Tisbury: Prince Philip and the Queen

— Kyra Steck

Heard on Main Street: Everyone you meet should be greeted with a smile — even if she can’t see it through your mask.

Celebrate Earth Day all week. The VCS Beach Day Clean-up is Saturday, April 17. The VTA is providing free bus service and complimentary clean up kits for those traveling to conservation sites from now through next Thursday, April 22, including school vacation week. Enjoy spring and give back to our beautiful Island. Don’t forget masks and social distancing.

As our weather improves, it is fun to have the Vineyard Haven library offer us Backyard Book Browsing on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, weather permitting. Bring your card, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Sanitize your hands, too. And don’t touch books you don’t intend to check out. Enter by the path behind the library off Greenwood Avenue. If it is crowded, your time may be limited.

Sometimes it is surprising what grabs your attention. A recent article in the other paper said “a spattering” of people testified about the turf issues at the high school and listed coaches, scientists, parents, and others. My reaction was that one usually uses the phrase “a smattering” of people, not spattering. So I looked it up.

Smattering generally refers to a small amount so I had to agree that was not the right word. But spattering just did not sound right. The definition was “covered with drops or spots of something,” which fits into my sense of the word. Because there were several, it seemed to me “a selection” might have been a better choice. Though in fact, saying “several” people would have been even better.

I was sorry to hear of Prince Philip’s death, but it had a more personal meaning to me. In my early 20s, my English roommate and I decided to go to England for a few weeks in the summer. She lived in London and my grandfather, whom I hadn’t seen for 10 years, lived in the Midlands.

I wanted to see the Queen while I was in London. My friend suggested I go to a large park because the Queen would be returning from a public event on the road curving through the park. She said to look for a British bobby and park nearby. When I saw the single policeman in full uniform with white gloves, I parked off-road and walked to him. He told me to go just around the corner because the car would slow down to enter the curve.

I did not have to wait too long until the black car came along. I could clearly see the Queen in the rear seat on the far side with Prince Philip on my side. I lifted my camera and took a shot.

As I was lowering the camera, I was horrified to see the flash had so startled the Prince that he had moved forward to shield his wife from my threat. I have no idea where the photo is but have felt seriously guilty ever since for causing a moment of terror for them. His death has brought back that scene very clearly.

Tisbury has signs all over saying you have to wear a mask in town. Are these enforced in any way? Someone said she was in Stop & Shop when a woman not wearing a mask was approached by the manager and told she had to leave or put a mask on. She declared she didn’t have to and continued loudly talking on her phone. My friend just left the store. I wasn’t there but have heard other such stories. I guess you would have to call the health agent for help. Is there any enforcement at all?

I’ve heard people say that, but they were teenagers. I know they react without thinking. One was outside on a sidewalk, so I just asked him to turn his back so I could walk past him — and he did. Was our sudden surge caused by visitors? The new more contagious varieties of COVID are probably part of it. I ask all of you to be even more careful so you — and I — can stay well.

Cove Mini Golf on State Road will open for school vacation on Saturday, April 17, through Sunday, April 25, from noon to 5 pm. Golfers can also enjoy a coupon for 5 percent off at Little House Cafe.

Big bunches of birthday balloons go out today to Ann Lee and Mike McLaughlin. Tomorrow, wish the best to Jack Rizza and Becky Renear. Saturday belongs to Ann Maley. Wishing a very happy birthday on Monday to Rozetta Hughes and Bob Tankard.

And a special bouquet of birthday wishes and sympathy go out to the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth II will be 95 on Wednesday. It is hard to believe this is the lady who came to the throne in 1952 and is the longest reigning monarch in England.

Heard on Main Street: Just look at the lovely flowers!

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