A Communion of Saints hovered so close over Grindstone Island this week that we felt the breath of their wings. At the Sunday morning worship service (July 14), the congregation, led by the Rev. William Gipson, remembered, and gave thanks for, the people we have loved who died during this past year: Ruth Streets, Martha Davison, Belva Lember, Elizabeth Gamsey, Mary Anderson, Philip Boyer, Virginia Cox, Scott Graves, Marian Utiger, Maxine LaLond, Catherine Marra.
In "some thoughts about being a Christian," Mr. Gipson talked about "not laws, not principles, not suggestions about how to do it," but about living with people so we keep a space. Near the end of the service Willette Gipson, who had to return to her job in Princeton shortly after the service, made the congregation feel they had managed to make her see "there is a God" in the kind ways all the islanders have made her family, William, Jalice (3), Niahope (1 1/2) and her feel at home in a place they had not known existed until a few months ago. All of the church people hate to have her (and Niahope) leave, and hope they can return to be with us for many weekends before
September, though the drive is long. Willette directs Community House, a Princeton University center where students find ways of sharing their good fortune in the communities of Princeton and Trenton, tutoring, mentoring, being friends to those who need them.
To go back to the communion of saints: the Davidsons filled the church with their singing so the hymns overflowed far up the road. Because Salt Garnsey was kind enough to run the old school bus over for the south side of the island, even Ann Binhammer, still frail from her stroke two years ago, could be there to swell our chorus.
Many and diverse are the vehicles which bring Islanders to church, but the Volkswagon Raccoon which arrived from far down at "the foot," striped- bushy tail, pricked up ears and all, was as unexpected as raccoons always seem to be. A live raccoon invited himself into Jean Hein's kitchen last week, unscrewed the top of the flour canister, found some grease, and was about to start baking when the Heins' guests. Bob and Phyllis Edwards, discovering him (his whole family waited on the back porch for the party to begin!), kindly ushered him hence...
And to go on about the saints: grandmother Grace Slate surely hovered about the Thurso Comer this week. It must have been she who lured 21 Calhouns and Garnseys from Michigan, all descendants of hers, back to the island this week.
Salt Garnsey and Kitty had a picnic for them when they arrived and about 40 Grindstone Calhouns and Garnseys and connected Slates joined them at Foxy's for dinner on Friday night.
Many said they used to come visit Aunt Grace over 30 years ago in the house where grandson Buck Slate now lives, in the house where old photographs keep the walls humming with the voices and laughter of communing old-timers, and a parade of jarred tomatoes and pickles and beans from the garden keep the winter table as inviting as Grandma did. It must be Grandma Slate who inspires Brenda's quilting and doll-making.
Yuvonne Marra, a granddaughter who summers in a house just down the road from Buck, says it must have been Grandma Slate who urged her to gather her Marra family, father Phil, daughter Debbie Donaldson, Uncle Donnie, Yuvonne's brother from Omaha, Aunt Leverne, Joan Read, Debbie's friend, and all manner of Slate youngsters into the carriage house to give it the most thorough cleaning it has had in 29 years. Yuvonne wanted every plate and every piece of silver to sparkle for the spaghetti dinner on Saturday evening. Surely all the members of the Ladies' Aid Society in Aunt Grace's Day beamed with approval!
And across the road in Dodge Memorial Hall, Grandma Grace is also busy. Here she is surely whispering in the ears of her greatgrandchildren. At the July 6 party when Larry Crauter played guitar, Bubble Bazinet (a great grandson) called some squares. Charlie Matthews was probably there beside Grace, urging Bubble on. No doubt it was Grace who told Ada and Bob Bazinet to pay the taxes on the hall ($500), in the faith that the association could repay them later. Under the direction of Chris Matthews, the new president; Phil Marra, vice president; Judy Bacci, treasurer, and Erma Slate, secretary, but more especially, with the enthusiastic help of the young board of directors, the Basinets are repaid - with much, much gratitude, and the summer parties (Jim Matthews took charge here) are planned through August!
Last Saturday, July 13 "Carl & Laurie" were the DJs. But, in traditional Grindstone fashion, Debbie Garnsey inserted some square dance tapes into the highly modem program of Carl & Laurie. Even Charlie would have slapped his knee in pleasure at those dances, particularly when a new call or two surprised the experts.
The coming week is one to mark on your calendars:
Place: Grindstone Island Methodist Church | July 20: The All-In-One at the Church. Carnival beginning about I 4 p.m., spaghetti supper beginning about 5 p.m., auction after supper, dancing on the hay wagon by Debbie Donaldson's dance class; dance across the road at Dodge Memorial Hall: That's That will play live music on the computer! (Hot dogs, 50-50 drawing, and a door prize besides.) Check your batteries (I could fill several more columns with the week's stories of dead batteries - boats, cars, ATVs -anything with an engine) and come to Grindstone on Saturday night.
Note: Sunday morning, July 21, church service 10:30 a.m.
So it is.