West Tisbury: Trips off-Island, holiday decorations, town party, jazz concert, and Circuit Arts

—MV Times

The weather has stayed mild most of the past week, our lovely long temperate autumn that makes up for our endlessly cool springs. Oddly, though, I saw a few snow flurries. Just a few, but enough to make me excited for the onset of pretty winter snowfalls, and maybe even a white Christmas.

This time of year is so special, filled with anticipation for the holidays. Decorations have been going up around town, which always makes me happy. I love driving home after dark and enjoying the white and colored lights.

For a person who rarely goes off-Island, I have been away twice in the past three weekends. The first was to accompany Sue Hruby to an animal shelter in Sudbury to look for a new cat. Since Rosie, the last cat Sue had started with as a kitten, died a few years ago, she has adopted older cats. Maxine came from the shelter in Edgartown, and lived a very blessed and comfortable old age with Sue and Jared. Sue had been looking for a new senior to adopt, and found two possibilities in Sudbury. We came home with Lily, a 14-year-old gray tabby, who has fit into the household as seamlessly as though she had always lived there.

This weekend Kathy Logue and I went off for the day on Saturday to attend a handbell concert in Sandwich. Kathy’s daughter, Megan Mendenhall, is a member of New England Ringers. I had seen some of Megan’s concerts on YouTube, but having an opportunity to attend one in person was too good to pass up.

First Church in Sandwich is a lovely old building, much like our own Congregational Church in West Tisbury. Kathy and I took seats right up front, where we had an excellent view of the ringers, Megan in particular. She gave us a bit of a tutorial after the concert, showing us the refinements of the setup on cushioned tables that protect the bells. Those bells are heavy. Hefting one gave me an appreciation for the athleticism, as well as the musical ability, that ringers need to possess.

I drove into our driveway that night to see that Mike had turned on the Christmas lights along our garden fence, a perfect welcome home. I spent some time Sunday washing windowsills, unpacking the first boxes of little houses and villagers, and setting them out along the newly clean windowsills. Next will come electric candles and the preserved boxwood wreaths, the Hanukkah picture that Linda Vancour made for me, my menorah and candles, and the crèche that was a wedding present from Barry Nevin Hagerty that is one of my favorite wedding presents; I think of Barry when I set it up every year. All of our decorations are filled with memories, as I suppose most people’s are.

The Town Party will be this Thursday, tonight as you are reading this column. It’s at the Grange this year, from 5 to 7 pm. Bring your best potluck dish to share, and wear something sparkly.

There’s where holidays start to get sad. It’s so hard not to think of all the people no longer with us. Shirley Mayhew and Ben Moore sitting on the bench in front of the fire. John Alley reading his Christmas poem. John Early building up the fire. Bob and Maggie Schwartz and Tom Vogl in the kitchen, carving up turkeys and hams. Glenn Hearn greeting guests. Many too many others. I hate losses, and I grieve every one.

Still, it will be the wonderful West Tisbury gathering it always is. The Grange will be decorated with greenery and red bows, filled with so many of us celebrating the season and our long friendships. I hope the Dunkls will be playing glorious music, and George Hartman will be wearing his Christmas tie, that Phyllis Meras will be asking for ideas for her Christmas poem. It will be the same and different, our town in this moment in time.

The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury’s Christmas Faire is this Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Santa Claus is coming to town this Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, from 1 to 3 pm. He will be picked up by West Tisbury firemen and delivered to a waiting sleigh at Station 2. Gifts and treats await.

West Tisbury parks and recreation department has begun Saturday morning programs in art, sports, and theater for first through fifth graders at the West Tisbury School. Check with Peggy Stone for availability and to register: parkrec@westtisbury-ma.gov, or 508-693-0147.

The Second Sunday Jazz concert at the library will feature the Jeremy Berlin Trio at 2:30 pm. Other special programs include learning how to use a microscope on Thursday, Dec. 7, 3 to 5 pm. Saturday storytime with Clare Page will begin at 9:30 am. Note the time; the library is now opening at 9 am on Saturdays.

Brian and Brooke Hardman Ditchfield of Circuit Arts will hold readings of their adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens at the Grange between Dec. 14 and 17. Check their website for times and tickets.

Hanukkah begins this Thursday at sunset. As I light my menorah, I will pray for peace.

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