West Tisbury: We have lost so many

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— Kyra Steck

The past week brought days of temperatures in the teens and snow that never amounted to anything. I suppose many would say it was the best it could have been. We were given the pleasure of watching snowflakes blowing past our windows, but not enough accumulated to have to shovel. The ground mostly stayed wet and warm enough to melt whatever fell upon it.

There are times when I sit down to start my column with a head full of stories to tell, information to pass along, when passages of language form themselves fully, even before I begin writing. Then there are days like today. I have nothing. My mind is mostly blank, empty of anything besides a brief notice of snowflakes adding up to nothing.

Thankfully, Tara Whiting-Welles got me started with news that twin lambs, their first of the season, were born at Whiting Farm. Both are doing well, but one is a bottle feeder, now the focus of much attention from Allen and Lynne’s grandchildren, Asa and Nora Ruel. who named her Lily. The children are also much intrigued by the appearance of a barn owl that has taken up residence in the big barn.

Tara’s other news is regarding upcoming elections. She suggests that we keep up with local boards as they deliberate any warrant articles they propose. Agendas and follow-up reports are posted on the town’s website, westtisbury-ma.gov. Also on the website are forms for applying for absentee ballots. You can print them out yourself, or pick them up in the town hall lobby.

We have lost so many people on the Island these past few weeks. Tom Flynn was one of the first people I met when I moved here. He was an entertaining storyteller with a knowledge of Island history that he generously shared with this newcomer. 

Barbara Prada was another person I met when I lived in Edgartown. We became even better acquainted after Mike and I adopted Nanuk, Mari Harman’s golden retriever. When Mike worked at Harman’s, Nan would regularly wander off to revisit familiar Edgartown haunts, and Barbara always brought her back. 

Zeke Wilkins was a fireman, EMT, one-time head of Tri-Town EMTs, and a member of the old Dukes County Search and Rescue crew. 

Ken Neagle became a dear friend, a sharer of crossword puzzles, art, and poetry.

I didn’t know that Whit Griswold had lost his sister, Sarah Griswold Leahy, when we ran into one another buying Tuesday Tulips at Morrice’s last week. I hope his bouquet opened as beautifully as mine did. Tight green buds with barely colored yellow edges opened to a soft red outlined by those yellow edges, a pretty tribute and comfort for their family. 

Mike and I got to know Rod Farrow over the many years that Mike worked on his and Betty’s houses on Abel’s Hill. Rod loved architecture, and his strong sense of design and aesthetics defined every structure on his property. There were many conversations over the years as the designer and the carpenter merged their ideas and practicalities, often over a beer after work, hammering out details of whatever current project, with a smattering of family news and Island politics. Rod and Betty have become much-loved friends. 

Our Island is the poorer for every one we lose.