West Tisbury: That lovely old barn


This is not the way I had planned to begin this week’s column. I meant to write about 22 new lambs just born at Flat Point Farm. The last time Eleanor and I spoke, she was awaiting their arrival, and had told Sarah Toste that she would be happy to bring a couple of them in for a visit to the Center for Living when they were big enough. By now, we all know that won’t happen, that a fire has destroyed the barn housing those baby lambs, along with sheep, chickens, cows, and 500 bales of hay.

Our Island has rallied around our own, as we always do. Albert Fischer started a GoFundMe account that has already raised over $100,000. There will be a potluck at the Ag Hall next Saturday night, April 6, at 5:30 pm, $25 at the door. Bring your own place settings and a dish to share. Johnny Hoy, Phil daRosa, and Mike Benjamin will provide the music.

Thanks to all the Island fire departments that sent crews and equipment out at 5 am to help West Tisbury firefighters and to cover the town for us.

I want to write a paean to that lovely old barn, to describe its structure, the way it smelled of sweet hay and dark wood, of sunlight cutting across the interior and lighting the way to a room off to the side where cartons of eggs awaited. I want to write of orange daylilies beside the doorway in the summer, of shadows from the surrounding trees making patterns across its façade, of chickens in the adjoining yard scratching and clucking a welcome, of cows and lambs in the fields along the pond. Artists have painted the barn set amidst green fields, at dawn, at dusk, with colorful streaked skies or in noon-bright midday. All barns seem possessed of their own personality; this one was no exception. Losing a structure of usefulness and history is hard enough without losing so many lives of promise as well. I know there are no words, yet here are mine.

The April Neighborhood Convention will meet Tuesday, April 2, 11 am, at Grace Church. Margaret Penicaud will speak about the Martha’s Vineyard Haiti Fish Farm Project. All are welcome to attend. Bring your own sack lunch.

The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury has planned two informal series of programs for the Lenten season, opportunities to slow down, breathe, and listen. Lectio Divina will meet on Tuesdays through April 16, offering a devotional reading of scripture between 3:30 and 4:30 pm. Contemplative Lenten Worship, a service of meditative singing and scripture reading, will meet on Wednesdays 5:15 to 6 pm, through April 17. All are welcome to attend. If you need childcare or more information about the programs, please call the church office at 508-693-2842.

West Tisbury documentary filmmaker Angela Andersen wants everyone to know that her latest film is now on Vimeo. “Inviolable — The Fight for Human Rights” was made with Claus Kleber. Watch it at http://bit.ly/AA_Inviolable.

At the library:

Friday, March 29, 3:30 pm, financial aid expert Nancy Sinsabaugh will give a workshop for high school seniors and their parents about how to get the best college aid program.

Saturday, March 30, 10:30 am, Little Bird Music Class for kids of all ages. At 3 pm, screening of “One Big Home,” followed by a discussion with panelists Thomas Bena, Joan Malkin, Jessica Roddy, and Steve Bernier.

Sunday, March 31, 4 pm, a spring concert, “A Program of Russian Romantic Masters,” featuring pianist Diane Katzenberg Braun, violinist Danny Koo, and cellist Eunghee Cho.

Monday, April 1, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky’s Balance Class. The Martha’s Vineyard Community Seed Saving Club will hold its monthly meeting at 5 pm. At 7 pm, there will be a free concert by Willy Mason.

Tuesday, April 2, 10:30 am, Adult Community Dance Class with the Yard.

Wednesday, April 3, the board of selectmen will host two public forums. At 11 am, they and a student from Northeastern University will speak about bicycle and pedestrian safety along State Road from Old Stage Road to the North Tisbury bridge. At 5 pm, the subject will be the short-term rental tax that will appear on the town meeting warrant as Articles 20-23, and 25.

A note to anyone needing childcare to attend town meeting: Free childcare will be provided by West Tisbury School teachers, sixth through eighth grade students, and students from the Charter School.

I attended Linda and Gaston Vadasz’s 50th wedding anniversary party last Sunday, an elegant brunch at the Hebrew Center for a room full of friends and well-wishers. Their daughter, Nicole Cabot, and her family were the hosts. The buffet included lox and bagels, the most delicious spinach and egg strata that Nicole promised me the recipe for, mimosas, and chocolate majesty cake. Both Gaston and Linda are storytellers, so there was entertainment, along with photographs of their wedding. It was sweet to see pictures of Linda wearing the dress that Nicole also wore when she married Ben. With much love and wishes for many more good years together, dear friends, to you both and to the Vadasz and Cabot families.

Mike just came home from coffee at Alley’s. Arnie was there and said he was doing OK, and that they were looking at the process of rebuilding, getting animals.