Don’t you just love it when people minimize or deny something because they themselves have not experienced it? I am guilty of this sort of denial when it comes to bacteria at the beach. Upon seeing a sign last week at the Coca-Cola stream, warning of high bacteria levels, I reflected on the many gallons of that tannin-stained water I have probably ingested over my lifetime without a single infection or a rash. The same goes for Seth’s Pond, back before anyone thought about testing the water regularly. We used to call it “cesspool” but that didn’t stop us from gargling mouthfuls of it.

Seth’s Pond is closed again this summer, as it was closed last year. I spoke with the very helpful and informative William Droheim at the board of health. The elevated bacteria count at Coca-Cola, he explained, is almost certainly due to the cows cavorting upstream. The board of health has had to close the stream numerous times for short periods, he said, after a big rain flushes the mess toward the sea.

At the pond, the source is something of a mystery. The worst water is in the area of Lambert’s Cove Road, where levels of enterococcus bacteria can be as much as five times higher than what the state allows. Enterococci, a subgroup of fecal streptococci bacteria, are now considered one of the best indicators of fecal contamination and associated with an eye-popping array of ailments.

The fact that the pond remains closed is a proclamation, week after week, that West Tisbury hosts a sick body of water and has not been able to heal it. Seth’s Pond is a treasure, a wet living room and a loved gathering place for the town’s oldest and youngest inhabitants. Let’s figure this out.

The good news: William said the board is about to hold their first in-person meeting since the pandemic and the bacteria issue will be discussed. It takes place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 24 at town hall, which means that by the time you read this, perhaps they will have made some headway.

On Saturday, the three Riggs sisters celebrated their attainment of nonagenarian status with a pig roast at the Cleveland House, their family homestead. Alvida Riggs Jones is 97, Ann Riggs Fielder is 95 and Cynthia Riggs Attebery turned 90 this week. The fully-vaccinated party took place under maple trees that their mother planted over a century ago. Alan Northcott showed up at noon to prepare the pig and Gary Montrowl provided enough of Offshore Ale’s brews to toast this auspicious occasion with abandon. Mark Wright was on keyboard and Sarah Jones Hill sang. Poultry provided entertainment.

“Weather was perfect,” reported Cynthia, “as it wouldn’t dare be otherwise at a gathering of Dionis Coffin Riggs’ daughters.”

Congratulations go to lovely Caitlin and Rick Sylva, who celebrated their 10th anniversary on June 18. They were married at the Mayhew Chapel at Christiantown and held their reception at the Grange Hall. That’s as West Tisbury as you can get, I guess. Rick also has a birthday this week! I hope they had plenty of cake for all this.