Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Maybe you have had this experience: a reporter from one of the local newspapers calls you and asks your opinion about something — for example, how you’re finding this season — is it slow, is it strong, whatever? Maybe you are even flattered that you’re being asked. And maybe you’re naive enough to think that whatever you candidly say will not be distorted.

This week a reporter from the Gazette called to ask me as the owner (I am not the co-owner) of Red Mannequin, to ask that very question. I gave him my opinion, that it seems to me that business is slower than usual due to consumer caution and fewer people on the Island. Nowhere did I say that it was “one of the worst seasons we’ve had,” because it isn’t. It’s actually pretty good. My boutique (in its second year) is growing in popularity and Bananas (in its fifth year) has been fabulously received, wholeheartedly welcomed back to West Tisbury and doing well. Is it one of the “worst” years we have had? No. Are we affected by the economy and the general world situation? Why wouldn’t we be?

I would like to see more care taken in quoting people. Shoot us an e-mail just to be sure you’ve got it right. This kind of distortion is hurtful and potentially damaging — even irresponsible. This is not the first time this has happened to me, but it is definitely the “worst.”

Judy Hartford

Oak Bluffs


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

To Richard Monaco: Welcome home, my friend and fellow soldier.

To Muriel (whom I grew up with in Edgartown) and Felicia, you have a husband and a dad that you can be so very proud of.

I salute and thank your dad for his service to our great country, and I salute you both for your great sacrifices in his absence.

Oorah and Semper Fi.

Woody Williams

Vineyard Haven

For MOLLY, 1993-2008

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Our beloved Tibetan terrier Molly, blind since birth, a frequent visitor to Martha’s Vineyard and a blue-ribbon winner at the 2000 agricultural fair, left us on Jan. 23, 2008. Her last visit to the Vineyard was in December 2007 when we began making plans for a year-round move to Oak Bluffs. Sadly, Molly died before she could become a canine washashore.

In 2000, Molly won best of breed at the fair’s dog show. Molly resorted to kissing the judges to lock in her victory and proudly did her best show dog prance around the muddy ring after receiving her blue ribbon. She had patiently waited all day at the side of the show ring and seemed to know just what to do when her time came.

She became a very important part of our lives in 1994 when we adopted her from her third owner. She was already a year old at the time with some obvious medical issues and had been returned to her breeder by her two previous owners. She had been named Hope and Gimlet at different times and had never owned a toy of her own. As the runt of her litter, she ate from the trash (giving her valuable mischievous skills to be used later in her life.)

She was on Prednisone and a vet who had seen her previously said that she probably had a tumor and wouldn’t live much longer. Fortunately, a neighbor who is a vet suggested taking Molly to a canine neurologist at Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston. Ironically, Boston was where she would live almost half her life. The result of that visit, after we watched the doctor get down on the floor with her for evaluation, was to take her off the Prednisone and let her live as normal and as long a life as she could – maybe 9 years. He said she had probably had a neurological event as a puppy — perhaps meningitis or another canine autoimmune disease — that had permanently impaired her vision and one of her legs but that the impact was over and there was no reason to try any further treatments.

We brought her home and she flourished, doing puppylike things, chewing wallets and electrical cords, climbing on the furniture and being the puppy she always wanted to be. She joined us in everything we did over her lifetime. We threw her toys against a wall so she could hear the general direction they were in. She always found them and returned them proudly.

She led us up and down the coastal trails on the cliffs of Monhegan Island in Maine on painting trips and watched us play tennis over the years wherever we could find a court. She sailed and skied with us, greeted grandchildren, family and friends, an elderly grandparent in a nursing home, and gave us the fodder for many entertaining stories throughout her charmed life. She loved running in circles at the end of her long leash and we often thought she hopped more like a rabbit than ran like a dog. There was a memorable time in Reston, Va., when she went out into a large open field with her cousin Tibetan terrier Romeo and followed him in circles as he happily barked and led her around. The last time she did her circle run was in Jonesport, Me., in October 2006. We captured that on film and will treasure it forever.

Always willing to follow, Molly nevertheless had a mind of her own, especially with puppies, which she would whip into shape in no time — regardless of their size (which may or may not have been obvious to her).

She went through bouts of pancreatitis, dehydration, and other ailments due to her weakened immune system but always managed to recover. The staff at Angell knew she had recovered from her first bout of pancreatitis when she wouldn’t stop barking, “I want to go home.” Her lifelong pancreatic condition led to her being on a healthy regimen of prescription dog foods — and never people food. She was the only one in the pack who was firm and fit all her life.

Molly showed her amazing instincts and abilities when she was staying at a friend’s home on Cape Cod and wandered out an open door, unseen. She moseyed on down the quiet road until she came to the back porch of a bed and breakfast where we had stayed a few times — without her. The owner brought her in and, through a series of phone calls with the police, eventually connected with our friend. When our friend went to pick her up at the bed and breakfast, Molly was nowhere to be found . . . until they looked in a guest room and found her fast asleep on a big overstuffed bed. Molly always made herself at home wherever she was.

In her later years, Molly suddenly started to open the doors to our side-by-side refrigerator while we were out. We finally captured that on a hilarious film clip and then promptly added chain and padlock to the doors, causing our guests to ask about our new “extreme diet.”

Molly also reveled in going through bags — whether groceries, gifts, purses, suitcases, or otherwise. Her optimistic view of life included certainty that there must be something very wonderful inside, and probably for her – no harm checking, to be sure . . . .

Molly enjoyed greeting and spending time with her many canine friends. She always wanted to befriend a cat but was not able to convince them that she was a cat lover. When walking her out of doors we sometimes had to tell Molly “someone’s coming,” so she wouldn’t be startled with an approaching dog sniffing her behind – or networking, as we joked.

Molly loved her longtime groomer, Simone, and followed her from shop to shop in an effort to keep up her appearance. Winning the hearts of whomever she met was easy for Molly — she loved people and was always eager to make new friends. Amidst all of these friends there was only one who could make Molly literally jump for joy when she came to visit. Jennifer, a longtime friend, and occasional dog-sitter could raise her voice in calling out “Molly McButter” and Molly’s tail would perk up and she would bounce around happily until she found Jen. To her final days, no matter how ill she was, Molly always perked up when Jen came to visit. And she loved it when others came to sit for her. With one of them she watched the Red Sox faithfully on the big screen as she lay in her favorite blue leather chair.

In the fall of 2007, we rented a recreational vehicle to see whether we liked traveling this way. Molly quickly found a snug space for her bed under our bed. She had found her inner wolf and spent most of the trip practically grinning with pleasure, peering out from her cave.

We were terribly saddened at losing Molly — even though we have always known that her time must inevitably come. She has been such a joyful part of our lives, from pack walks to chuckles over her mischief, to just hanging out together.

We have so many happy memories of Molly and were blessed to have her for 13 years longer than her initial prognosis. We are sure she is now in a better place — a fully sighted healthy dog with her own room full of bananas, stocked refrigerators, and squeaky hedgehogs.

Molly loved sunny decks —sunshine, actually. She had begun to suffer in her final days, but Fairhaven’s West Island, where we spent last winter, was a good, sunny place to be, and Jan. 23, 2008, was a bright sunny day when she left us.

We will never forget all the joy Molly brought to our lives and to so many others.

Don McKillop and Susan Davy

Oak Bluffs

The Vineyard Gazette welcomes letters to the editor on any subject concerning Martha’s Vineyard. The newspaper strives to publish all letters as space allows, although the editor reserves the right to reject letters that in her judgment are inappropriate. Letters must be signed, and should include a place of residence and contact telephone number. The Gazette does not publish anonymous letters.