West Tisbury: A gift I never tired of

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— Kyra Steck

I have felt a mixture of sadness and gratitude all week since Tony Cordray died. Opening a box of eggs from Flying Skunk Farm has been a daily gift of the most delicious-tasting eggs for breakfast, and an ever-changing treasure chest to discover. Tony raised hens of many different varieties, so I never knew what I would find as I lifted the lid of a box for the first time. Blue, blue-green, olive green, white, browns in hues that tended pink to deep brown. Their yolks always stood proud. They whipped into a froth for the creamiest scrambled eggs. Each one made the perfect boiled egg, with a solid white and a thickened yolk. Fried eggs looked like a cookbook photograph. Egg salad and devilled eggs did, too. It was a gift I never tired of.

Tony was also a friend. He was a longtime West Tisbury fireman, on 721 (rescue) and 731 (brush breaker) with Mike. He was on rescue, ice rescue, and water rescue. The rescue boat was his baby. He was active in the Civic Association, and served as its president. He was the guy who stood in the heat of the parking lot at the Ag Fair, always with a wave, always helpful, maybe with a bit of news about something or other. The heat never seemed to bother him or affect his good humor.

He became animal control officer after Joannie Jenkinson retired. He was at the Animal Shelter the day Nanuk, our beloved golden retriever, died. Mike and I had just returned from the hospital in Bourne, where we hoped she would be healed, able to come home and continue the life that felt familiar to the three of us. Tony understood why I was already at the shelter, putting in our names for another golden to rescue, should one come along. He had known several of our dogs, and knew we wouldn’t last long without a golden companion.

To be fair, Tony was equally compassionate when we lost an elderly cat, all of us out looking for her, when she finally sauntered upstairs from the basement as though nothing out of the ordinary was going on. We had, we thought, combed through the house and basement carefully several times before. We hadn’t realized that Mona had gone deaf, and probably had no idea anyone was looking for her. She is still with us, at some indeterminate age in her 20s.

Mike and I will miss Tony, as will so many of us in so many different ways. My condolences to Kathy and their family.

The West Tisbury library and Island Grown Initiative have collaborated to make free take-home garden kits for the public. Pea shoot trays will be available in the library parking lot on Friday, May 20, from noon until supplies run out, and on the following three Fridays..

We are all asked to mark our calendars to attend a public forum on Thursday, May 26, from 3 to 5 pm. The library is beginning work on its new strategic plan to lay out goals and priorities for service for the next five years. A facilitator from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners will conduct the forum. All are welcome to attend and to share your thoughts. 

A community input survey is available online at westtisburylibrary.org or at 

surveymonkey.com/r/WestTisburyLibrary. For a survey translated into Portuguese, go to surveymonkey.com/r/HFCT6G9. Or you can pick up a paper copy at the library.

Susanna Sturgis has begun a series called “Workshops 4 Writers,” for writers of fiction and nonfiction. She has held two one-session programs, and has plans for two ongoing ones that will begin soon. One will focus on writers looking for feedback on works in progress. The other is aimed at stimulating and helping writers get their ideas on paper using exercises, reading aloud, and weekly assignments. If you are interested, call Susanna at 508-560-0283, or email sjsturgis@comcast.net

Mike mowed our lawn for the first time this year. It had gotten quite high in places. He left islands of blooming plants he considers weeds, which have ruined his dream of a golf-course-perfect lawn. “But they look so pretty,” I tell him. 

They remind me of all the yards and gardens I have loved through the years, gently untidy, filled with the color and spirit of their minders, filled with nature’s tendency to sprawl as it will. Violets, ajuga, creeping veronica, buttercups. Many of those plants had come as gifts from those dear friends’ gardens. Treasures to me, weeds to Mike. And we go on together.