West Tisbury: Town planning, Humphrey’s, oyster permits, family activities, and Gaston Vadasz

—MV Times

Town meeting and elections have come and gone. Congratulations to everyone elected to serve on boards and committees in town. Thanks to Dan Waters for being our genial and thoughtful town meeting moderator over the past 10 years. Welcome to Caroline Flanders, who I expect will carry on our tradition of able moderators: Skipper Manter, Pat Gregory, and Dan Waters, in my time.

Thanks, also, to Bruce Stone, who has carefully managed our finances as town accountant, and to Joyce Albertine, who has guided the Howes House through her years at the helm. Enjoy your retirements.

Town meetings, histories, and opinions have been much on my mind, as I have studied the 1997 West Tisbury Profile Report in preparation for our upcoming visioning weekend at the end of this month. It’s surprising how much our town has changed, and yet has hardly changed at all. Our population has certainly grown, from 2,400 year-round residents in 1996 to our current population, 3,151. Yet I expect those attending this year’s event will cite many of the same concerns.

Growth and development topped the list in 1997. Residents valued our rural, quiet, close-knit community, and were most concerned about rapid change and growth, taxes, traffic, education, affordable housing, loss of agricultural and historic character, protecting the natural environment and resources, feeling powerless to shape our future. Almost everyone intended to spend the rest of their lives in West Tisbury, and hoped to be able to afford to stay in their homes.

I hope a good number of us will be able to attend. The planning board has scheduled a potluck dinner and discussion on Friday evening, April 26, at 5:30 pm at the West Tisbury School. Saturday events begin at 8:30 am, with breakfast before the morning’s discussion groups, a break for lunch, with follow-up and committee reports in the afternoon. Transportation and childcare will be available. For more information, look at the website, westtisbury-ma.gov/visioning-committee, or call 508-696-0149.

I was sad to see that Humphrey’s Bakery is closing. I didn’t think I would survive them leaving West Tisbury all those years ago, but at least doughnuts were still available, and the new place was still painted the iconic “Humphrey’s green.” Mike says I am the most resistant-to-change person he has ever met. Still, I cannot blame Donna for wanting to retire and have more time with her grandkids. So enjoy every minute of your retirement, Donna. I wish you well.

And I was very happy to see that Animal Health Care will remain in its building at the airport. It would be a tragedy to lose Steve Atwood and his crew, to lose another critical mainstay for us year-rounders. So glad to know you are still just down the road.

Don’t forget the memorial service and reception for Tad Crawford this weekend. It’s at 2 pm Saturday afternoon at the Ag Hall. Bring your memories and, if you wish, a special finger food to share.

Good news for oyster lovers. West Tisbury has extended the season for family oystering permits to the end of April. The Great Pond has been opened, and the oysters are salty and delicious. Oysters provide a benefit to the quality of our ponds by filtering large amounts of water every day. You can get your permit at Town Hall during weekdays.

At the library:

  • Free soup and bread lunches continue through Friday, April 19, served from 11:30 am to 1 pm. If you can stay afterward on Thursday, “Karaoke for Kids” is from 1:30 to 3 pm. At 3, help the Vineyard Conservation Society make beach cleanup kits on the back porch.
  • Friday, April 19, 3 pm, Hannah will lead a family hike at Nat’s Farm, 55 Misty Meadows Lane, W.T. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • Saturday, April 20, 3 pm, Dave Kish will show a documentary and lead a discussion about jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.
  • Sunday, April 21, the Lego Club will meet from 1 to 3 pm. The Climate Book Club will meet at 4 pm. “Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit,” by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, is available at the circulation desk.
  • Tuesday, April 23, the Library Explorers playgroup for ages 0-5 will meet at 10:30 am.
  • Wednesday, April 24, learn about “Biochar Basics,” a way to improve your garden’s fertility, at 4 pm.

Next week will be Passover, and it won’t be the same without Gaston Vadasz at the head of the Seder table, leading the Seder with his strong voice and good humor. Gaston died on April 2. For many years, his and Linda’s daughter, Nicole Cabot, wished they would be here for Passover. After they moved to West Tisbury from Hungary, her wish came true.

Getting to know Gaston has been a gift for me and for everyone he met. You immediately became his friend, welcomed into his warm orbit. Gaston made everything special. He was brilliant, funny, theatrical, kind, knowledgeable about a vast range of subjects from the daily to the arcane. I will always hear his laughter in my heart.

Mike and I went to check on a house in Chilmark one sunny afternoon last week. We took Middle Road to admire the Dripps’ hillside covered in daffodils, then back along North Road, where Joannie and Pat Jenkinson’s daffodils were the highlight of our trip home. I am enjoying having Mike home more, and doing things together after all our working years that kept us running in separate directions. We heard pinkletinks that were especially loud as we drove past Parsonage Pond. Of course, the truck windows were open. Is it early? I can’t remember other years.

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