West Tisbury: Income taxes, elder services, planting trees, library programs, and plant nurseries

—MV Times

Our dining room table has finally been returned to its tranquil self after a week of serving as income tax preparation central. Mike and I signed and sealed and stamped our envelopes, then used leftover forms to start our fire last night. It’s behind us for another year.

I think it would benefit all of us to do our own taxes. It is a sobering and exhilarating feeling to go through the 1040 form, seeing how the standard deductions reduce your taxable income. That said, whoever writes those forms and the instructions makes it as indecipherable an exercise as they can. There is nothing more frustrating than going through a lengthy page of inexplicable directions that get you either to zero or back to the number you entered on line 1.

Social Security and Medicare are the biggest amount most of us pay. They also give the biggest return. I can’t begin to say how those two programs have changed our lives, and they last as long as we live, no matter how much we have contributed. Despite the chunk it takes out of salaries or self-employment income throughout our full-time working lives, it is a bargain. Probably not enough for most of us to live on, but at least something, and I am happy to contribute to helping someone else have some comfort in their old age or through a lifetime disability.

Someone said that taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society. I remember feeling proud the first year I made enough to pay taxes. Being self-employed, it was always a crapshoot whether I had paid in enough or whether I would have to write a check at tax time. But still, I do believe it is a worthy goal that citizens contribute toward the betterment of all, and I feel frustrated when people complain about paying taxes, then complain about poor schools, potholes, failing bridges, slow government response to everything from a person to answer a question to massive help after a hurricane. I do believe that we all benefit from a well-run government. On all levels.

I hope young people will remember this as you pay through your working years. There is a lot to recommend the civics education we had in the 1950s. I’m not stupid enough to think that all government spending is good, careful, and corruption-free, but it’s still the system we have, and it is worth making it work for all of us as best we can.

Participating in our local government and organizations is also important. Town treasurer Kathy Logue is looking for a new assistant treasurer/collector to replace Joan Chavez, who is leaving at the end of June. Application forms, due by April 26 at noon, are on the town website: westtisbury-ma.gov/about-west-tisbury.

If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels driver, the need is there. Call Megan Panek at Elder Services of Cape Cod & the Islands at 508-693-4393.

Martha’s Vineyard Democrats monthly meeting is this Saturday, April 13, on Zoom. The “doors” open at 9:15 am for the 9:30 meeting. Guest speaker is Arielle Faria, candidate for State Representative, and the agenda includes a discussion of opportunities for activism, including postcarding and organizing websites. Contact demsmv@gmail.com.

The Up-Island Council on Aging is partnering with the Samaritans on Cape Cod and the Islands to host a Suicide Awareness and Education program at the Howes House, April 16, at 10 am. The COA offers lots of special programs like medical and shopping transportation off-Island, a trip to see “Company” at the Providence Performing Arts Center on April 27, or the up-coming Matter of Balance series that begins on May 7. Lots of regular programs too: exercise, watercolor painting, crochet and knitting classes, and the Thursday lunches. Call 508 693-2906 for information or to sign up.

David Fielder is looking for volunteers to plant trees around the town’s Historic District on Saturday, April 27, 9 am to noon. Volunteers will be paired with a professional arborist; training and refreshments will be provided. To sign up, go to: signupgenius.com/go/5080844AEAA29ABF85. Someone will contact you with details. For more information, contact David Fielder at 571-748-9747 or drfisherdavid@gmail.com or J.T. Hunt at 508 560-3022 or jthunt@bartlett.com.

Children’s librarian Hannah will lead a family hike at Sheriff’s Meadow (51 Planting Field Way, Edgartown) on Friday, April 12, at 3 pm. At the library, there will be a reception for artist Rob Chaunce, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. The Second Sunday Jazz Concert will begin at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. The library will be closed for Patriot’s Day on Monday. Free soup and bread lunches will be served Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 am to 1 pm. At 1:30 pm Tuesday afternoon, bring supplies to build fairy and gnome houses in the library’s back garden. Suggestions include bark, feathers, moss, leaves, shells, seed pods, twigs, rocks, fur, pine cones, lichen, and small pieces of driftwood to add to the library’s supply.

The family of Tad Crawford has planned a memorial in his honor for next Saturday, April 20, 2 pm, at the Ag Hall. Judy will serve finger food after the service, but anyone who wishes to bring something special to add will be gratefully appreciated. Not necessary, but welcome. Most important is to join together to remember our dear friend.

Middletown Nursery, Vineyard Gardens, and Gayle Gardens are all open. The flowerpots outside our doors are full of pansies and blooming bulbs, a cheerful welcome, and the first time to get my hands into dirt. I love seeing what’s coming up in my yard, what’s new and blooming at the nurseries, charting the progress of the seasons. I love the enthusiasm that fills me with plans that never seem to flourish as they do in my imagination. Still….

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