West Tisbury: Dionis Coffin Riggs Day

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— Kyra Steck

August. The summer is rushing by. I remember hearing that time seems to go faster the older one gets. It certainly feels true. One week I type in the first week of a new month and in no time at all I am typing in the beginning of the next one. Don’t know where the time goes.

We are nearing Ag Fair time in only three more weeks. The fire department has begun putting up the hamburger booth, ordering supplies, and making a sign-up list for shifts. I hardly see Mike all month, not the only wife who has that complaint, as preparations for the fair take precedence over everything else. Then Mike will be cooking at the fair, cleaning and taking down the booth at the end. My reward is having delicious hamburgers loaded with cheese and peppers and onions delivered every night after his shift, but I do miss him and our time together routines.

Yesterday, we went to lunch at the Bohan/DaRosa’s and saw the sunflowers their daughter Iyla has been nursing along all summer. I think they are taller and more full of flowers than the year Iyla won the children’s blue ribbon for tallest sunflower. Keeping my fingers crossed. That is always my favorite category of all the hall exhibits. Something magical about seeing what can come from just a small seed and grow into a plant of gargantuan proportions covered with flowers that make more seeds.

I hope the latest rise in COVID cases here and everywhere doesn’t affect us having a fair this summer, or any of the other Island events. The new Delta variant seems to have changed the equation for all the progress we had made. I am grateful for the high vaccination rate on the Vineyard, and pray that it will protect us here.

Morning walks with Abby have been breathtakingly beautiful. As we walk along the path to the beach, through fields of waving pink-plumed grasses, spots of red lily flowers show as bright punctuation marks. They are wood lilies and, piquing my curiosity, I came home and looked them up, finding several informative wildflower websites with lots of pictures.

Wood lilies, formerly quite rampant across a wide swath of the country, are losing their habitats as open prairie land is disappearing. They are also a favorite food of the voracious white-tailed deer. Wood lilies grow from a bulb and bloom in colors ranging from orange to red to pink and even a yellow variety. I have only seen the red ones here. They are pollinated by tiger swallowtail and monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Native Americans harvested the bulbs for medicine, a cooked, then cooled poultice that they applied to wounds. The bulbs were also cooked and eaten. They are toxic to cats.

Driving home the other day, Mike and I listened to Kate Taylor being interviewed on WCAI about her new CD and vinyl album. It’s called “Why Wait.” She told some great stories and sang some great songs. Can’t wait to hear the whole repertoire after it is released on August 6.

Kevin Ryan emailed an announcement about an up-coming Island Theatre Workshop musical revue called “Broadway in the Park,” a celebration of 25 years of Broadway musicals. Concerts will be held on the lawn outside the Old Whaling Church on Sunday, August 22, at 3 and 6:30 pm, and Monday, August 23, at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $31, available in advance at tickets@itwtickets.org. For more information, call 508-627-2456, or email Kevin Ryan at vineyardtenor@gmail.com.

Tomorrow, Friday, August 6, will be the third annual Dionis Coffin Riggs Day of Poetry at the West Tisbury library. In-person and Zoom viewers are invited to hear members of the Cleaveland House Poets read their favorites of Mrs. Riggs’s poems on this, what would have been her 123rd birthday. Mrs. Riggs held the first meeting of the Cleaveland House Poets in 1963. Her daughter, Cynthia, told me it has become the oldest continuously meeting poetry group in the United States. I have lovely memories of Mrs. Riggs. Every week she wrote a new haiku for the beginning of the West Tisbury column in the Vineyard Gazette, which she wrote for many years. To attend in person or get a link to watch on Zoom, email wt_mail@clamsnet.org.

The weather has continued to be beautiful, sunny with low humidity. A couple of evenings have been cold, or what feels cold in the middle of the summer, cold enough that I had to run upstairs for a sweater and a pair of socks as we settled in after dinner. It was only one night, last Wednesday, I think, a respite from hot summer days, and a preview of cooler autumn days ahead.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.