Chilmark: Remembering a good neighbor

Tree trimming continues along North Road. —Valerie Sonnenthal

It’s time with family and friends, taking walks, cooking, catching up, playing with animals, rebalancing our inner selves between the comfort of always and our present lives that makes it a holiday. and I never stop giving thanks. I hope everyone is settled back at home, I always feel lucky to return to Chilmark.

My heart goes out to Ronni Simon, her son Willie Simon, his wife, and the extended Simon family. I first spoke with Peter Simon when I was working as a photo editor on a freelance job for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation looking for rock a ’n’ roll photos for a TV special. Fast-forward 30 years, and Peter turns out to be one of my neighbors in Chilmark. Like most, it was the norm to spot Peter with camera in hand at the Pasture Road softball games, Chilmark Potluck Jams, town meetings, concerts, shows, even running into him on remote walks. The day news spread of his death, WMVY happened to play a song in the morning that was recorded thanks to Peter, and they played a short clip of an interview with him. Later that day when reminiscing, they read a quote from one of his calendars; I immediately recognized the words I’d written for September 2018. Peter was so many things to so many people, sharing his honor is a growing FB community, soothing to all. I certainly loved the DJ side of him, getting to dance to a steady stream of groovin’ tunes. We jokingly greeted one another with “Hi neighbor.” It is with a heavy heart I say my final “Farewell neighbor”; we know you will be missed.

Although I did not have the pleasure of getting to know Harriet Poole Otteson, who passed away on Oct. 20, I do know she had been helping to preserve Chilmark’s history for years. There is now a vacancy on the Chilmark Cemetery Commission, of which she was chairman at the time of her death. Learn more about the duties by taking a look at minutes, regulations and more at and contacting Sally Cook at 508-645-2107.

Ben DeForest has shared that “The Red Cat Kitchen, Cardboard Box, and Oyster Bar 02557 will be the first Island restaurants with a 100 percent dedicated farm, practicing ethical and organic farming techniques to be used exclusively in these three places. A partnership with Loon Farm in Chilmark has begun. We will also be using Island produce from the great farms we have used all along. This partnership with Loon Farms and David Ginsberg will be the start of something that hasn’t happened here before; we are plotting the beds for next spring, putting them to sleep for the winter, and looking toward spring 2019.”

The Chilmark Community Church’s final Pizza Night is Tuesday from 6 to 7 pm. Starting Dec. 4, the church will serve a variety of hot meals at 5:30 pm, all ages welcome. Island artists and musicians present Offerings of Music and Light on Sundays Dec. 2, 9, and 16 at 5 pm to brighten the darker days. This week’s artists include Adele Dreyer, piano; Lia Kahler, mezzo-soprano, Misses Biskus, trio with guitars; Valerie Sonnenthal, tuning forks; the Vineyard Sinfonietta; Holly Wayman, flute, and Gerry Yukevich, reader. It’s at 9 Menemsha Crossroads, Chilmark. For further information, call 508-645-3100. Stop by the church on Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30 am and enjoy a weekly musical jam session.

The Food Truck is now parked in front of Menemsha Blues from 11 am to 2 pm, Mondays through Fridays.

Chilmark Chocolates is open through Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Pathways Arts at the Chilmark Tavern hosts an evening of “Music dance Film spoken word Art” on Friday, Nov. 30 with musicians Jan Hulka, Andy Herr, and Enrico Holly; dance video by Lisa Gross and Danielle Doell; spoken word by Susan Puciul, Niki Patton, and Scott Crawford, plus a Barnyard Saints video blog. Beginning Saturday, Dec. 1, be guided by Alison Cameron Parry at a weekly 3 pm all ages Family Qigong. For more info write or call 508-397-1743; $15 suggested donation (livestream also available). On Tuesdays, enjoy or read at Writing and Poetry Tuesdays. Doors open at 6:30 pm and events begin at 7 pm, free.

Save the date of Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 5 pm, when the Chilmark library will hold Chilmarker Susan Larsen’s talk about her latest book, “Pequod’s Galley,” a personal interpretation of Melville’s classic “Moby-Dick,” and a serendipitous treasury of 135 recipes that have been prepared in her kitchen for years. Since the language of “Moby-Dick” is rich and savory, each recipe has a quote attached, referencing either the theme or title of the recipe or the character from the book it represents. Susan will discuss her inspiration for her cookbook, and there will be samples of the recipes for participants in this program to taste. Afterschool Crafts with Irene is on Wednesdays, from 3 to 4 pm, for kindergartners to fifth graders. The Coffee Klatsch Knitting (bring your own supplies and projects) and Chess Meet-Up happens Thursdays from noon to 3 pm. Come enjoy free coffee — just be sure to bring your own mug — for a cozy, laid-back, and communal hang out up-Island. Stories with Rizwan continue Tuesday and Saturday at 10:30 am. Learn more at or 508-645-3360.

If you’ve not yet seen “One Big Home,” head to the West Tisbury library on Saturday, Dec. 1, for a 3 pm screening followed by a Q and A with Chilmarkers filmmaker Thomas Bena, Steve Bernier, Joan Malkin, and Jessica Roddy, plus Chris Murphy.

Have a great week.