Oak Bluffs was still called Ogkeshkuppe by the original people in the fall of 1621 when King Massasoit and 90 of his Wampanoag men sat down to share a meal in Plymouth with 53 survivors of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower to celebrate harvest, the origin of Thanksgiving. The three-day affair’s meals included ducks and geese, boiled pumpkin (no pies since they had no flour), fried bread made from corn, clams, fish, watercress, berries and plums and five deer the Wampanoag folks brought with them. There wasn’t any turkey served, and if the turkeys in Plymouth were anything like our wild ones, they probably viewed the Pilgrims as food instead of the other way around. Estimates indicate that about 100 Wampanoags lived in Ogkeshkuppe at that time — and no Europeans. The first was Joseph Daggett, who married Ahoma, the beautiful daughter of the leader of the Sanchekontackett sachem, and moved to Farm Neck in 1642, 21 years after the celebration in Plymouth that today the original people could call “Thankstaking.”
If you’re not off-Island shopping, perhaps tomorrow, Small Business Saturday, you could help sustain Oak Bluffs’ valiant retailers. Island Outfitters, Basics, Eastaway Clothing, Nautilus Jewels & Crafts, Ocean T Shirts, Galadriel’s Stone Products & Jewelry, Secret Garden, Glimpse of Tibet (great yoga CD’s!), Foot Fetish, Simply Soaps, Third World Trading, The Lazy Frog, Sanctuary and Laughing Bear are having sales. B-Strong has a sale on workout wear (and a free health and exercise newsletter at b-strong.com). Dockside Jewelers is having its annual 10-20 per cent off sale; Soft as a Grape is offering 20 per cent off; Farm Neck has golf attire at 30 per cent off; B Tru is offering 25-60 per cent off; Craftworks and Roger Schilling’s C’est La Vie are both having 50 per cent off sales. You could start your shopping today at Circuit Style for a cut or a trim for the holidays, 10 per cent off services and 20 per cent off of products. Lemonade is featuring a pop-up co-op sale, “local for locals,” where Island artisans are discounting handmade goods. Take a break at Skinny Fats for lunch, Seasons for cocktails afterward and Park Corner Bistro for supper — and, of course, Sharky’s and MV Chowder Company are open 365, year round. Not that you shouldn’t shop other towns. We with cash for the holidays should leave as much as we can on our favorite Island.
Out to dinner with Nashawena Park’s Ron and Annie Mechur at Offshore Ale last week we ran into Kenny Rusczyk and talk turned to the YMCA. Ken pointed out that our Y has the highest community participation of any in the nation, and reminded us of Annie’s hard work to get an aquatic center built on the Island — which unfortunately she can’t use after so much exposure to chlorine. Thanks for the pool from all of us, Annie. Annie Mechur is the only person I know who can get from the mainland to the Vineyard with no boat or plane — she’s swum over twice!
Congratulations to Roger and Jennifer Schilling (and their adorable children), who just bought a new home in Meadowview; live long in love and prosper.
Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Center at the top of Circuit avenue offers classes every day. Primo’s gentlemen’s sessions on Monday and Thursday evenings are particularly recommended if you’re a guy who wants to loosen up for the holidays or to get a head start on a healthy New Year’s resolution. You’ll be home before football.
Wednesday is the annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Post Office Square at 6:30 p.m. Hot chocolate and Santa will be at Dreamland afterward. The Gatchell family on County Road has lit its annual Christmas display already. When you go by please make a donation to the Island Food Pantry. Also, the Friends of Oak Bluffs have begun decorating the town and welcome your contribution at P.O. Box 1281.
On Friday, Dec. 7, 1973, Dorothy West wrote: “The Islanders have the coin, not in money which may or may not buy what may or may not be for sale in any amount where money matters. The coin they have — those who were born here and those who were born here again — is a special strength. They can make do, they can make out. An island is a bulwark against a surrounding sea. They who share its best will brace themselves to share its burdens.”
I’m thankful for Dorothy West. I’m thankful to live in this town, on this Island, born here again.
Keep your foot on a rock.