With the brush growing scraggly as it does at the end of summer, the fiery sunset over the head of Leek Island can be seen blazing through the trees on MacRae Point before we finish supper now. The days are growing shorter, but the evenings seem long and pleasant as we settle down to read or listen to an organ concert. The events of the week have had an "at home" feel and the people who have been frantically busy at the shipyards or in the hay fields look forward to quieter days, to busy-ness "letting up" so they can get their tomatoes canned, their pickles "put up," and their applesauce jarred. Those of us who have been at ease all summer are letting our shelves empty and are getting the guest rooms ready for the winter.
The families on Thurso Bay, Beverly Pope, Norvin and Jean Hein, Carol and John Marsh, with David their son and his friend, and Aminta and John Marks had a farewell dinner at the Heins' house on Thursday evening. The next day the Marshes left for two weeks in Buenos Aires and on Sunday, the Heins left to spend almost a month in Alaska and Washington state.
On Friday evening many Grindstone Islanders met for an early supper at the Golden Anchor and then walked over to the Clayton Opera House where the Clayton Young People's Theater presented "Clowns," a musical for young voices written by Craig Cassils. Debbie Donaldson, whose dancing has been recorded several times in the "Grindstone News," directed about 20 children in the kindly story, which they acted out. Kathryn Ingerson directed the music. Debbie Donaldson choreographed the dancing, with L.T., a professional dancer from New York City who instructed at the dance workshop which Debbie Donaldson, Jacey, Jamie and Stephanie Donaldson attended earlier in the month. Grindstone Island children learn to dance almost as soon as they can walk, at the Saturday night parties, and they take to Debbie's programs "like ducks to water." When Jamie leapt, I knew she was a Donaldson in spite of her mask, and in Stephanie Donaldson's gentleness in getting all of the discouraged seekers for the "secret of happiness" back on their feet to go on with the search we recognized the gentleness of our island children.
In looking through the program, I came upon Gregory Lago's beautifully clean page announcing his work as wood engraver, illustrator, and graphic designer. His logo shows a sheet of paper caught in a hawthorn bush. In the opera house program, tiny sheets dance away to the sky over a distant island. The advertisement reminded me of the exhibit of his work at the Winged Bull Studio, 537 Riverside Drive which continues until Oct. 2. Greg is not a Grindstone Islander, but the island's influence shows in much of his work. This exhibit is happy.
Mattie Pannanen whoops as he clings to a buoy, a Club Island boatman works contentedly in a boat house filled with skiffs, Richard Merchant, the iron worker and fanner from Cape Vincent, reminds one of a Grindstone Islander, and the sailboat at the heart of the display is light-bright with scenes from Picton channel. Greg painted two wonderful scenes on old saws, one of timber-rafting on the river, another of (and for) Michael Marshall in his truck as he drives with his dogs along the river. Greg's humor brightens his sardonic vision and gives his work authenticity.
On Saturday, the baseball game was cancelled in favor of a surprise birthday party for Kenny Brabant at his new home on Midriver Farm. Kenny was absolutely, completely surprised, and the party-goers felt quite pleased with themselves for not having given anything away! Erma Slate reports that the party went on until it was nearly time for the celebrants to move to the Dodge Memorial Hall for the Saturday night party.
John Morrow was disc jockey at that event, and he has a particular flair for giving everyone a relaxed good time. Next week, for the last dance of the year, Steve Donaldson and Debbie will provide the music. Bubby Bazinet promises three square dance sets! Steve is as good a balance for Debbie in disc jockeying as he is at home.
The Clowns production took a lot, lot of time for Debbie, and finally, in the middle of last week, Steve met her at the dock with, "Where was my coffee this morning?" Debbie had left before Steve was up, and she had left without making coffee! Our husbands often give us the valuable and sharp reminder that we are getting frantically involved - it may be "doing good," it may be with a dance program, it may be with an art exhibit, it may be with running a hospital bazaar! No one expects a loving wife to accept any such reminder as something she should listen to! But husbands should certainly keep on with the reminders. We know, without doubt, they will!
Sunday morning began with the minister-for-the-day on a scavenger hunt looking or a lost singer - in Gananoque. The singer never arrived at the Bay Street dock, but when John Marks, having given up the search, arrived at the church at the top of the Thurso hill, there was David Sheppard ready to sing. Patty Wagner, our good Grindstone friend, had brought him, along with Helen Ingerson. And sing he did, two wonderful songs. The first one about finding "the hammer in my hand," the hammer that nailed Jesus to the cross, will echo in all of our minds for a very long time.
