Aquinnah: Variety show is coming together

MV Times

Right this minute I’m looking at a cloud-free, sun-filled landscape. The bare trees are proudly showing off their bent limbs, there are robins in the yard pulling out worms, and the bullies at the birdfeeder aren’t as cranky as usual. It’s been such a long gray series of days, but this sunshine is letting me imagine spring. That said, I’m not really ready for it. I don’t look forward to the prevalence of ticks. I don’t look forward to weeds and mosquitos. I’m actually quite content with the indoor coziness of winter. The teapot is always at the ready, the piles of books are at hand, and soup is often on the menu. Besides, the sculptural trees are beautiful in their way. 

It looks as if some major repairs are slated for our lighthouse just after Labor Day this year. The contractor, the International Chimney Co., is the same company that moved the lighthouse back from the Cliffs, and have been doing small projects to protect the lighthouse for some time. They are looking for housing for their crew from Labor Day through April 1, 2025, in order to avoid having them commuting from the mainland. They need a 3- to 4-bedroom house, and can pay a modest rent. If you can help, please contact Gisele Gauthier at

Meanwhile, the Aquinnah Variety Show, slated for the second weekend of April, is coming together. Laura and Kate are thrilled with the first acts that have shown up, including singers, dancers, poets, and storytellers, and a martial arts troupe. There are kids and grown-ups in the mix, and it looks to be a great time. They emphasize that it isn’t too late to step up, and they are particularly looking for unusual and unexpected skills — acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, ventriloquism, as well as more singers and writers. While they are rehearsing on Saturdays, it is informal at this point, and there is a lot of flexibility. Don’t let the Saturday timeline intimidate you! Contact or to find out more. 

I also want to remind you that the Aquinnah library is still taking applications for the position of program coordinator/library associate. This is a year-round, 20.5-hour benefited position that requires Saturday and evening shifts. It also requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and they are hoping for someone with prior library experience, a passion for books and community, and some pretty advanced computer graphic skills. The job description and application are available at the library, or by emailing with a town of Aquinnah employment application, a cover letter, and a résumé.

As to the yearslong struggle about the playing field at the high school, I am allowing myself some cautious optimism about the health and safety of our Island aquifer and our young athletes. There is still a chance that the Martha’s Vineyard Commission will not renew its years-old approval of the plastic field, which was granted before we knew all what we now know about the harm that will be done if it gets installed. They are a good group that takes seriously their charge to protect our Island’s waters, natural resources, and rural character. Let’s hope that they say no to this unnecessary and dangerous undertaking. My athletic grandchildren who want to train and compete without danger, along with myself and all those who rely on water to survive, will be relieved.

On Feb. 14, attorney Conni Baker will be at the Up-Island Council on Aging to consult with seniors who need legal guidance. I heard some great things about her from a recently widowed neighbor who went to Ms. Baker for help in sorting out all the legalities that accompany a death, and found her advice gracefully given and profoundly useful. If you are interested, call for an appointment at 508-477-0267.

Aquinnah’s own Jim Newman is set to celebrate his birthday on Feb. 8. This man served the town with courage, wisdom, and empathy for so many years on our select board, he is surely due some birthday love. Happy birthday, Jim!

And this week brings us Valentine’s Day on the 14th. Don’t forget to hug your beloved, but also remember to wish Nicole Vanderhoop a happy birthday on that day. Charley and I will probably celebrate by eating too much of something sweet.