JANE N. SLATER
Chilmark is ready for the party! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and cheers for the whole weekend of family and fun. Seems like the sun will be shining and the boats running — that is always part of the cheer of Island holidays.
Remember that the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society will offer their annual concert at the Old Whaling Church on Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Chilmark artist Wendy Weldon is hosting a studio sale on Friday and Saturday of this weekend. She will be offering a representative selection of her many styles of artwork. She has invited Monica Fernandes to display her jewelry and art creations at the studio at the same time. The open studio hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please go to firstname.lastname@example.org for details, or call 508-645-3199.
The Chilmark Community Church will begin their popular Soup Suppers on Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m. It is a cheerful way to have a warm supper and a welcoming visit with others. Games are often played after soup, and there are usually some go-with treats brought by anyone who can contribute. It is not necessary to cook in order to eat!! All are welcome.
The Chilmark Library will be hosting the Off-Season Café at the library meeting room during all library open hours. They offer tea, coffee or cocoa and cookies to all. Join your friends in the meeting room for a visit or a board game; everyone is welcome.
Patrons of the library are invited to make donations of non-perishable foods at the library to erase any library fines they may have accrued. The collection begins on Nov. 29 and extends thru the month of December. Anyone may donate — boxes will be in the entryway. Please make sure that you tell the staff if you are erasing a fine.
The Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network will host a networking night with wine and coffee tasting and snacks at the Edgartown Meat and Fish Market. The event is free and open to the public on Nov. 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
I have enjoyed a ramble through my memory tracking any interesting or amusing Thanksgiving meals that I recall. Very early on I remember a sparse year when my mother was very happy to receive a pail of quahogs dropped off for us by Walter Manning of (then) Gay Head. Walter was a family friend and successful fisherman and a member of the Wampanoag tribe. That year the delicious chowder made by my mother and grandfather was the Thanksgiving dinner. We were happy to have it, and it wasn’t until many years later that the significance of that gift hit me. We were very thankful for his gift.
Chilmark had many young service men stationed at both the Army Signal Corps camp at Peaked Hill and the Coast Guard station at Squibnocket during World War II. The men had become frequent visitors, since my grandmother wrote letters to their families for them. The cooks at both stations offered to bring to us the makings of some Thanksgiving dinners if my mother would cook. She did, and I am sorry I don’t remember the names of her helpers . . . other Chilmark women. Anyway, my brother and I set up card tables all over the small house, bedrooms, etc. There were several seatings as turkeys were carved and crews arrived. I remember I passed out biscuits for a long time. I don’t know how many were fed, but there was lots of laughter and long thank-you’s as one lot left and the other arrived. Things I do remember include the sight of all the tables covered in white tablecloths and my mother’s insistence that it was fun to cook with all the good ingredients that the cooks brought to the feast — we hadn’t seen real butter and sugar for a long time.
Finally, I will share the funniest Thanksgiving dinner I remember in Chilmark. One of my grown children brought home a young man who insisted on a vegan dinner that he would prepare for himself. My mother gave him the use of the stove in the guesthouse. He made a large gray mound in a baking dish and took it out to be cooked. No one checked on him, and when smoke came out the door of the guesthouse we discovered that the pan was too big for the oven so he had left the oven door open. It was a very burned turkey look-a-like, but he swore he was satisfied with the results.