Saturday Out-and-About

Last fall a back molar broke (twice!) and started me on the road to an implant by way of extraction. The implant part was done two weeks ago, and I was scheduled to have the stitches removed at 8:45 yesterday morning.

I did have the stitches out right on schedule, but plenty had happened between one appointment and the other, so things were a little different. Early in the week Dr. Samuels’s office called to remind me of my appointment. No big deal, but the office person also asked me to cancel if I had any flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms, and she assured me that patients were being scheduled so there would never be more than one person in the (small) waiting room at a time. (Dr. Samuels, a periodontist, comes from off-island several days a month to practice at the dental office at the airport.)

I was in and out of there in five minutes, feeling grateful to everyone who’s willing to take the risk of dealing with “the public,” most of whom they do not know much, if anything, about.

When I made that appointment, btw, I chose 8:45 a.m. because I expected to be at the Howes House (Up-Island Council on Aging) to help set up for West Tisbury’s Democratic town caucus, to elect delegates to the MassDems convention on May 30. As noted in an earlier blog post, the MassDems have suspended all caucuses, promising that if “this temporary suspension must continue for an extended period of time, the Party will develop a replacement to the caucus process.” No word on that yet.

From the dentist I headed to down-island Cronig’s, where I rarely venture because I do my grocery shopping at Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs and fill in the gaps at up-island Cronig’s, which feels more like a grocery store than a supermarket and besides is a 20-minute walk from home. But up-island Cronig’s is closed for the duration.

It takes me longer to find everything I need at down-island Cronig’s, but I was happy to see the familiar faces of several up-island staffers — and once again I murmured my gratitude to all the workers who are taking the risk of dealing with “the public” in order to keep essential services operating, like, for instance, food deliveries. Here’s hoping everyone who thinks the minimum wage is high enough realizes that it’s relatively low-wage workers keeping the economy going right now, not goddamn corporate executives and politicians.

There was a sign up urging shoppers to take the now-expected precautions and to keep a five-foot distance from other people. This was pretty much impossible, but the store, though busy on a Saturday morning, was not crowded. I minimized my own contact with produce (bananas and apples), i.e., the ones I touched went into my basket, and quickly found milk, which was what I really needed. (I didn’t even notice if there was toilet paper or any of its obvious substitutes available. A few, very few, people were wearing masks. All the ones I saw were women.)

I did check out the little half-price meat cooler over in the corner (I know where that is), not expecting much, and true, the pickings were slim but a half-pound package of “reduced sodium” bacon had my name on it, which was especially fortuitous because I planned to make French toast for breakfast. I’m happy to report that reduced-sodium bacon tastes as good as the other kind, and that Tam likes it too.

That pretty much wraps up the out-and-about part of my day. After I got home, I learned of the statement that the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Nantucket Cottage Hospital released late Friday, urging summer residents to stay home to avoid overtaxing the respective hospitals’ resources. Everyone has a lot to say about this, including me, but I’m going to save it for a separate post because Tam and I haven’t had our morning walk yet and it’s half past noon already. So — more later.

Meanwhile here are some resources for those who need help and those who have help to offer. Please pass them on to anyone who could use them (and thanks to ICAN, the Island Climate Action Network, for compiling most of this info in their newsletter).

Resources for Vineyarders

Many of those who need support or assistance may be out of the social-media loop and not adept with the online world. Keep an eye out for friends, neighbors, and relatives who may need help contacting these resources. (For elders, your town’s council on aging is a good place to start.)

The Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund grew out of the huge (14K members) Islanders Talk Facebook group. It’s totally grassroots and can often reach islanders in need who aren’t plugged into the usual networks, and often aren’t online. They don’t have a website but checks can be sent to Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund at P.O. Box 9000, Edgartown, MA 02539.

The Island Food Pantry anticipates increased demand due to the dislocations of COVID-19 and emphasizes that it needs monetary contributions more than food donations. They’re also looking for volunteers who are “low-risk, healthy, and comfortable doing so.” If you need food, you do not have to be on MassHealth, SNAP, or any other government program; you’ll be asked to fill out a registration form on your first visit, but that’s it.

More resources for those who need help with food.

The Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard has set up an Emergency Response Fund to support the non-profits who are on the front lines providing relief to those affected by COVID-19.

M.V. Community Services (MVCS) updates and contact info

If your organization needs volunteers or if you want to volunteer, MVCS has started an online clearinghouse to match people up.

Dukes County Social Services and Vineyard Health Care Access Program offers help to people who want to apply for SNAP (food stamps): or (Replace AT with @ in these email addresses.) You can also apply directly at

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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2 Responses to Saturday Out-and-About

  1. Karen Ann says:

    A very thoughtful post in these difficult times. Be well –


  2. Chris McIsaac says:

    Thanks Susanna. Great suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

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