From the Dec. 6, 1935 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Bradlee Martin, sage of Tiah’s Cove, the flourishing little suburb of West Tisbury, leaned against a lamp post and rolled a wicked eye at the Christmas shoppers.

“It’s dangerous, I know!” he ejaculated, as he carved off a handful Mayo’s Light for his corncob, “but I’ve got so accustomed to danger that I don’t think anything of it any more.”

“Danger?” queried the scribe in astonishment. “What sort of danger threatens you up in the peaceful enviornment of Tiah’s Cove??

“Heh?” chuckled the sage, easing his galluses a trifle. “Guess you don’t know much about the place, and its recreational pastimes. You’d ought to show up once in a while when the Horseshoe Pitching Club gets to going in good shape. There isn’t a cow, cat or critter of any kind except man that doesn’t tilt its tail skyward and head for the brush when them horseshoes begin to clink and whiz through the air. And I don’t blame ‘em.”

“Pretty hazardous, eh?” encouraged the scribe.

“Hazardous? It’s deadly, and don’t ever let ‘em tell you different!” declared the sage. “Why the other afternoon the gang showed up, and after limbering up alongside of the air-tight, and smoking a few pipes, we adjourned to the barn and chose off teams alongside the cider barrel and marched to the field of honor. I fling a pretty fair horseshoe myself, if I do say it, and right away I saw that we had the pins too close together. The old shoulder was feeling limber and I got an extra twist to the arm, too.

“About that time the idea seemed to hit the rest of the gang, too, and somebody suggested that we heave at a mark instead of the regular game. So we rung the fence with pickets at seventy-five yards, we hung horseshoes on the nails on the side of the barn where I hang up my herrin’ sticks, and we dropped ‘em into tin buckets at ninety paces, which is good shooting. Just when the sport was at its height, my brindle tomcat walked across the barnyard in a dignified sort of manner, carrying his tail at a rakish angle.

“‘Just look at that!’ whispered Jack Cary. ‘What do you think?’ Al Tuckerman wanted to know.

“Well, I didn’t even stop to think, but up and hove with an underhand cast. Just then Jack called the cat, which swung around and headed for us. Tuckerman let go his shoe, and hissen and mine hooked each other about two feet astern of that cat. The critter sailed right up off the ground and landed on the back of a heifer, and that critter let out a blat and started hence under everything that would draw. She shoved her head right through a slat gate, and took the gate right off the hinges; then, wearing this ornament, she started to circle the barnyard, mowing down everything in her path like a machine gun.

“Bucephalus, my old sorrel, was half asleep alongside the fodder stack when the gate hit him right square on the third round, and he went clean over that stack and came down in the pig pen.

“The old sow dashed through the busted planks like a torpedo — didn’t know a pig could run, did you? — and she appeared to recognize an avenue of escape right between my cowhide boots. Anyway she took that path and proceeded on her way with me hanging on for dear life and only letting go when she took another shortcut under the tipcart. I sat a trifle high to go under and was left high and dry hanging to the tail-buck by my chin.

“When the dust settled and I could see once more, there was Jack and Tuck wrapped round each other like a handful of eels, and each yelling at the other to get out of the way. The horse was still prancing and snorting along the line fence of the west meadow, the heifer stood wither her tail in the air on the other side of the field, and the pig was still going through the brush, woofing as it went. My hens haven’t come out of the trees yet, and I haven’t caught the pig, but I did coax the rest of the livestock to the barn after a while. I’m going to write to the War Department and tell ‘em that if they want some good, efficient peacetime training for shock troops, to send ‘em down to Tiah’s Cove when Jack and Tuck pitch horseshoes with me. They’ll get it!”


One of the best pieces of news for the Island in the occurrences of the past few weeks has been the announcement that as much as $25,000 may be spent here for shellfish conservation. This money, available from state and federal funds, will, as we understand it, be applied to increasing the productivity of the Vineyard shellfisheries, not for a single season, but for a long period of years. If we look for redeeming aspects of the depression, surely this is one. For the Island should have been deriving far greater benefit from its natural resources that it has been realizing, and the harsh hand of necessity is bringing about a much sounder economy than was ever attained in the thoughtless years of prosperity.

Compiled by Hilary Wall