Chilmark: English peas, maritime show, Rhododendrons, Tom Dresser, and Patio Music

—MV Times

The shelling pea crop we planted on St. Patrick’s Day is peaking. Their taste is as sweet as candy. Morning Glory used to have a contest for the first full measured cup of shelled peas. The prize included wearing an embellished green crown and a red sash with the words First Peas punctuated by a lovely felt pod bursting with large green peas. Dad loved English shelling peas and loved attention. He liked the idea of being king of the peas and looked adorable. Thomas Hodgson is the true master gardener of peas, but he graciously stepped back allowing others a chance. When I realized I had a cup of peas, I asked mum to come with me to Morning Glory so we could close this chapter by sharing a moment with someone who remembered dad’s excitement and pleasure. Dad made sure we planted on time, but died Easter afternoon. Thank you for graciously sharing the memory of his delight, a warm hug and a few tears.

Last summer I expanded the garden to make it wheelchair accessible. I’ve fallen behind and it is overgrown. I am tired and instead of endeavoring to recreate what was, along with beds of vegetables and flowers, I am cultivating empty spaces and places to rest.

Sunday at Sea: Mark Alan Lovewell and Molly Conole’s maritime show of songs and stories on Facebook Live at 8 pm. is a terrific way to end the weekend. Last week’s show they broadcast from the Federated Church.

Our North Road neighbors and fellow aficionados of rhodos, Amy Rugel and Peter Norris, just returned from attending a symposium at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in the Seattle area. The garden is operated by the Rhododendron Species Foundation [RSF] and has the world’s largest collection of wild rhododendrons. During the meeting, Peter was elected president of the Foundation. Peter is a master cultivator and his garden is spectacular.

The RSF is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the conservation, research, cultivation and public display and distribution of Rhododendron species found in the wilds of Asia, Europe and North America. The foundation provides education relating to the genus and serves as an unique resource for scientific, horticultural and general gardening worldwide.

Come to the Chilmark library Saturday, July 1, at 4 pm to meet and hear Tom Dresser discuss his new book, “Martha’s Vineyard in the Roaring Twenties: Radicals and Rascals.” The Roaring Twenties were filled with a range of events, experiences, fears, laws, and advances that affected Martha’s Vineyard. His book talks down-Island proved intriguing as folks compared notes from our present Roaring 2020s to life a century ago. Tom has lots of little stories to share, and a special shout-out to Chilmark for creating a very special enclave in the 1920s.  Island residents were involved in rum running. Dozens died of the Spanish flu. Women voted on-Island. Dorothy West joined the Harlem Renaissance. Immigration from the Azores slowed, and airplanes landed in Katama. Tourism blossomed and business boomed. Thomas Dresser shares the back story and the import of this remarkable decade and how it has shaped Vineyarders to this day.

Tom drove school and tour buses on Martha’s Vineyard for a number of years. Now he writes books on Vineyard history.

Wednesday, July 5, at 5 pm, Peter Halperin, guitarist extraordinaire, will play at Patio Music at the Chilmark library. Peter has been a professional musician and songwriter since he was young. In the 1970s, Halperin was part of the folk scene, and by the time he was 17 years old, he was playing in clubs like Folk City and the Gaslight in New York City. “I’ve always been kind of a folk, country-blues, and blues musician, and my songwriting tends to head in that direction as well. I also like gospel.” Eventually, Halperin went to school and became a psychiatrist, but his love for music never dimmed. Bring your dancing shoes!

The Yard is open for the season and is offering a wonderful series. Be sure to check out their website. I’m intrigued by Yoga with Mollie Doyle offered July 1 through late August, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 am; Saturdays at 8 am. Mollie’s classes focus on intelligent sequencing, linking breath to movement, and building a practice that brings consciousness and ease to the body and mind.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,