Tent caterpillars drape the cherry trees, and the scrubbed brows of rocks, hidden in June, show pink above the surface of the river. The sun is hot, but lower, now in the sky. Sunset has moved behind our willow tree. All this and the beauty of the weekend urged us to linger with old friends at meeting places chosen long ago, around tables laden with good food enjoying quiet talk.
On Saturday, two large parties brought island people together, one on the north shore of Grindstone, the other on the south shore.
At noon, boats began anchoring off MacRae Point where Louise and Wayne Grant gave a party for Lyn Rand and Fritz Hammond who are to be married in the Episcopal Cathedral in Kingston on Sept. 22. Lyn is the daughter of Patty Bain of Juniper Island, a long-time islander. Fritz, of Mercersburg, Pa., is new to the river. Their friends gathered from all the islands that lie to the north of Grindstone, the Lake Fleet Islands, the Admiralty islands, and Grindstone itself. Under a festive yellow and white tent, they served themselves from a wonderful buffet catered by the Wild Goose Restaurant in Clayton, and enjoyed leisurely, lively conversation around the small tables shaded by the canopy.
At three o'clock, boats began "anchoring-off" in Rusho Bay on the south side of the island. There, Caroline Shultz and Francis (Bub-by) Bazinet were married. Standing on a small blue carpet before the minister, they said their vows looking from each other to the gap between Picton Island and Bluff that frames outskirts of the distant village of Clayton. In the Schultz camp, guests served themselves from a wonderful buffet provided by Caroline's family, and Caroline's and Bubby's many, many friends, and enjoyed leisurely old-home conversation around picnic tables set up under the trees.
During the Sunday morning service, the children dismantled the cardboard church used for the last week's pageant and, carrying it to the carriage house, put it back together again as the Rev. Shorts did in 1890. The present minister, Bob Smith, reminded them of the nursery rhyme,
"This is the church This is the steeple,
Open the doors, And see all the people."
"The people, all of them, are the real church," said Bob Smith, as the last load was carried up the aisle.
The Rev. Robert McCune, district superintendent, preached about the foolishness of the Christian story and its truth. After church, he chaired the annual charge conference where he received reports of worship this summer, of the church's healthy financial state, and of the good times we've shared together in quilting, in the carnival games at the carriage-house dinners.
And after the meeting, the friends gathered for, perhaps, the last meal they would share together this summer. Under the carriage-house roof they served themselves from the bounty of a pot-luck lunch and enjoyed leisurely, good-friend conversation around the tables.
Next Sunday is the last service of this summer. The people who have worshipped together all summer will bring stories or poems or sentences about things they've seen and heard and thought about during these 11 weeks... and say "goodbye" for another winter.
I received a letter this week from Mrs. Harold Herrick which I quote appreciatively: "The August 4 skiff races off Wild Goose Island represented the second annual Harold E. Herrick, Jr. Memorial St. Lawrence Skiff Races, in memory of my late husband, and were organized by our son Harold E. Herrick, III (Hal) and Edward W. Overton, Jr., a lifelong friend of the family who spent many summers at the Bacon/Herrick Grindstone Island summer home "Kum-tuit" - "Ted" Overton travelled north from his Virginia home to be "on hand" to set the courses and operate the committee boat. The lovely silver trophy was his gift for the competition to be held annually. Bill Rueckert has now won it twice!!
I need not list the many, many ways my husband showed his love for the St. Lawrence River; however, his persistent efforts to make certain that the skiff was given its proper recognition stands alone! - It was Aunt Polly Dodge, his godmother, who encouraged and helped his efforts at the Shipyard Museum to preserve the skiff's heritage and that led him on to his crusade to ferret out skiffs along the River that had been long tucked away in boathouses-and urged, with success, their owners to have them restored."
"The Aug. 4 skiff races were, in my family's eyes, just what Harold
would have been totally delighted by... most sincerely, Mary Herrick."
On Saturday, another tradition Polly Dodge nurtured, the weekly family baseball game at Rum Point, ended another season. It was all too short.
So It Is.