Soos honored well



The party in honor of Soos Valdina was on Saturday. Her brother, Eric Valdina, was the host; her husband, Steve Krasnow, spoke. Many people were glad to be here, some coming from geographically and temporally away. A generously extensive lunch was brought by many islanders and guests. Stories were told, poems read, songs sung and music played in honor of Soos. Erica Merrill, Cheryl Sholl, Gail Grandgent, Nancy Hellenburg, Chris Sandberg and Joy Sprague were in the kitchen, Joy serving a lovely punch, the others taking contributions to the table and empty plates back to the kitchen.

Many friends from other places came, including a co-worker from the bank in Massachusetts where Soos worked. Islesford was represented by, among others, Ricky Alley; Ashley Bryan with family and friends; Starr Cummin Bright; Kate Whitaker Chaplin and family, including Dedi Whitaker; Sarah Corson; Joe Delafield; Anna Fernald; Dan Field; Gail and Henry Grandgent; Erin Fernald Gray; Thom Heyer and Stephen Richard; Donna and Henry Isaacs; Samantha Krasnow; Sheila and Iann Krasnow; Denise and Mitch McCormick; Bill McGuiness and Sonja Moser; Ellie and Jack Miller; Amy Philbrook and some of her family; Jason Pickering; Joan and Charles Poarch; Sally Rowan and Skip Stevens; Eric and Chris Sandberg; Jeanne and Cliff Smith; Dianne and Jay Speakman; Serena Spurling; Ted Spurling; and Chris Wriggins.

The summers on the Cranberry Isles are filled with outward expressions of the creative arts, which stand strongly in contrast to the contemplative and inward existence that is winter on these islands.

Back in 1979 when the Rockbound Grange No. 568 transitioned to the Islesford Neighborhood House Association, Sarah Corson put on a Literary Evening, launching a new summertime tradition at the hall. Each year, the speakers recite, read or dramatize their selections. A participant in each of the 39 annual Literary Evenings, Ashley Bryan this year started us off with “Motto” by Langston Hughes and sent us forth at the end with “My People.” The other participants were Stefanie Alley, Emily Axelrod, Rick Benjamin, Starr Bright, Joe Delafield, Barb Fernald, Kathleen Lake, Jack Merrill, Jay Speakman and Skip Stevens. Unfortunately, our librarian, Cindy Thomas, was unable to attend, but Sally Rowan and Skip managed the Adopt-a Book table. In recent years, Erica Merrill has become the principal organizer. Sarah Corson helps and is the master of ceremonies for the event itself, and Cheryl Sholl pitches in. Many thanks to our enthusiastic audience for coming and contributing. The Literary Evening is a fundraiser for the Islesford Library.

Matt Shipman and Erica Brown of Darlin’ Carey, an acoustic duo from Portland, returned to Islesford. They played a variety of music on fiddle, guitar and mandolin, covering folk, bluegrass and traditional songs. The Neighborhood House stage ceiling has been finished since the last time they were here, and they loved the abundance of wood surfaces protecting sound from disappearing into the void. The room was filled with an enthusiastic audience who engaged in rhythmic clapping during some of the songs.

This past Saturday, Willoughby Hastings let onlookers analyze a display of recent works of relics of political activism and art as a form of communal engagement. Her textile projects will be on display in the Arts Center until Saturday, July 29, in The Arts Center at the Cranberry House. Gathering in the name of artistic expression catalyzes important conversations throughout a community that values both practicality and abstraction.

Poetry readings abound. Thanks to Ingrid Gaither‘s organizing, Skip Stevens read poetry at the Great Cranberry Island library. Some of his poems were from his recent book, “At Bunker Cove,” and some were new. Skip and his family moved to Islesford from Baltimore more than 10 years ago; an online teacher, he is still on the faculty of Coppin State University and goes down to Baltimore three times each semester.

Starr Cummin Bright is the author of the recently published chapbook “Inhabiting an Island.” Having married into a family that lived year-round on Islesford, Starr has spent many summers on the island. At the end of this summer, she is stepping down as the sailing program director for LCYC-CSEF. Starr is an avid bread baker when not on the water or writing poetry.

Skip and Starr will read at the Islesford Dock Gallery on Sunday, July 30, at 3 p.m.

Starr, among others, will read at the Night of Poetry and Music in the Arts Center on Monday, July 31, at 7:30 p.m. The Art of Cranberry Isles Exhibit will show from Monday, July 31, through Saturday, Aug. 5, in the Arts Center. Robin Freeman will read from her new book at the GCI Library at 1 p.m.

Islesford flicks: July 31: “Man of the Year,” with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, will be downstairs. The children’s movie, upstairs, will be “The Big Friendly Giant.”

Islesford Boatworks’ third annual Rowathon will be on Aug. 5. Rowers are welcome, as are those who would like to accompany them in the boat. There are several boats that go along in case someone needs help; those boats also take passengers. The circle starts at the Sand Beach dock then goes counter-clockwise. There’s a stop at Bunker Cove for some R&R with those from other boats, snacks and extra water. It can be a changing point as well, for those who wanted to go with friends on two of the boats. Those who want to go on only half the trip can join or depart at Bunker Cove. The Rowathon is raising money for a program dreamed of for several years, a yearlong program building the town’s own St. Ayles skiff. The skiff is a 22-foot racing rowboat that will be sure to connect the islands, both figuratively and literally. Sign up to row and get sponsors. Not a rower? Please sponsor one (or more!) to raise money for a great new program. See islesfordboatworks.org/rowathon for more information.

Monday, Aug. 7, beginning at 3 p.m., the Islesford Volunteer Fire Department is having a brisket fundraiser. The brisket is one of Cori Alley‘s specialties. The suggested donation is $15.

The town of Cranberry Isles is getting new internet access this fall. Maine Public ran a piece you can search for at mainepublic.org. Nick Hadlock is Islesford’s rep in the article; Rosalie Kell, Jessica and Kelly Sanborn, Barbara Stainton and Sam Donald met with the reporter on Great Cranberry.

Birthdays in the coming weeks include Corinna Gribble and Ben Weibel on July 29, Betsy Gribble on Aug. 1, Sam King on Aug. 3, Bill Bancroft on Aug. 4, and Blair Colby and Matilda Allen on Aug. 7.

Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

We look forward to reporting all the news. Send items to us by 5 p.m. on Sunday. For Islesford, email Sally Rowan at [email protected] com, and for Great Cranberry, email Sarah McCracken at [email protected] or call her at 978-879-5939.
Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

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