West Tisbury: Howes House focus groups, and Crop Walk

— MV Times

What a wild week of weather. Rainy, raw, windy days followed by days that felt like summer redux. All you can do is wear layers this time of year.

It was a busy weekend of events. I was a member at one of the Howes House focus groups that met Saturday morning to discuss possibilities for the planned renovation, what programs we used, maybe new programs we envisioned. It was an interesting discussion, interesting to hear other points of view and priorities. The forums were held all last week, moderated by Cindy Trish, executive director of Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard, and assisted by members of the building committee. I have spoken with friends who attended on other days. Every group was different. I can’t wait to hear their report.

Later in the day, the program room was overflowing for a wonderful tribute to Dr. Milton Mazer at the library. His book of letters written during the Vietnam War, “David’s Slingshot,” was introduced, followed by a panel discussion about the founding and early days of Community Services and Island Counseling. I am looking forward to reading Whit Griswold’s book review in The MV Times (“Preserving an era,” Oct. 5). Copies of “David’s Slingshot” are available at the library.

On Sunday afternoon, a group of us gathered at the Ag Hall to remember and celebrate the life of Debby Athearn. Although it was definitely a crowd, it felt intimate, the hall filled with people I have known since moving to the Island, people who grew up here and knew one another forever. We have all grown older together, and share the loss of any of our friends. Debby’s nieces, Dee and Amanda (née Lobb) came from off-Island with their husbands and Dee’s daughter Skyler. We all felt Debby with us that afternoon, strumming her ukelele, and looking down with amusement..

Jen Rand is looking for a West Tisbury resident to serve for one year as disabled commuter representative on the VTA board. If interested, contact her in the select board office at Town Hall with your letter of interest, or for more information. Her phone number is 508-696-0102; email is townadmin@westtisbury_ma.gov.

Early in-person voting will begin at the Public Safety Building on Oct. 22. Town clerk Tara Whiting-Wells will be there between 8 and 11 am on the 22nd, then Oct. 24–28, and Oct. 31–Nov. 4. You may also register to vote when she is there, or at Town Hall. The last day to register to vote before Election Day, Nov. 8, is Saturday, Oct. 29. Tara will be there from 9 am to 5 pm that day.

I apologize for my mistake in last week’s column, giving the incorrect date for Ginny Jones’s bulb-planting project. It is this Saturday, Oct.15. Her description is much better than mine, so I am quoting it here: “Last year a group of enthusiastic volunteers planted about 600 spring bulbs in the West Tisbury cemetery, and on several private gravesites and spots around town. It was poignant and sobering, but also joyful, and it made us all feel good for spending time with family and friends who have gone before, as well as those who were still out and about. Then we had the pleasure of seeing the daffies and narcissus last spring, and we decided to do it again. This year I ordered more, so that we can extend the project to Lambert’s Cove and a few more sites (we have permission to plant some at the Town Hall and around the fence posts at the Howes House). I have about 300 bulbs — for LC — and three or four potential volunteers.”

Come to the cemetery at 11 with shovels, trowels, whatever bulb-planting tools you use, along with a bag or trug to carry the bulbs. “Bring grandkids!” Cider, apples, snacks would be appreciated. Call Ginny at 508-693-8397 to respond or arrange to pick up bulbs. She is looking for a volunteer with a truck to transport the bulbs to the cemetery.

This year’s varieties are: Narcissus poeticus ‘Recurvus,’ a lovely old variety with white petals and a yellow and red, fairly flat trumpet; ‘Cheerfulness,’ ‘Sir Winston Churchill,’ and ‘Delnashaugh,’ all fragrant double daffodils, and a professional mix.

Neighbor Greg Drake responded to the bulb-planting story last week with a recommendation for his favorite tool to get the job done. He uses an auger bit on a cordless drill. He said he can plant 80 bulbs with two battery packs, drilling down five to seven inches, removing the soil plug, and dropping in the bulb. He has been using this method in his Edgartown Road yard and at Woodside Village.

The 32nd annual CROP Walk will begin at 11:30 am this Sunday, Oct. 16. Walkers are to meet outside St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven. The West Tisbury Church has a group signed up, and will welcome anyone else’s participation. Contact Sydney Mullen at 

860-716-2277, or sydneysarahmullen@gmail.com; or register or donate online at

crophungerwalk.org/marthasvineyard. They can also use helpers for setting up, registration tables, and preparing food for returning walkers. Twenty-five percent of funds raised will go to the Island Food Pantry and Vineyard Committee on Hunger, the remainder to Church World Service for distribution in the U.S. and globally. You may organize your own group to walk either on Sunday, or during the extended Walk-a-Thon from Oct. 1 to 16.

Peggy Stone has announced that Parks and Recreation will host its annual Halloween party on Oct. 31, 6 to 8 pm, at the Ag Hall. Save the date.

Kara Taylor’s last show of the season, “Abstracting the Hourglass: Making Peace With Time,” will be on view at her South Road gallery this Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm.

The “Fall 20+ Artists,” curated by Tanya Augustinos, is at Featherstone through Nov. 4.

Even though it was crisp and cool, it felt good to sit outside the Ag Hall in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon. Brian Athearn’s roasted pig was delicious, as were the potluck dishes everyone brought. There were dogs and children, relatives and neighbors, inside and outside. We grieved and we laughed together.

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