West Tisbury: Easter and Passover


The rainy weekend weather couldn’t mar the celebrations of Passover and Easter, Polly Hill Arboretum’s Daffodil Day, or any of the many egg hunts all around town. I hope the Easter Bunny made it to everyone’s house, as I’m afraid that my cat, Nelson, carried him into our house about 4 am. He escaped underneath a cupboard with no door. I left him fresh water and lettuce to lure him out, with the kitchen door open and a path laid and blocked to said door, but am not sure whether he came out or not. Guess it’s time to lock the cat flap for awhile.

It always feels special when Passover and Easter come together. For many years, we have had our Seder with Ben and Nicole Cabot and their daughters. There were years when I made the Seder here at the big table in my dining room, set with the Seder plate and Haggadahs, as well as tiny stuffed bunnies and chicks and baskets of Easter candy, a nod to our mixed-religious households. Linda and Gaston Vadasz, Nicole’s parents, still lived in Budapest then, and Nicole always missed them terribly on her favorite holiday of the year.

Times have changed. Linda and Gaston are here now, living in a cozy apartment at Nicole and Ben’s, here to share both Seder preparations and the ritual meal itself. Violet and Reed Cabot are active participants, chanting prayers they have learned from childhood. Everything felt extra-special at this year’s Seder, the table extra-beautiful, the prayers extra-meaningful, the dinner extra-delicious. Arlene Herman was visiting the Island from her home in Boca Raton, so she attended with her daughter, Lori Sue Herman, and her granddaughter, Rose Herman. Nicole Freidler, Marit Bezahler, and Joann Breuer also joined us. We had a wonderful time.

Sunday morning was busy as Mike and I rushed off to breakfast and an Easter egg hunt at Stephanie daRosa and James Bohan’s home. Their daughter, Iyla Grace, was the center of attention, of course, greeting everyone at the door wearing pajamas and yellow bunny ears. She found all of the eggs the Easter Bunny had hidden around the yard. There were lots of colored hard-boiled eggs that will be turned into deviled eggs later in the day. Lots of plastic eggs, too, to open for chocolate bunnies and eggs, packets of seeds for her to plant this summer, and most special were tiny mice that had been given to Steph when she was a little girl by her grandmother, Ella Cullen, a Red Riding Hood mouse and a gardener carrying a watering can. Treasured memories of these festivities with people I love dearly are made and added to every year.

Sometimes it seems like my whole life has become memories. I guess that’s what happens as we get older. Everything new reminds me of something else; there is a story for everything.

There will be a graveside service for Angie Waldron at the West Tisbury Cemetery this Friday, April 26, at 1:30 pm, followed by a reception at the Ag Hall.

The XLIII Women’s Symposium will be held this Saturday, April 27, 9 am to noon, at the Chilmark Community Center. The topic is “Wildlife.” Admission is free, but donations are always welcome to help cover costs.

The Vineyard Sinfonietta’s spring concert, “From Bach to the Beatles,” will be held this Sunday, April 28, 2 pm, at the Howes House.The program also includes pieces by Gluck, Mozart, Dvorák, Joplin, Becker, Hofeldt, and a composition by Sinfonietta cellist Heidi Schultz.

There will be a special town meeting on Tuesday evening, April 30, 7 pm, at the West Tisbury School. Article 25, carried over from the annual town meeting, deals with funding for the proposed Housing Bank. Both new articles request funding for projects at the Regional High School: $350,000 for design of an athletic track and synthetic infield, and $316,267 for a feasibility study and schematic design work in connection with possible new construction or renovations. The West Tisbury library and the school will provide free onsite child care for kids of all ages. There will be games, crafts, and nut-free snacks. A big thank-you to Principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt and the West Tisbury Library Foundation for making this possible.

At the West Tisbury library this week:

Thursday, April 25, 4:30 pm, Donald Nitchie and Arnie Reisman will lead a drop-in poetry workshop. Participants will read and discuss two or more poems from classic and contemporary poets, then use them as models for in-class writing exercises. No signup is required.

Saturday, April 27, 2:30 pm, the Monthly Lego Club will meet. All ages are welcome.

Sunday, April 28, 1:30 to 3:30 pm, a reception to celebrate “KISS,” a group art exhibition. At 3:30, a concert by Missis Biskis, featuring Ellen and Tauras Biskis, Don Groover, and Buck Shank.

Monday, April 29, 11:30 am, Kanta Lipsky will lead her weekly Balance Class. At 7 pm, local author Frank Bergon will talk about his newly released book, “Two-Buck Chuck and the Marlboro Man.”

Tuesday, April 30, 10:30 am, the Adult Community Dance Class with the Yard will meet in the program room, and Laura Jordan’s Little Bird Music Class will meet in the children’s room.

Wednesday, May 1, 4 pm, Lynn Thorp will lead a Sign Language Learning and Practice Circle. At 5 pm, the first of a series of five guitar classes led by Andy Herr. Participants are required to sign up and commit to all five sessions. Bring your own guitar, or borrow one from the library.

Mona, Nelson, and Nanuk are inside with me as I am writing this column. Outside there is quite a racket going on. I asked Mike what he was doing when he came inside a few minutes ago. “Working on the porch,” he said.

When we built our house in 1985, what began as a deck off our kitchen became a covered porch with white painted trim and railings. It has served as a pleasant place to read or eat or listen to the rain over these many years. However, it was never finished. The unshingled row just beneath the roof has long since lost its Tyvek to wind and weather. Rafters held up the roof, with unfinished, stained plywood underneath. Looking at it every time I walked in or out has caused me great distress. I visualized a beadboard ceiling nicely painted a traditional pale blue, something beautiful and finished, a place to enjoy looking at rather than wishing it was different. Well, it’s in progress.

It has always been a joke that carpenter’s wives never live in a finished house. Dick Burt told me it was a West Tisbury town bylaw. Betsey Mayhew, Kathy Lobb, and I used to wonder which of our husbands would finish our houses first. I think Norman Lobb won during one of his retirements.

I will admit that my husband is an incredibly skillful and creative carpenter, and that everything he does has been worth waiting for. Our front door is handmade, thick and sturdy, of a classic design. Our cherry stairs and the smoothness of the handrail thrill me even after several years of walking up and down our stairs during the day. Our downstairs floor looks like a pumpkin pine antique. Our dining room, added on 15 years ago, has windows all around like a closed-in old porch, with a brick floor that Mike aged to match the floor in our adjoining little sunroom we call the greenhouse. Closet doors in the bedrooms were only built and hung a few years ago.

Still, I have yearned for that porch ceiling, and can’t believe that I may actually see it in my lifetime.