Tisbury: ‘The Splendid and the Vile’

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— Kyra Steck

Heard on Main Street: New Year’s resolution: Do whatever your Rice Krispies tell you to do.

I used to hear my brother-in-law speak with a catch in his breath about how profoundly he admired all that he thought Winston Churchill had done to win the war. That’s WWII in case you wondered. My brother-in-law had been a soldier, drafted in the early days of the war. My sister was many years older than I, and she eloped with him when he got the news. I wondered, though I never really asked him, why he had such a high opinion of Churchill.

Now I think I know. I have been listening to an audio book called “The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson. It is listed as fiction, though the author claims it should be nonfiction.

The author says all data is quoted from diaries and some recently released data about the early war planning in Great Britain in 1940. I don’t care much for nonfiction, but I find this is a compelling drama, from the impressions of his youngest daughter and her mother’s writings to the reports of many active in the British government at the time. I’d heard a little about the perilous rescue of thousands of British soldiers from the coast of France in the first year of the war, mostly by fishing boats and pretty much anything that could float, not by Navy craft. The book is fascinating, with its emphasis on the personal actions and reactions of Churchill, his family, and the government people around him during that first year. It is the first book about any war that I have found enthralling. I definitely recommend it.

Our Vineyard Haven library offers information on the online educational training for state residents. You can learn about your rights and responsibilities as tenants or landlords on Monday, Jan. 11, at 10:30 am and Workers Rights at 2 pm on Wednesday, Jan 13. To register for these free programs go to bit.ly/2JGWz26.

I was impressed to see someone whose mask actually matched the fabric in her clothing. That made a very special fashion statement. She obviously takes care. Sometimes I just grab a mask and don’t think much about how it looks. At least it looks safer than not. You know, this might be a good time to decide to be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

The drama of COVID continues to drag on. Some people are being offered the vaccination here and elsewhere. It seems so right that health care and emergency personnel and those workers who keep our world working are the priority. Sometimes I think it would be better if we could have an idea that it is really happening, though it will have to take months before it gets to most of us. And then, of course, several months more for this to be effective.

Some of us have been lucky. It seems things have been quiet but appear to be safe for most of us. It is still a shock to realize how many have been lost to this disease and how many families have been affected.

In the meantime, stay well and take care to continue to take precautions. Isn’t it a little odd that we are constantly being reminded to wash our hands — again? Yet it does seem to work, so we need to listen to all the warnings not to stop being aware of the danger.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes on Sunday to David Burt. Happy birthday to Donna Paulson on Wednesday.

Heard on Main Street: The world is a scary place if you believe it is. But the world is a beautiful place whether you believe it or not.

If you have any Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Kay Mayhew, tashmoorock@gmail.com.