Oak Bluffs: Friendly while out and about


Now the iris and late-blooming azaleas have replaced the blossoms of lilacs and goldfinch, and many varieties of woodpeckers are flocking to the feeders. The oranges we put out for the birds who have a sweet tooth have been vanishing at an alarming rate, but then I spied the woodpeckers having a feast on them, and they could demolish one in a few minutes.

Memorial Day arrived, and the most familiar thing about it to me was my flying the flag as I always do on that date, and will continue to do so daily for the months ahead. No matter what the worries or predictions, Memorial Day weekend arrived very different from what we were used to. The crowds did come, although in somewhat reduced numbers, and unfortunately the weather was not particularly warm and welcoming. It was good to see more people about, but it would have been nicer if more of them had been socially distancing to keep everyone safe, including themselves. Bicycle riders traveling down the road in front of my house have at least tripled in the past couple of weeks, with their welcoming chatter, singing and waving as they go by. It seems to me that most people are waving or smiling as they walk by or drive by, which gives us a social connection in these times of isolation.

The free Grab and Go Meals program is continuing to be available at our Oak Bluffs School. The meals are for children and students ages 21 and under. You are asked to preorder, if possible, at oakbluffsschool.com. Each lunch bag will include breakfast, lunch, and snack for three days.

Here we are facing a reduction in tourism this summer due to the coronavirus, and as Tom Dresser said, “how ironic” that his latest book, “The Rise of Tourism on Martha’s Vineyard,” will be published this June by the History Press.

Tom was generous enough to share some information from his book. The tourist trade on Martha’s Vineyard got its start 185 years ago, when Jeremiah Pease hosted a Methodist retreat in what became Oak Bluffs. Nine families pitched tents, in 1835, to pray, sing, and listen to preachers preach. The popularity of this Camp Meeting Association grew exponentially over the years: 100 tents by 1850; 6,000 mostly off-Island adherents attended the final Sunday service in 1855. In the post–Civil War era, more than 500 gingerbread cottages replaced the tents as the Methodist Campground flourished beyond belief. Wesleyan Grove was nationally recognized as a summer religious community, thus the tourist industry on Martha’s Vineyard was born. For more information, visit thomasdresser.com.

One of the most charitable organizations on the Island is now in need of our help. The Holy Ghost Society, known to most of us as the P.A. Club, is facing an economic crisis due to the pandemic. The club has been the venue of many a fundraiser, including the M.V. Chili Contest, and benefits for other organizations and families, as well as hosting fish and chicken dinners that support the club itself to enable them to continue their good works. Because of the virus quarantine restrictions, none of these events have been able to take place. A GoFundMe page has been created to assist this benevolent society. Please consider donating money to help.

I know the news is short, but many places, including the Council on Aging and Oak Bluffs library, according to their websites, are still closed due to the virus.

Please send news you may have to me at meganislandmegan@comcast.net, and we will continue to let you know what is going on in our town.

We send birthday Smiles to Charlene Barbosa and Vicki SImione on May 31, Jaime Riley and Erika Cournoyer on June 1, Mia Rebello on June 2nd, and Bert Combra on June 4th.

Enjoy your week. Peace.