Aquinnah: Motherly heart, Chilmark School Maypole, trustee retiree, and Aquinnah Variety Show

—MV Times

I’m writing this on Sunday morning. It’s late for me to be doing this. I have been distracted. Distracted partly by being back at work at what will be my summer job, but mostly by the fact that my youngest child (who is nearing the age of 47) is preparing for major surgery this week. These past few years, I have lived in this twilight time, when I am aging, and my kids are learning to worry about me instead of how it has always been before. I chafe at their worry, hands on hips, stating that I am just fine, thank you. But now here we are again, my motherly heart and warrior spirit rising up in the attempt to make everything OK for my children when things are scary for them. I find myself calling upon that power in the hope that it will be sufficient to keep this woman, who will always be my child, safe. Life has taught me that this cannot always be so, so instead I put my trust in skillful doctors, fortify myself for whatever comes, and make my love as huge as possible.

I have been struck by the outpouring of love and concern that has come from what amounts to hundreds of people from all over this Island, and indeed from all over this country and planet. She is truly beloved by many. Their loving concern helps us all. No matter what, this love is what counts.

Last week, on May Day, the joy of spring was evident on the playing fields of Chilmark School. In a ritual that dates back centuries on many continents, and back decades at the school, a Maypole was erected, ribbons blowing beautifully in the wind. Fourth and fifth graders had been practicing, and, as the music started, they each held onto a ribbon and skipped and danced around the pole, bobbing and weaving until their ribbons had braided together into an intricate rope. It was so wonderful to see the concentration, the freedom of movement, the cooperative spirit on their fresh and beautiful faces.

Last week also saw the appointment of Bethany Hammond as director of the Up-Island Council on Aging. Bethany has been a great help to my husband and me many times over the years. She is warm and smart, and fun to be around. She is stepping into the position being vacated by Joyce Albertine, who led the UICOA for so many years, showing up whenever she was needed by seniors here up-Island, bringing to us all her wit and wisdom. We will miss her.

It was also a changing time for me, as I attended my last meeting as a trustee of the Aquinnah board of trustees. That little building holds a great staff, and information and entertainment for all of us. I’m glad to be stepping down, but proud that I could help for these past three years.

One of Joyce’s last tasks as director has been to help make sure that a monthly lunch will be presented on the last Wednesday of every month here in Aquinnah at the Town Hall, just as it was many many years ago. Sign up if you want to attend (508-693-2896), and if you attend, then look for the photo of the first crowd that attended over 30 years ago — you just might see your grandpa.

Make sure you show up Saturday afternoon at 5:30 at the Aquinnah Town Hall for the first Aquinnah Talent Show. There is a good-size group that has been rehearsing and preparing for this free extravaganza (yes, I said “free”) for some time. The vision and organization of Laura Jordan-Decker and Kate Taylor has been powerful, and they have produced something really marvelous. Poetry. Song. Dance. So much talent! Come on out!

Birthday greetings this week go to the lovely Robin Robinson on May 11, on May 15 to that devoted dad and tennis pro Eddie Stahl, and on May 16 to Leigh Vanderhoop. Give them your best birthday wishes, they are — each of them — pretty terrific human beings.

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