West Tisbury: Hot, dry days and nights

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— Kyra Steck

My husband has left me. Bad enough if it were for another woman, but I have been abandoned for a bright red Troy-Bilt lawn tractor.

I have always known and accepted Mike’s attraction to tools, small or large, antique or super-powered modern, woodworking tools, or anything mechanical. He loves working with his hands and putting together anything in need of new construction or repair. It’s just what excites him. He worked on a farm when he was younger, and the thrill of power equipment and big machinery has never left him. I should have been prepared when his Power King engine died, and he couldn’t get a replacement or parts to fix it himself. 

They say the wife is always the last to know. ’Tis true. Even when he announced that he had bought a new tractor, even when it arrived, shiny and metallically alluring, its fire-engine red paint pristine. He looked at it with longing, and an analytical eye toward how he could change something here, add a bit of something there, refining it to accommodate all the functions the old tractor had. It has occupied him completely. 

Our niece, Charlotte, suggested that Mike would be so busy reconfiguring his tractor that he would leave my shrubs alone for at least a little while. That made me laugh. Anything I have ever planted in the yard is seen as an impediment to a clear path for his lawnmower.

Friday, July 29, is the deadline to register for the Howes House annual Cookout, which will be held on Friday, August 12, at noon. Although I am sure that no one will be turned away,they need to know how many of us to plan for. Call 508-693-2896.

The Martha’s Vineyard Lyme Support Group will hold its August 2 meeting at the Howes House at 6:30 pm. The group has arranged for two showings on the Island of a new documentary, “The Quiet Epidemic.” The first will be on August 3, 7 pm, at the Grange Hall, and the second will be the following evening at 7:30 pm at the M.V. Film Center. Tickets for the August 3 show are available online at Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Get tickets for the August 4 showing at the M.V. Film Center website. There will be panel discussions on both nights.

Documentary film producer Adriana Garfinkel will be visiting her family in West Tisbury at the beginning of August. While here, she will introduce her latest film, “On These Grounds,” at the Woods Hole Film Festival on August 2 at 5 pm. The film is about a 2015 incident at a school in South Carolina where a white police officer grabbed a Black teenager and threw her from her desk. It was a prominent news story at the time. The film premiered at SXSW Film Festival in 2021. It has been widely shown, and has won several awards. Tickets are available at woodsholefilmfestival.org/events/onthegrounds

Adriana is the daughter of Perry Garfinkel, who lived in West Tisbury before moving to Berkeley, Calif. He is a writer, and was Calendar editor at The Martha’s Vineyard Times. Her mother and stepfather, Iris Gold and Steve Katz, live in town for part of the year.

The All-Island Art Show will be held on Monday, August 1, at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs from 10:30 am to 3 pm. Artists may register beginning at 8:30. The rain date is Tuesday, August 2.

Don’t forget the Friends of the West Tisbury Free Public Library book sale. It is held on the library porches every Sunday from noon to 4 pm. Besides the usual fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, each week features a special category. This week it will be Military and Maritime books.

It seems that this point in summer is characterized by hot, dry days and nights. Lawns are brown. Sad for my husband still waiting to mow, seated on his tractor, ruler of all he surveys.

Please be careful, everyone. The risk of fire is high, and drought has turned the Island into a tinderbox.

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