Grindstone News - July 28, 1993


The cow, a bow between her horns, and the bull, bandana tied, jaunty, around his neck, have been lonely in the backroom of our house this week, and no little girl has asked Grandma to "sing the lullaby." Phoebe and her 2-month-old twin sisters have gone "home to Pennsylvania" until August. Our house has been too quiet, but grandparents do welcome a respite no matter bow much they enjoy their offsprings' offspring!


The cow and the bull are rag dolls made by Brenda Slate and are much loved by our 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter. Any grandparent who would like to give hours of pleasure to a grandchild can buy a bovine pair in Judy Bacci's The Grindstone, her shop on Riverside Drive in Clayton. Wonderful new items keep coming onto the tables and walls each week, all made by Grindstone Islanders.


Our house may have been quiet during the week, and most of Grindstone Island was, but, by Friday, as usual, we were all busy again. Brenda, over in the Remar shop, sent six houseboats off shipshape, Carolyn Bazinet brought over a truck load of supplies for Sunday's Old Home Day picnic, and Jay Slate helped his dad load three wagon loads of hay bales. I know Erma Slate went across the island to go to work early in the morning because she promised to look out for George, the fine old golden retriever who on Thursday afternoon, had fallen behind Celina and Eliza Moore on their run from the head of the baseline road around the church corner, and back past Erma Slate's house to their camp. George wasn't found by an all-island search party until Friday morning. He had simply stopped at Weazie Grant's doorstep for the night, and since he had no tags on, she didn't know whom to reassure ; with a telephone call.


On Saturday, as we rounded Watch Island to watch the fifth annual Harold Herrick Cup St. Lawrence Skiff Race held off Rum Point this year, the skiffs, flickering to come across the starting line, looked like nine butterflies touching down on the blue water, one with a red wing, one with yellow, the others all white, except one with a vertical green stripe along its edge. The wind was good, and the course interesting: From Rum Point around Papoose, around Gull Rock, keeping it to port, then out around the west of Whiskey and back to the starting point.


The sailors were: Morgan Rueckert and Rory, his crew, Harold E. Herrick III and Edie White, Clee Dodge and Joan Rueckert, Southside Bill Rueckert and his son Jordan, Northside Bill Rueckert and his daughter Elizabeth, Tim Purcell and his daughter Julia, Eric Groat and Max Kenner, Barton Haxall and Polly MacLean, Don Baxter and Marvin Hart.


The Baxter boat is from Round Island and is newly restored, an 1895 skiff Mr. Baxter's great grandfather had built in Clayton by George Miller. This race was the first either Don Baxter or his crew Marvin Hart had ever entered and a new boat in the lineup brings hope that others will join in next year. These rudderless sailing skiffs which require such skill in handling, recall long-gone days on a quiet river when wind was both the friend and foe that a sailor had to respect—and enjoy.


Morgan Rueckert and his crew Rory came in third in the first race, second in the second race, and first in the third race to win the Harold Herrick Cup for this year. On the deck of the Rum Point house, Teddy Overton who oversaw the race from the committee boat, helped rescue Tim Purcell and Julia when their boat capsized, and is a central instigator of the yearly event, called together the group of sailors and onlookers for the awarding.


Mary Herrick, just back from a trip to Hawaii where three generations of her family met to vacation from homes as far apart as Clayton and Australia, stood at Mr. Overton's side and awarded the silver cup to Morgan, expressing her pleasure in the race. Morgan responded graciously as his defeated father beamed with pleasure. Michael White generously hosted the whole affair.


The dance on Saturday night, to the music of the Marshall Street Band was the real beginning of the island weekend, and prelude to Old Home Day. Tommy Marshall played guitar in the band for the first time in 20 years. Laughter and animated conversation competed with sounds of music around the hall and up and down the country roads until late in the night. (The Kopy Kats play next week.)

