On a typical Memorial Day Weekend, we spend time painting yard and deck chairs, blasting pollen from the porch and getting flowers and mulch in place. Some years we have family and close friends by for “dogs and tails,“ as informal as it gets. Yes: hot dogs and cocktails! But my palette this week was turned completely upside down as I watched the first of a four-part segment of the Netflix show High on the Hog, based on the cookbook written by Oak Bluffs gifted culture observer, cuisine critic and historian, Dr. Jessica Harris.

The adoption of her book into this documentary is a crowning achievement and a national recognition of Ms. Harris’s cumulative work over her brilliant career. She is an author of 14 books and uses food as a prism and lens to connect geography, food and culture. In High on the Hog, she reminds all that many of our traditional American foods have come directly from Africa through the slave portals such as Ouidah in the West African country of Benin. Okra, rice and yams are especially featured in this first segment. She takes us to the famous Dantokpa Market as well as boat market shopping while providing perceptive commentary on the food in her proficient French. Her easy, smooth style belies her prolific writing over the past decades and her superior education. Having earned her undergraduate degree in French from Bryn Mawr College and her PhD from New York University, Ms. Harris is the perfect international guide to join with food writer Stephen Satterfield as host of this magnificent series.

I personally mourn the passing of longtime Vineyard resident Dr. Esther Hopkins. I met her when we both served as trustees of Boston University, our undergraduate alma mater. She served as the chair of the academic affairs committee, which approved all faculty tenure promotions. Her career spanned many decades and displayed an unusual intellectual drive across multiple disciplines. She was well known for her work as a biophysicist, research chemist and patent attorney. Her PhD in biophysical chemistry from Yale and her law degree from Suffolk University prepared her for almost anything.

After retiring from the Polaroid corporation, she worked for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as deputy general counsel. When she finally turned to town government, she become the first African American elected to public office in Framingham, where she served one term as the chair of the board of selectmen. Her sustained leadership in Framingham paved the way for current Mayor Carol Spicer.

Dr. Hopkins was active here on the Island with the Unitarian Universalist Society, serving on the intern, installation and worship committees. She also attended Boston University’s public forums at Union Chapel in recent years.

Our heartfelt condolences to her son Ewell and the family. Esther Hopkins was a role model to many women who needed to see success at every level in life.

There are not many still alive from the former Oak Bluffs Tennis Club established in the Age of Brooke. And their numbers have diminished by one with the recent passing of Bravell (Bucky) Nesbitt Jr. He was a third-generation funeral director and owner of Nesbitt Funeral Home in Englewood, New Jersey. For decades, Bucky came to Oak Bluffs every August and Labor Day Weekend to participate in the annual tennis tournament, joining a strong contingency from New Jersey including Mayor Sharpe James from Newark.

While we properly commend our frontline health and safety folks on the Island, I want to commend the leadership at the Oak Bluffs Water District. Residents went to the Vineyard avenue offices earlier this week to report a significant water leak off Massachusetts avenue in East Chop. Within 15 minutes, Superintendent Michael Silvia came out personally to inspect the situation. The next morning, he deployed several crew members with heavy equipment to repair the leak and tidy up the location of the problem. Thank you and other frontline town employees who work diligently to keep the town’s functional services operating.

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