(Thousand Islands Sun - Ed. Note: This week we welcome a new column of Grindstone Island News written by islander Aminta Marks.)
Grindstone Island — The Saturday night dance started out like the best ones: mostly old timers — a few young ones to liven the dances, the band's ginger-ale cooling in the refrigerator, children finding their partners and reserving places for the next square dance, everyone relaxing after their hard work on too hot a day. I was dancing something slow with my husband when, out the window, my eye caught Buck running down the road with the stretcher I knew is kept in the hall, a tight bunch of men running fast with him.
Not until almost 11p.m. did we have much news. We knew Scott Graves had not made the sharp curve at the rock near the school house and had crashed into a tree on his motorcycle, but we hoped until the truck came back from taking him to the fire boat and ambulance, that he was not as badly hurt as the drawn faces of all the young men told us.
At church time next morning we learned for sure that Scott had been killed almost instantly.
Scott and his friend had been coming to the dance, riding "side-by-side," "taking it easy," when Scott, who must have felt the dark overhang of rock coming up, and perhaps caught the flicker of an on coming light on the granite or on an oak leaf, zoomed ahead, making his friend hold back to avoid the dust. You can't go two abreast around that curve, and Scott's quickness probably saved two of his friends from being badly hurt in a head-on collision.
Scott Graves, age 21, is the son of Robert and Margaret Munro of Clayton. His father is Keith Graves of Rochester. He worked at the St. Lawrence Restoration Company in Clayton, and had close ties with many, many friends on Grindstone Island. The sorrow of all the islanders was evident in the solemn church service on Sunday when the worshipers gathered across from Dodge Memorial Hall seeking solace for the families of those who loved Scott.
On a happier note, Ann Davison Binhammer enjoyed several weeks with the whole Davison family on the south side of the island. Ann suffered a stroke last February, but managed here, with a true islander's courage to walk from the boat to the Davison house, and even
got into the water one warm day. Best of all, she sang in the church choir on two Sunday mornings.
Many former ministers have been back to Grindstone during this centennial year, Elaine Cleeton, Burton MacLean, Rick Sivers, and of course, the organist and former minister, John Marks, were at the July 1 celebration. Bob Smith, who has filled the Grindstone summer pulpit for more years than any former pastor, is minister this summer.
Doug Cook and his family came on Tuesday, July 31, to visit friends, see the newly restored church standing straight and freshly sided, walk on the new carpet, and hear the Hammond organ which was given by the Jim and Nancy Flanders family. The siding was a gift of the Custis family in memory of Helen and Normant Custis, and the rug was the gift of Harriet Shirley and Leon and Marjorie Rusho in memory of Elizabeth Dano Moody.
Leon and Marjorie Rusho deserve special mention for their work in coordinating mush of the task or restoration, and Parrel and Rick Hayes deserve thanks for keeping at the work of siding in the drenching rains, finishing the last bit at about 5:45 p.m. on Friday, before July 1 in a sluice of mud. But the flowers given by Arnie Cerio were bright all around the foundation on Sunday morning to welcome Methodist Bishop Forrest Stith who preached the centennial sermon.
After the service, the great throng who attended admired the art and craft exhibition put together by Janice Brooks Bice, bought prints of the church (all the lines of shingles, trees, roof, roots, were calligraphic names of islander past and present, done by Judy Bacci) and copies of "So It Is," a book of poems by Aminta Marks. Then they shared the fine lunch donated by Clayton stores and island people.
There will be a 100th anniversary party on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. in the church and carriage house: Food, carnival, and church history in poetry, dance, and song. That is when the wonderful church quilt, the long winter project of Brenda Slate, Debbie Donaldson, and many, many others will be awarded. (Tickets may be bought at the party).
Leon Rusho, Jr. is first mate for 10 days on The Island Empress, which is bound for the Saguenay River on a 10-day cruise via Quebec City from Kingston.
Next week, we'll report on the people at Aunt Jane's Bay, at Mac Rae and Thurso bays , of those down toward Delaney Bay, Buck and Flynn bays, and those on the-main roads of the island.
Old Home Day, Aug. 5 At Potter's Beach As Usual!