Mr. Marks reflected with the congregation about what it means to think and say, "God." God, he said, for many of us, is a bank president who runs a tidy, helpful, business-like universe. Or He may be a clock-maker who wound his creation up and let it go, or a lawgiver who requires obedience whether we find those laws foolish, or even wrong. But for most of us, all such images are unsatisfactory metaphors. Nevertheless, our God, whether we realize it or not, is the center to which everything else in our lives is bound. Trying to define, however, what we mean when we say "God" is a process much like a scientist's working with a paradigm that must constantly be revised, enlarged, shrunk, whatever, to fit a growing mass of data, our growing mass of experience, which only God can provide. That provision, however, is very often given through the community of saints, through people we live beside, and supremely in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Revelation, Mr. Marks said, occurs again and again and again. We know God, and yet He hides
himself from us. He eludes us but is very often given through the community of saints, through people we live beside, and supremely in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Revelation, Mr. Marks said, occurs again and again and again. We know God, and yet He hides himself from us. He eludes us, but He reveals Himself over and over in the communion of saints. So we . end as we began, looking, touching, asking, tasting and believing in the God who continues to make God known to us all. Life may be described as the story of God's revelation of Himself to us, of God's unending pursuit of our will to worship God worthily.
Mr. Marks retired July 1 from teaching at Princeton University, and for the first two months of the summer, most of what he did seemed to be putting a period at the end of his career. This sermon seemed to be the capital letter of a new sentence. And the first phrase in the new sentence was the sacrament of baptism: Steven Francis Dorr and Sue Ellen Gamsey Dorr presented their son Jacob Evans for baptism, and David George Matthews, son of George Lester Matthews and Wendy Fitch Matthews, with Erma Slate at his side, presented himself for baptism. The congregation welcomed them into the communion of the church and promised to support them in their search for what each will mean when they say or think "God."
After church, the relatives and friends of the Dorrs and Matthews went "down under the hill" to the front yard of Bubby and Carolyn Bazinet for a cook-out and picnic lunch. The comfortable Grindstone family relaxed and talked and ate together until late in the afternoon when the sun hung low in the sky. In fact, some dear friends may be in the Bazinet house yet, even late this Sunday evening! Stub Lashomb and Karen had to leave early, but we were glad to see them on Grindstone this weekend. They haven't been here often.
There were many joys in this day. Mary Lou Rusho, the organist, played "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" as the postlude for the service for her father-in-law, Leon Rusho. It is his favorite hymn.
And Polly Rusho felt well enough to come to church. Our hearts fill with joy when Polly can join us, with Milton, her Joseph, always beside her on her flight to Egypt.
Audrey Lashomb and Rebecca managed to slip away from Remar to come over to church. It's been a long time since they could come. Earlier in the week Denise Gamsey Males, her husband Dave, and daughter Emily came down to visit us at Toad Hall. Fleur, our daughter, and Denise had a good time reminiscing. The Males family stayed in Buck and Brenda Slate's "little house" for several days, and Erma Slate took them to Midriver Farm, where Denise, who is Thornton and Sue Garnsey's granddaughter, spent her childhood Summers. It was good to see her and her family. Her aunt Josie was here one day, too!
Late Saturday afternoon, a good many Grindstone Islanders went over to Wild Goose Island for one of the last parties of this summer. Conversation leapt from searching for new energy sources to talk about Chile with two of the young people who will spent their autumn term there, to lore of the Mississauga Indians who once lived in the islands, to Save the River and its many programs.
Several of the young people from the head of Grindstone have, in years past, worked on the various projects, locating muskie spawning beds, for instance, or marking the shoals, or working on the Kingfisher Clean Water program. Cookie Smith Kenner nominated Matthew Mole to the Save the River board, but the election results weren't known by party time. Save the River is now engaged in its 1993 membership program. Their address is Box 322, Clayton, 13624 if you would like to know more about it.
It seemed as though every single Grindstone Islander was present at those first meetings about winter navigation! The islanders spoke as one voice. I remember especially, Patty Wagner's leadership.
I have a correction for last week's news: It was his own grandson Brandon, son of Tom and Debbie Slate who rode, nestled in Buck's arms, "all smiles," on the big tractor last Sunday afternoon! Robert Bazinet, I'm sure, will get a turn.
Yet one more note: Marie Moore did a valiant job teaching a great throng of children in Sunday school this Sunday! Next Sunday Phyllis and "Doc" Schwartz will do the teaching. Barbara Kuempel will be back again in the parsonage and in the pulpit. We've missed her.
So it is.