Grindstone News - August 19. 1992

Grindstone Island - Well, it rained. Only a little, but it rained enough to make the ground wet. So the rescheduled Aunt Jane's Bay service had to be held in the church this Sunday too. But the congregation sang even more lustily, "Shall We Gather at the River" and the Rev. Mr. Burtt Sweet preached a river sermon anyway: "Let's Go Fishing."

There wasn't any Sunday school either. (The two children present elected to stay through the whole service.) All of the other children were in Watertown for the baptism of the Jeff Marra twins, Matthew and Jeff, at St. Patrick's Church. Then everyone went to a big-celebration at the Brownville American Legion.. Yuvon, proud grandmother, announced that Matthew, the smaller boy at birth has now doubled his weight and is a hefty 9 Ib. Jeff weighs only 8 Ib, 12 oz. The congregation rejoiced in the Marra happiness, but missed having all of the children in church. We're saving the candy Polly Rusho brought for them until next week.

Next Sunday the Rev. David Geer, Superintendent 'of the St. Lawrence District of the United Methodist Church, will preach, and then chair the charge conference after the worship service. There will be a pot luck lunch after that, so it will be a big day. Caroline Larsen will teach Sunday school.

On Saturday evening the church people gathered for potluck, which, some said, was the best ever. Every table was full and every plate was overflowing with turkey, ham, wonderful casserole vegetables, green salads, and desserts. Erma Slate got there first to put the coffee on. Margaret Taylor arrived not much later with the turkey. And then a whole crew got the tables ready: Sue and Frannie Rossmassler, Lynn and Bonnie Taylor, Polly and Marjorie Rusho, and the ever-helpful Marras. At the dishpan after supper, Mrs. Shirley worked with Marie Moore, Marjorie Rusho, and Caroline Larsen. Aleatha and Chris Williams took away the trash.

All of the work is important to credit, but most important to tell about is the pleasure everyone took in the evening, people sitting a long time around the tables talking, other groups standing about on the lawn outside the carriage house talking, talking, talking.

At the center of one group. Skip Matthews, home from his third week as correction officer at Sing Sing, told about getting acquainted with some of the prisoners. He was assigned to visit with those who came to the chapel. Some complained of their treatment. But when Skip asked them what, if they were guards, they would do when a prisoner was ornery, they agreed that they would do just what they reported the guards do. When Skip put a bunch of name tags on a table and told them to pick up their own, he realized they could not read even their own names, and had to help them. Skip's story brings the problem of making the United States work home to our reclusive island.

At the center of another group was another of Sis Matthews' sons, Stub. He is giving Harry Slate a hand in his new job working with Stub in construction. "Stub," says Sis, "likes Harry, you know."

Which reminds me that Grace Garnsey Wright sent a message when this reporter asked, in the Great American on Saturday, what she wanted said about her: "I love everyone on Grindstone." We all wish she could get over more often.

Chain saws: Wonderful, frightening pieces of equipment! On Saturday Danny Schleher and his son Parker (P.J.) were taking down some trees in Thurso Bay when the saw slipped and cut through P.J.'s boot. Fortunately, the accident was not as serious as it first seemed, but, once more, the Last Chance came to the rescue when Danny called for help. Because the boat would take a long time getting to the hospital, the firemen called both the Coast Guard and MAST from Fort Drum. The helicopter came quickly, hovered for anxious moments over Thurso, and then landed in Marjorie Garnsey's field. P.J. had not been very taken with the idea of being lifted into the "copter" by that little rope," so Buck and the firemen got him to the field by stretcher.

At last report P.J.'s foot will be fine. He is home resting. The cut, between his big -and second toe, missed bones and, we hear, ligaments. It is stitched and mending. Father Danny returned to finish his job.

The Schlehers, father and son, took down a huge cherry tree in McRae Bay a couple of years ago, and even then, when P.J. was younger, the two worked as a team, father giving son only what he could do competently, but giving him also the joy of working with a . man at men's work! It was a job well done, a piece of art to remember. We wish P.J. well.

We all appreciate the work of the Clayton Fire Department and Rescue Squad, of the Coast Guard, and of MAST from Port Drum. All islanders also send special thanks to "Doc" Withington who is there when any of us calls.

Several weeks ago, Tim Pickett from Aunt Jane's Bay, was trying to free Sheppard Holt's boat slip from the beaver's dam, when he hit his thigh with his chain saw. Polly Kolle reports that his 16 stitches have now been removed and that he is back in Washington, D.C., working, and even water skiing, after a dreadful scare.

Even dancing "did in" at least one Grindstone Islander on Saturday night. Kitty Garnsey twisted her knee - just right, in what seemed to be a simple fall, but she ripped some cartilage and will be off it for some time.

And bats! Chris Williams installed a ceiling fan in the church, but before he did, he had to put on armor! When he first looked up through the trap door, he almost decided the 20 or so bats residing under the roof were more than he wanted to meet. But, finally, he went home and got out all his winter gear-heavy jacket, hood, helmet, tough pants, gloves. Marjorie Garnsey, his mother-in-law took a picture of him in his bat attire. The bats are still there. As Chris worked they beat against his helmet and jacket, trying to rid their castle of the intruder. But, on Sunday morning, the large fan kept the church cool and well ventilated. Thank you, Chris! Now you know how it feels to be a knight-in-armor!

Gathering the Grindstone news is done much as a hunting dog follows the scent of a rabbit -Losing the trail, doubling back,  circling, and finally getting the rabbit.  I now know who really cleaned the church last week. I thought, when I thanked her, that Shirl Stevens didn't think she'd done all that much. She and Garrie did leave the parsonage clean and inviting, but, it was Aleatha Garnsey Williams, with Debbie Garnsey Hayes, who cleaned the church, leaving it sweet-smelling and polished with Murphy's Oil Soap, every pew glowing, ever hymn book in place, the floor immaculate. The island seems alive with fairy-tale knights and brownies. And plain folks just doing their jobs. Marjorie Garnsey, at 10: 15 a.m. Sunday morning, had the school bus at the ready - though the Aunt Jane's Bay service didn't take place.

One more note - there were, as usual, guests at the Rusho house! Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Neely came along with them to church. And, "Skip caught a big walleye!" Sis told the woman "taking up the offering "on Sunday and - oh it tasted so good.

So it is.