Aquinnah: Beloved pets, beach parking, author talks, community lunches, and Garden Club

—MV Times

Charley and I have had many dogs and cats over our 51 years of marriage. The dogs and cats we have loved had good lives. They had good veterinarians who cared for them, and beautiful places to explore. They were fed good food. Their bellies were scratched, their ears were skritched. They knew that our laps were always good places for naps. We watched them grow from playful kitten or puppy into sedate elders. The fact that the lifespans of their species meant that they died after 16 or so years was sad, but also understood by us.

At some time around 5:30 Sunday morning, on State Road, a car ran over our beloved family cat, Marco. Marco was 8 years old.

He was a cat of great dignity. He was a cat with an extraordinary empathy for his humans. With a regal patience and forbearance, he taught our younger cat, Paco, how to behave, allowing Paco to follow him as they made the rounds of our rural neighborhood. When the grandchildren were little, he put up with being carted around dangling from their arms. He liked to sit close by when the family played games. He frequently slept with one child or the other. He communicated his needs and his love for each of us clearly. He was a country cat who roamed our beautiful countryside and had a good life. We all loved that cat fiercely. It’s a bitter blow to lose him.

At the same time that we face our grief, we are heartened by the presence of a new animal in our town. Natalie Francis, whose little dog Princess died several months ago, has been given a new puppy. The 10-week-old bundle of joy, a Jack Russell, is called Prince — of course. Prince will become known to the town as he helps Natalie welcome people to the town dump. Next time you go there, take a peek at him. He’s adorable. And so it is that life goes on, altered.

Rachel Vanderhoop, the queen of our parking pass process (say that three times), wants to remind you of the following: a) When you go to purchase your beach pass, you need to pay with a credit card (no checks); b) You will need to know your license plate number; and (c) Walk-on passes are good for multiple walkers or bikers.

I try to keep this column specific to Aquinnah, but I think that this one is important. There will be a sale to raise funds for the renowned Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on July 8. The Brady Center is an organization working for gun reform and to ban assault weapons. The sale will take place in Vineyard Haven at the Howland Barn, next to the Tisbury Town Hall. At the sale, they will be selling old and new art and jewelry, with all proceeds going to the Brady Center. For further information, contact Liza Coogan,

The Aquinnah library hosts Thomas Dresser on Thursday, July 6 at 5 pm on the library deck, where he will discuss his book “Martha’s Vineyard in the Roaring Twenties.” On July 11, from 4:30 – 5:30 pm, it will host Deb Dunn, talking about how children learn to read, giving practical tips to help children thrive as readers. On July 13, at 5 pm, it will present Ursula Goodenough and Fan Ogilve, talking about Ursula’s new book, “The Sacred Depths of Nature.” Our wonderful librarians also urge you to check out a copy of “Warrior Girl Unearthed,” by Angeline Boulley, so that you can read it in time for a discussion about it on Thursday, July 20 at 3 pm. (I just finished this book, and found it to be terrific.) You’re also encouraged to drop in on Saturdays from 12 to 3 to do some crafting (painting, jewelry making, tie-dyeing, and more). This is sponsored by the Friends of the Aquinnah Public Library.

One more library-related note: The IGI Community Lunches that are available at the library on Tuesdays through mid-August are intended to build community, yes, but also are primarily to help be sure that kids get a good lunch during summer when school is out. So come and bring your kids, or come if you need a healthy meal for any reason. I encourage you to enjoy that meal on the picnic tables at the library, so you can meet some neighbors.

Irene Ziebarth sent me a note that the M.V. Garden Club wants you to join for private garden walks, sunset get-togethers at the Old Mill, and more. She says that there are lots of fun activities and volunteer opportunities, with members from all Vineyard towns. You can contact Irene, the Aquinnah VP for the M.V. Garden Club, at or go to the Garden Club website for more information.

That’s it for me. Today I plan to head out into the surrounding beauty and contemplate all that it means to be alive. It’s been a rough few months.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,