West Tisbury: Small-town New England

— Kyra Steck

Congratulations to our new select board member, Jessica Miller. 

Congratulations, too, to everyone who ran and was elected or reelected to positions in town.

The candidates running for office and supporters of ballot questions had lovely weather on election day to be outside in front of the Public Safety Building with smiles and signs. They all campaigned hard and brought their ideas for West Tisbury to the voters. Thanks to them all. 

There is something so small-town New England that thrills me about our town meetings and elections. We set an example of respectful political discourse and decorum that others would do well to emulate. Moderator Dan Waters did a good job keeping everything moving smoothly and making sure everyone who wanted to had a chance to speak. The warrant articles and ballot questions all passed. West Tisbury will continue to function.

Town clerk Tara Whiting-Wells would like to thank everyone who ran for office and all of her poll workers at both town meeting and town election.

It was a busy holiday weekend with Passover beginning at sunset on Friday evening and Easter on Sunday. The weather stayed sunny and beautiful, although it did cool off by mid-afternoon on Sunday. It was chilly enough inside our house Monday morning that I lit a fire in the wood stove to warm the house up before Mike came downstairs.

I ran into so many friends shopping at Cronig’s on Friday. Some of us were shopping for seders or big family dinners; some for themselves to have a quiet meal at home. Julia Humphreys was expecting long-time friends from the Cape who would come over for the day. I had a lengthy chat with Art Nelson, who I haven’t seen in ages, a conversation about our gardens with Cathy Minkiewicz, and quick hellos with Leah Smith and Betsey Mayhew. Betsey reminded me of a huge chocolate rabbit from Hilliard’s that was the grand prize at one of our long-ago Easter egg hunts that my in-laws, Bobby and Richard Hull, used to host for our niece, Charlotte, and Caroline and Lucy Mayhew. Betsey said that her daughters still mention it every Easter. I told Charlotte the story when we spoke in the evening. That rabbit remains a memorable highlight of her childhood, too.

I attended a seder at Linda and Gaston Vadasz’s house, co-hosted by Ben, Nicole, and Reed Cabot. There were 11 of us seated at a long table, much as I remembered of Passover seders past. This one was all the more special because it was our first time together in two years. COVID had kept us apart. Linda’s sister and niece didn’t make the trip from New York; we all hope they will rejoin us next year.

Second seder night was on Zoom from the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center. Rabbis Broitman and Walt led an abbreviated service with various helpers sharing their screens to sing, play music, read a poem or a prayer. It was surprisingly sweet and felt companionable despite everyone being in their own houses. Families of grandparents, children, and grandchildren participated in retelling the story of the Jewish slaves’ exodus from Egypt, their flight to freedom. It is a story all Jews are enjoined to remember and teach their children every Passover.

On Sunday, Mike and I were invited to the DaRosa/Bohan Easter. We arrived just in time to watch Iyla running around the yard searching for Easter eggs. Two tables were set outside and everything was perfect. The yard and tables were decorated with pots of flowering bulbs, the food was amazing, the company excellent. James’ mother and sister, Mary and Bernadette Bohan, came from Connecticut, and there was the regular crowd of us who live here. Iyla couldn’t have been happier, surrounded by the people she loves and who love her, although she doesn’t like hard-boiled eggs.

This was a weekend filled with gratitude for the people and the annual rituals I treasure.

The Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group wants to make sure everyone knows that they host weekly group meetings on Zoom. Patients, survivors, family members, caregivers, friends, all are welcome to attend on Wednesdays at 5 pm. To learn more, call 508-627-7958 or look at their website: mvcancersupport.org

Dave Kish will host a jazz documentary and discussion program this Saturday, April 23, 3 pm, at the West Tisbury library. Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman are the stars. Email wt_mail@clamsnet.org for your Zoom link.

The library will introduce West Tisbury’s new poet laureate at an in-person Community Poetry Reading this Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. His name is Tain Leonard-Peck. Bring a poem you have written or a favorite poem by another poet to share with the group.

The sky was full of big puffy clouds when I drove home yesterday afternoon. They seemed to mimic the big puffy clouds of flowering forsythia, pear, and cherry trees. Early magnolias and rhododendrons are blooming. Daffodils are everywhere. 

Rhubarb, asparagus, chives and other perennial herbs are all coming up in the vegetable garden. Peas and lettuce are planted. It’s the time of year when gardening is all pleasure and a gardener’s energy and enthusiasm are boundless. There are no bugs, no mosquitoes, no dry spells, no failures. It can’t last.