 10:30 am, open chamber music recital led by Cesar Atzic Marquez.

Saturday, Jan. 20, 4 pm, Sassafras Earth Education’s Saskia Vanderhoop will speak about “Connecting With Nature,” and lead a discussion about the importance of families spending time outside in the wild and staying connected to the outdoors during this winter season.

Sunday, Jan. 21, 3 pm, is the Cape Light Compact program.

Monday, Jan. 22, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop. At 2 pm, a Password Manager Class will discuss security, and help participants set up an account with LastPass. Sign-up is required. At 7 pm, Dave Kish will show a documentary about jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, with a discussion afterward.

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 4 pm, “Sign Language Learning and Practice Circle” with Lynn Thorpe.

The West Tisbury board of selectmen will hold a public meeting at the library on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 5:30 pm, to introduce Lt. Matt Mincone, candidate for chief of police. It will give town residents an opportunity to ask questions of Lt. Mincone and the selectmen.

A “belated” Christmas and New Year’s card from Julia Humphreys arrived in Friday’s mail. It showed her darling golden retriever puppy, Quetzi, wearing a holiday green collar and standing in front of a beribboned Christmas wreath. When I spoke with Julia later, she again apologized for the lateness of her card, and said that she had been afraid she wouldn’t have gotten them out before Valentine’s Day. I told her it made me feel much better, as I was sitting here with my bag of as-yet-unsigned/unsent cards still awaiting my attention. It reminded me of the year Henry Bassett sent out his late holiday cards with the greeting “Happy Everything.”