Heeding the Call

From Gazette editions of March, 1936:

After five weeks’ delay, the schooner Alice Wentworth, Cap’n Zeb Tilton, sailed for Nantucket with two large tanks for the Island Service Co. Ice that blockaded Nantucket and made the passage between the Islands hazardous for sailing craft, was responsible for the long wait. It was a tug that finally succeeded in setting the schooner on her way, but not by towing.

Snow and ice, running into her centerboard casing, froze the centerboard solidly in place so that it could not be moved. The crew of the Wentworth had been heating water in the cabin for days, trying to melt the ice, but when they started out the centerboard was still frozen, and the schooner was obliged to return. She towed alongside the big tug Catawissa, and the engineer of that craft ran a steam hose aboard the schooner and quickly thawed the centerboard.

Gordon Spofford, state game warden, is a man who believes in “police” work of the army style — any kind of work that pertains to cleaning, mopping, sweeping, polishing and all the rest. His car is the apple of his eye. He had purchased a huge can of polish and after carefully washing the vehicle, spread on the polish, polishing until the surface glistened like the sun at noon day. Satisfied with his job, he went on patrol and left his car parked in a field while he investigated something. On his return he gazed at his cherished car in astonishment.

There was no glisten to the enamel. There was no shine at all. The car was entirely denuded of the polish that had cost so much hard labor. Near the rear of the vehicle stood two large, limpid-eyed oxen, one on each side, with tongues the size of snowshoes, as the warden described them. They had licked off every last particle of the polish and were digging into the cracks and crevices to secure any drop that remained.

The movement to limit or do away with county government continues and is, no doubt, considered a progressive project. No doubt in larger cities there is duplication and confusion due to the overlapping and the division of functions between county and municipal officials. The remedy would seem to be special legislation to take care of metropolitan centers, and not a general law eliminating county lines and bringing small towns further under the centralized authority of the state.

County government here serves a particularly important purpose. Our real unit, ever since modern transportation and other conditions of life brought our towns close together, is the Island. It is the county government which sees our problems in Island terms and administers affairs which could not possibly be handled effectively either by the separate towns or by the state. There is, beyond a doubt, real need of the county as a unit, especially since the county is a government unit of our own.

Ask any public official on the Vineyard what he considers the gravest danger in governmental trends, and the chances are that he will speak of the encroachments of the state on local affairs. Self-government demands that there be a stopping place.

The county is sufficiently aloof from town affairs to stand above political whirlpools, and it is sufficiently near the towns to be aware of their needs. The state is often an independent concentration of authority engrossed in purposes of its own.

Cowboys in rodeos “bulldog” a steer by riding alongside the animal at high speed, leaping from their horses and catching the steer, throwing him to the ground where he is held powerless. It is a hair-raising feat, but Oak Bluffs owns a lady resident who successfully bulldogged a riderless automobile and brought the runaway vehicle to a standstill.

Mrs. Bradford Church is the lady in the case. Parked outside a house where Mrs. Church was calling, the car was “borrowed” by a couple of youths, who drove away. Pursued by Mrs. Church, they turned in Circuit Avenue extension, drove past Mrs. Church, and then leaped from the moving car, which proceeded on with engine running, headed straight for a fence on the bluff above the harbor waters.

Running, Mrs. Church overtook the car, leaped to the running board, seized wheel and brakes in a breath and brought it to a standstill before it struck the fence. While she did not, indeed, hurl the car on its side, a necessary maneuver in bulldogging, there is no doubt she could have accomplished this without difficulty, had it been necessary.

We do not have the privilege of leaping deep into spring. It approaches gingerly, withdrawing a little after every advance. We hope the process will not be too drawn out. Perhaps the finest of spring omens is the song of the pinkletinks; if we hear that we can bear with any caprice of the slow-maturing season. Here is a call which no one can deny.

Compiled by Cynthia Meisner