Sunday morning


Then the church was full on Sunday morning, and the animation continued, though in a different vein. The minister, Barbara Kuempel, braiding the three texts of the Lexicon together, pondered God's answer to Moses' asking his name. Why such a puzzling answer, "I am that I am"? Barbara, once a school-teacher, well versed in the power that knowing a student's name gives a teacher, remembering that God had given Adam and Eve the task of naming the animals he made them responsible for, suggests that God simply did not tell Moses his name because the Kingdom of Heaven, is as elusive as a treasure hid in a field, as a pearl for which a merchant would sell everything he has, as a net which gathers every kind of fish, leaving the fishermen to sort out the good from the bad. We ourselves must go ahead looking for the Kingdom of Heaven, naming the animals in the garden, caring for them, and enjoying the world we are given, trusting that all things will work together for good as we love God, trusting even that new life comes out of death, though we cannot manipulate what is, I Am That I Am.

Such music as accompanied our Old Home Day service! Celina Moore, Tom Moore, and their daughters, Celina and Eliza, brought song, cello music, and strains of a violin to the day. How lovely was the Mozart love song.


The congregation brought us good news. Ada Bazinet read a letter she found in her parents' papers from the Mrs. Gabriel who was the minister's wife in the 1940s. She reminisced about "drinking at the same well together," eating at the same table together" in the newly rebuilt carriage house, and worshipping together with the Turcottes in the pleasant island church. Ada then recounted the miracle of her granddaughter Amber's recovery from a kidney malfunction.


Marjory Rusho, on the other side -of the church, brought us news that Polly Rusho was to return home to Grindstone from the hospital in Watertown on this very Sunday afternoon. And Lolita and Ray Pfeiffer, introducing all their guests, told us they were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

Later in the day, Mrs. Shirley called to tell me that Polly Kole is back on Grindstone ( with little Kristin). And I want to apologize to the Custises for my careless mistake on July 11. It is Bob Custis who will be back on Grindstone as soon as he finishes treatment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.


Robyn Davison and Carol Pierce were the Sunday school teachers this Sunday, and Peter Strong will teach next Sunday. Last Sunday we said the Rushos do a great deal for the Grindstone church. This Sunday, we thank Mary Lou for taking time to stock the Sunday school shelves with supplies. And not only that, everything is labeled so we can find it, and color-coded so we can keep it orderly, and therefore, useful! Jeff Marra contributed a huge box of Crayolas.


On and on

The weekend celebration went on and on and on. From church everyone walked or drove to Potter's Beach for the good meal the islanders provide every year on Old Home Day, ham, varied and sundry salads, hot dogs, burgers, pies, coffee, and all kinds of drinks. The tables were laden with food and between bites all the celebrants told one story after another of former islanders, their funny mishaps, then-kindnesses, and their foibles. There was a "good turnout," but by sunset, a small group of Islanders, back from rides on the visiting hydrostreams, roasted hot dogs alone on their very own beach, feeding also the four ducks who joined mem.


At two o'clock, many other islanders played a short baseball game at Rum Point, a group of the special friends of Ray and Lolita Pfeiffer gathered to celebrate their anniversary with wonderful hors d'oeuvres, wine, once more song by the four Moores, and a reading of Robert Frost's lovely poem, "West-running Brook," by Mariah and Kavin, their children. Lolita's father presented them with an oil painting of the two young people, Lolita and Ray, in their first little row boat out on the river — leaning to each other.

Then day was done. Sunset saw us home.


A few notes yet:    

On Aug. 7 there will be a pot-luck supper at the church. Everyone is asked to bring not only a dish for eating, but a game for playing -this relaxed fun-time will take the place of the carnival.

Next weekend, the Davisons will celebrate 50 years on the island. They will all come to Church in a bus - and we'll sing with them, "Shall We Gather at the River." In 1933 the Rev. Mr. William Davison and Virginia, his wife, bought the old Marshall farm from Bob Gamsey.


To prove that the "media" is on Grindstone: Mr. and Mrs. John Garth Stoecker of Manchester, Mo., were guests of Frank and Nancy Aquadro this week on Murdoch Point.


The parsonage is now a welcoming house. Chris Williams is replacing the front porch, and soon the parson and her friends can gather out there under the great oak tree in the cool of the evening - or if she pleases, in the heat of the day! Well, things do seem to work together in this Grindstone garden

So it is.