One thing about the soon-to-be-here holidays is the free time we look forward to, especially the part between Christmas and the New Year when the world is on pause. Right up to that week we’re busy with the pagan activities of shopping, decorating, purchasing and preparing food, visiting or receiving family and friends, and wearing ourselves out enough so we sleep and vegetate through that last week missing all that free time.
Taking a wild guess that you were looking here for a bit of Oak Bluffs history — a story of old you hadn’t yet heard told — I wanted to encourage you to devote some of that upcoming time to others instead of a scribe like me. For example, if you haven’t yet delved into the internet on your own, this holiday season grab a grandkid, niece, nephew or even your kid — sign on to a computer and have them take you to mvcma.org/brief.htm for a treat. What you’ll find is an endearing history of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association taken from Sally Dagnall’s book, Circle of Faith, which in turn makes a great Christmas gift for the person helping you with the computer. Sally and Russ are back in Ohio, already making plans for their spring return.
If you like old pictures, visit history.vineyard.net/photos/mv50/index.html, Fifty Glimpses of Martha’s Vineyard Island, that has extraordinary old photos from Oak Bluffs. Pictures may be worth a thousand words but shots of Cottage City’s Circuit avenue spark a thousand questions. For a more personal and contemporary site try longtime visitor Joan Boyken’s MV Obsession at mvobsession.wordpress.com/category/oak-bluffs. It’s pretty and interesting with old and current pictures, commentary and prose. It may be new to you — and the younger citizenry has all but fled Facebook — but if your friend or your assistant is familiar with it, Martha’s Vineyard Antique Photos has amazing Oak Bluffs (and Vineyard) pictures rarely, if ever, seen.
I’m a big fan of Oak Bluffs’ Tomahawk Corner’s Henry Franklin Norton, whose 1923 book The History of Martha’s Vineyard is online at history.vineyard.net/hfnorton/history.htm. Some of Mr. Norton’s history may not stand the test of time (he neglects to mention the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company, for example) but the book is intriguing and well written.
Henry Franklin Norton was the first curator of the Duke’s County Historical Society, today the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. This Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the museum is hosting a conversation about plans to transform the old Marine Hospital above the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven into the museum’s new quarters and exhibition site. I’ve recently joined the museum board and have seen the remarkable new plans for the museum. I hope you can stop by for the presentation; it is truly exciting — especially for Oak Bluffs, the town people think of when they talk about Martha’s Vineyard.
This year, make a plan for that free time — share it with someone or give yourself a present of the past.
The Vineyard NAACP hosts its community health fair tomorrow morning at the regional high school from 9:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Planned services are blood pressure screenings, educational health material and information, a film about Lyme disease and an organ donor registry. The keynote speaker is Dr. Lisa Nagy who will give a presentation on mold from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Light refreshments of bottled water, herbal tea, coffee, breakfast power bars and organic fruit cups will be provided.
There’s a Winter Farmers’ Market at the Agricultural Hall this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. offering Thanksgiving fare from soup to chocolates. Oak Bluffs participants include Island Alpaca (who hopefully aren’t sharing anything to eat), Frosty Hollow Orchids (ditto), Enchanted Chocolates, Down Island Farm, Little Rock Farm and Andrea Rogers. Should be fun.
Fun for all ages is expected at the library tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon when the American Library Association presents its sixth Annual International Games Day. By games, I mean that Wii, chess, board games and cards are on the program — and surprise, the Japanese firm Nintendo invented Wii, India invented chess, the Egyptians invented board games like checkers, and the Chinese, cards. Okay, Monopoly was ours. There’s never a dull moment at Sondra Murphy’s library.
Last weekend turned out to be the last outdoor shower and the November weather was punctuated by Tuesday’s first snow. It’s time for the reverie of crisp, cool days and chilly fireside nights, something perchance new to folks joining us for their first Vineyard winter who haven’t had a long enough separation from the recent summer days, when if you’d never seen a cloud before you couldn’t describe one from here.
Nowadays, the beaches are pretty but not recreational, and clothes are no longer optional, particularly warm ones. You can look forward to no lines to wait in, parking pretty much where you want, and it’s so quiet you could sell it over there in America. And no worries, if you want traffic it’s only 189 days until Memorial Day. “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” Paul Simon (59th Street Bridge Song).
Everyone is excited about the new North Bluff boardwalk, a nice addition to the soon to be completed fishing pier.
I love town meetings and last Tuesday’s was no exception.
Keep your foot on a rock.