The Vineyard community continues to gradually thaw out while, at the same time, trying to observe social distancing. 

Nomans has a large grass area with tables spaced out for patrons to enjoy their food. Kathy and I drove up on Saturday afternoon and the place was crowded. While masks are required to enter and order, people were relieved that they could sit and eat outside in the sun. The service was excellent and, for old hot dog lovers who crave Nathan’s from Coney Island, their dog is outstanding. They also make a strong case for the best french fries on the Island. 

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will be opening their outdoor campus, including Doherty Hall, to members on June 30 and to the public on July 3. The museum is also doing several features on black-owned Island businesses. 

Most recently, they have featured The Michael Johnson Gallery. This fine art photographer has been living and spending summers on the Island since the 1970s. Michael is best known for his now-iconic photograph of the Polar Bears swimming exercise group entitled Joy! The group meets early in the morning for a swim at the Inkwell Beach but has canceled the 2020 season.

The East Chop Tennis Club has been working hard on a new strategic plan for refurbishing some of the club courts and other physical amenities. Since June 15, the courts have been open at selected hours with the courts open in full swing beginning June 27. Extra care has been made to publish health precautions for those playing. 

The club is also welcoming Jennifer Gelhaus as the new tennis director. She has been a tennis coach and professional for the past 13 years. Club president Jim Guest has provided extraordinary leadership anchoring the club direction. 

On Sunday morning, the program Home, Life and Style came to the Vineyard and spent time at the fabulous home of Calvin and April Butts who bought their cottage in 2014. They are proud graduates of Hampton University and have made many friends on the Island. Their East Chop property is nestled behind the famous Shearer Cottage in Highlands. April has done a fabulous job with the interior finishes but the piece de resistance of the home is the much talked about private whiskey collection. Yes, he has it all: Macallan, Dalmore, Highland Park, Ardberg, Balvenie and more in his cellar collection. Calvin is also one of the best grill masters in the neighborhood. The filming and family interview was played on WCVB Channel 5 in Boston.

Speaking of Channel 5, Oak Bluffs resident, Karen Holmes Ward, is the director of public affairs and community services for the station. She is also the national president of the Boston University Black Alumni Leadership Council that helped organize a public discussion last week in celebration of Juneteenth. The forum was entitled The Unfinished Search for Common Ground: Howard Thurman & Martin Luther King Jr.’s Teachings During the Fire This Time. A dynamic discussion that can be found on the Boston University website. Congrats, Karen. 

Jocelyn Coleman Walton and family are celebrating the graduation of two of her grandchildren. Daniel Bredehorst finished James Madison High School and plans to attend Virginia Tech to major in national security and foreign affairs. I marvel at the varied and sophisticated career options that this young generation has to pursue. We wish Daniel all the best as he prepares to be the national security advisor in the White House someday. Kendall Bredehorst finished Christopher Newport University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and plans to pursue a career in human resources.

Grandmother and author, Jocelyn, still has people talking about her book, The Place My Heart Calls Home. This book shares the narrative of how the working and vision class, not the middle class, was the foundation for the birth and growth of the black residents on the Vineyard. Who better to tell that story than a gifted member of the Coleman family now in their fifth generation in the Highlands. 

Skip Finley is having a ball rolling out his book Whaling Captains of Color: Americans First Meritocracy. During these days of national unrest about the inequalities of race, it is refreshing to read about how hard work, ingenuity and discipline uplifted men of color on the high seas. Catch Skip on interviews by Rushion McDonald’s Money Making Conversations and Joe Madison on SiriusCM Satellite Radio’s Black Eagle Interview. 

The Oak Bluffs Fire House was abuzz a few weeks back as about 30 cars lined up to help former police chief, Joe Carter, celebrate his dad’s birthday. Living a century is an amazing accomplishment and folks were flying balloons, honking horns and throwing kisses to the Carter family as the parade wound its way to Worcester street.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.