Aquinnah – Select board, voting, kid friendly movie, Wednesday luncheon

—MV Times

I serve as a registrar of voters here in Aquinnah. The election on May 16 was a doozy. We had a respectful but energetic horse race on our hands when the marvelous, new-to-politics Jannette Vanderhoop challenged seasoned select board member Tom Murphy, and more than half of the eligible voters in our town came out to express their choice. From the moment we opened the doors on election day, in poured our neighbors — workers with muddy boots, elders dressed for “going to town,” parents holding babies. We cheered when the youngest, first-time eligible voter, Putu Crowell, put her ballot into the box. We marveled as the number of voters climbed and climbed. I am grateful to our community for the ease of voting we have, and to the outpouring of voters we just saw. I’ve witnessed what the power of a vote can do. Here in Aquinnah, we just saw it when the select board vote was decided by only 14 voters.

That said, I’ve long been troubled by the attempts to disenfranchise some voters that are going on in many other regions of our country. The group Reclaim Our Vote has a national campaign going to try and remedy that. They have organized the sending of postcards to voters throughout the country who are registered but vote sporadically, to voters whose polling place has changed, to voters in rural areas with little technological capability, and to voters who have been purged from the rolls. The postcards are handwritten by volunteers, urging people to vote, and giving information about how to find out where to vote. Locally, the group Keep Democracy Alive is organizing postcard parties that will be held on Mondays from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Their goal is to send out 17,500 postcards before the November elections. In June, the parties will be held at the Hebrew Center, on Center Street in Vineyard Haven. In July, August, September, and October, they will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. We can do this, folks. Get it onto your calendar to drop by and fill out some postcards.

On Saturday, May 25, from 3 to 5 pm at the Aquinnah library, there will be a return to a beloved custom. It’s an afternoon for pizza, popcorn, and a great kid-friendly movie. Several years ago, when my grandchildren were younger, I went with them to one of these gatherings. It was so much fun to watch the neighborhood kids reacting together, happily munching, feeling comfortable, while their grown-ups relaxed with an evening where someone else was providing the pizza. I highly recommend it. Call the library (508-645-2314) to find out what movie they will be showing.

On Wednesday, May 29, at noon, there will be the first Last Wednesday of the Month luncheon at the Aquinnah Town Hall, sponsored by the Up-Island Council on Aging. They’ll provide salad, sandwiches, soup, and a chance to celebrate community. It’s a return to an old custom. These lunches are free, a gift from the Friends of the Up-Island Council on Aging.

We have some great birthdays to celebrate: On May 25, Janis Vogel, Lily Melyawati, and her daughter Putu Crowell; on May 26, Marcia Shufrin (and a birthday memory to Eiko Hydeman); and on May 28, it is Susie Bologna and Noni Madison. I don’t know what it is about May, but it seems to produce an excellent crop of fine humans.