West Tisbury: Skunked


“Mike, do you smell a skunk?”

It was dark, about 4 am, when I rolled over in bed and asked this question of my beloved. He was getting up anyway, and went to have a look. I went back to sleep. Indeed, Nanuk had pushed open her recently installed dog flap and gotten sprayed outside. By the time I awoke next morning, I had a clean golden retriever, a sleep-deprived husband, and a house that still smelled vaguely from the events of the night.

Nanuk has always been an escape artist. Tired of repairing screens, Mike gave in and made a flap for our front screen door. Nan can push it open without tearing even the heavy paw-proof screening she used to go through regularly. Getting out for an adventure has been an unintended consequence. At least the flap only goes out, so she couldn’t come back inside to roll on the living room rug or run upstairs to our bedroom to alert us to her ordeal.

Neither one of us had been getting much sleep lately. I found Cynthia Riggs’s latest mystery, “Widow’s Wreath,” at the library, and took it right out. It is a real page-turner. I stayed up most of one night and finished it the next. Then Mike started reading it, with the same result. I recommend it to all mystery fans.

Welcome to the world, Isla June Mayhew-McMahon. You have been born into the best place in it, West Tisbury, and a pretty wonderful family, too. Isla was born on August 10 at 6:03 pm. Her parents are Siren Mayhew and Sean McMahon.

I suspect Isla may visit her first Agricultural Fair this weekend, since it is almost across from her house on the Panhandle, and also the big event of the summer. It is the 157th, and begins today, August 16. All the Island traffic will be headed to West Tisbury, so be careful on the roads. That said, have a great time at the fair. It’s always wonderful, with attractions to please everyone. Livestock, music, rides, art, children’s craft projects, games, handmade quilts and sweaters, the tallest sunflower, the tiniest flower arrangement, the most gorgeous produce, cakes, dilly beans, competitions of all sorts, food concessions from yogurt to hamburgers. Plenty to keep you coming and going for all four days. Have fun.

A reminder from John Cooney that there will be a gathering at Abel’s Hill Cemetery to celebrate the life of his wife, Lisa Kimball, who died last November. It’s this Saturday, August 18, at 11 am. Please bring your memories and stories to share.

Bill and Bonnie Rogers are here from Madison, Conn., visiting Bill’s sister and her husband, Veronica and Richard Conover. When I asked Veronica how long they were staying, she said, “Till they want to leave.” Veronica and Richard’s daughter, Madline, is here, too, also with an open invitation. Everyone is having fun being together, doing the regular Island things, especially going to the beach in Aquinnah (Bonnie’s favorite). They have even gotten Richard’s boat out of the yard and onto a mooring in the Lagoon. Progress. Hope you all get to take it out a lot.

Louise Bessire’s latest houseguest is her cousin, Catherine Hartnett. Besides having fun with Louise, Catherine is here as a member of the Ms. Foundation. She will be attending their event Tuesday evening at the Grange Hall. Then Louise is expecting Ann and Emma Bessire to arrive sometime next week.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

Saturday, August 18, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, drop-in crafts for kids, families, and teens.

Monday, August 20, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Workshop.

Tuesday, August 21, 4 pm, poet Donald Nitchie will lead a Poetry Drop-In Workshop. Participants will read and discuss a poem, then write one of their own based on it.

Wednesday, August 22, 4:30 pm, author Susan Sulieman will speak about her new book, “Budapest Revisited: The View from 2018.” Born in Budapest, she left as a child, and returned years later on a personal quest that resulted in her 1996 book, “Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook.” Her new book follows a several-month stay in the city, her preoccupation this time being politics rather than her personal story.

Thursday, August 23, 4:30 pm, an Outdoor Rock Concert for Kids with the Pinkletinks. It will be held inside if it rains.

I was invited to Ruth Kirchmeier’s and Nelson Bryant’s home for lunch last Wednesday with a lovely table of friends: Heather Summers, Dick Burt, Nancy Cramer, Mark Reisman, Leslie Baker, and her daughter, Emma Gorenberg. We arrived to find a table set under a leafy canopy in the backyard, all laid with blue and white tablecloths and place settings, looking like a painting by Bonnard. There was enough of a breeze to keep us comfortable, and plenty of interesting conversation to keep us entertained. Nelson made his special salmon. It was such a perfect summer afternoon. I felt like a summer visitor with nothing to do but enjoy myself and my friends.