The next winter art workshop with the artist Elizabeth Whelan will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Bring your art supplies and enjoy a free evening of drawing and painting at the Chappaquiddick Community Center. Elizabeth will set up two different still-life arrangements from which to work. You can sketch or paint or bring your own project to work on. Pencils, chalk, pastel, charcoal, and water-based media welcome. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided. This is not a class, but if people want instruction, she is happy to share her knowledge. Meeting dates are every other Thursday as follows: Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, April 5 and 19.

Potluck dinners at the community center continue throughout the winter and spring on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. Lucy and Collins Heavener will be hosting the next one on Feb. 7. Sign up to host a dinner by calling Lynn at 508-627-8222 or by writing your name in the little black book next time you are at the CCC. Please bring a dish to serve six. It can be an entrée, side or dessert.

I knew who Edo Potter was way before she knew who I was. My sisters used to take horses to the Pimpneymouse horse show way back in the sixties. I was just one of dozens of kids. She was an adult who stood out in a crowd. It wasn’t until I started driving the Chappy Ferry that she would have known me. She asked me if I would be interested in working on the farm, driving the tractor and cutting wood. She taught me how to operate the tractor and the array of implements that it pulled. Back then the fields were tilled with a plow and harrow rather than with the big rototillers which are common today. We struggled to get the two-bladed plow to properly cut the old sod and flip it completely upside down. One day Elisha Smith came by to see how we were doing and commended us for coaxing a completely worn out plow to do anything at all that resembled turning earth. He showed us which parts get worn down by being dragged through the soil and need regular replacing. The next time we used the plow, we were old pros. She showed me how to harrow the fields after plowing to make a beautifully smooth surface for seeding and for cutting hay upon.

One day a hydraulic hose broke on the tractor bucket. We were both soaked up to our elbows with oil before we finished. She wasn’t the least bit intimidated by machinery or hesitant to get her hands and forehead greasy. Few people on the Vineyard were harvesting hay at the time. Cutting, drying and baling hay on the Island is tricky and risky with fog so common during the season. Edo resurrected many fields on Chappy and several in town. She got a brand-new hay baler to replace the borrowed one that continually broke down. We got lots of help and advice along the way. A baler is a complex machine and we learned all of its secrets in the course of keeping the old one working. She appreciated the engineering and functioning of the farm machinery. She, like the rest of us, was amazed by the wizardry of the gizmos that tied the knots in the baling twine.

Her kindness and concern for me and my young family contributed to my ability to empathize with the predicaments of others. The farm provided year-round housing. A small token amount of rent was deducted from my paycheck. When the trustees of the farm met one spring, it was decided that the rent should be raised $100 per month. Edo disapproved of it, but had no control over that decision. However, she alone, as operator of the farm determined my pay. She gave me a $100 per month raise.

In the span of a mere quarter of a year Chappy lost its two remaining elders with the passing of Edo Potter and Gerry Jeffers. Both had great respect for one another. Both were stewards of large tracts of land on a small island. Both greatly influenced the nature and character of their community. If ever the end of an era was abrupt and definite, this is it.

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