Aquinnah: Garden Club, Meat Ball, Soup Social, beach grass, and Nancy Aronie

—MV Times

Last week was one of the quietest weeks of the year around the Island. School was out, skies were mostly gray, and, with winter doldrums hovering about; many folks fled the Island in search of warm weather, or skiing, or simply for something different to look at. Now things are beginning to speed up a bit. The kids are back at school. Bulbs are sprouting (some of them up a good six inches already), and I’ve spied early witch hazel blooming mid-Island. Here in Aquinnah, the air has occasional strong hints of spring warmth interwoven with the customary blasts of icy cold air, and I am looking at the garden and making plans.

Other folks must also be thinking of spring gardening. I have been told that the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has two new members from Aquinnah, making them a full six-town group. JoAnn Fruchtman and Suzanne Boyer have now become members, ready to join gardeners representing all the other towns on the Vineyard as they share wisdom and have fun. If you are interested in joining, go to their website at

Coming up this weekend is the best titled fundraiser I know of. On Saturday, March 9, at the Ag Hall, the Ag Society is presenting its eighth annual Meat Ball. Doors open at 5:30, and dinner presented by Slough Farm will be served from 6 pm until it’s gone (and, yes, vegetarian entrées will be available, as well as entrées featuring locally grown meat). Live music will be presented by the wondrous Missus Biskis, and if you go you will find families with little kids, seniors, and everyone in between dancing and eating and helping to support the Ag Society’s many programs. Tickets are available in advance on the website,

On Wednesday, March 13, at noon, there will be a Soup Social at Howes House presented by the Up-Island Council on Aging. Come for yummy soup and great conversation, then stay on for board games and friendship. On Thursday, they are presenting their Thursday luncheon, this time offering up a traditional St. Patrick’s Day menu of corned beef and cabbage. They ask that you call 508-693-2896 to reserve a spot at either or both of these events.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to text with your kids or grandchildren, seniors are invited to bring their smartphones to Howes House on any Thursday in March at 11 am. You will get help becoming more comfortable with your phone and learning all that it can do. This is a free service that matches up nicely with the other tech support they are offering through their TechPro program. Just drop by on any Thursday in March at 11 am for the smartphone help, or call the council at 508-693-2896 for Tech Pro help.

It’s a bit early, but you might want to save the date on your calendar: On April 13, from 9 to noon, the Wampanoag Tribe is coordinating its annual Beach Grass Planting at Lobsterville. This year, breakfast and beverages will be provided by our own local Quitsa Cuisine caterers, and volunteers are asked to help plant hundreds of bunches of beach grass to help protect the dunes. To find out more, go to To RSVP, contact This is a hardworking and wonderful community building event. Plan to go, take the family, and give some love back to this marvelous beach.

Many years ago, I attended one of Nancy Aronie’s Chilmark Writers Workshop powerful gatherings. Nancy is one of those rare human beings who truly believes in the power and wonder of each person’s story. Everybody has one, you know — a story — and Nancy is the person who will help you to open up and get it written. She has announced another of her Writing From the Heart workshops, which will run from April 19 to 21. Go to for more information, then, if you can, sign up. You won’t be sorry.

I was sorry to hear about Barbara Wallen’s fall and cracked ribs. Barbara is tiny, but she has a mighty spirit, so I am hopeful for a speedy recovery. Send her healing thoughts. I am, right along with neighborly love.

Birthday cheers to Andrea Muir and Malia Bodnar on March 3, to Reed Vanderhoop on March 7, and to Lisa Vanderhoop and Ken Wentworth, who share March 13.

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