Until Friday, the most adventuresome activity reported this week was a trip to Watertown to get photos developed in one hour at the Mall, and to get our tires checked and rotated. We then drove home by Route 81 and Alexandria Bay to deliver our Grindstone news and newly developed photographs to the Thousand Islands Sin.
Most of the week was spent enjoying the river and the weather. The river was quiet, few boats passed and the weather was soft and warm on our shoulders. We sat on the rock enjoying the ripples twisting in and out among the pink rocks at sunset, and swam our course slowly with a weather-eye out for elegant cumulus clouds or creamy light on the rock face as we loitered past in side-stroke.
But by Friday, the weekend was upon us. There were, at every camp, children returning for the last time this summer who needed to be met and transported to Grindstone's shore, with great bags of groceries for the final feasts of the Autumn, though the shopping was a bit restrained as housekeepers were trying to empty their shelves for their own soon-to-come departures.
On Saturday, family groups enjoyed the yet warm water for swimming or boating, and played quiet games, staying close by their cottages. .After the evening meals around the myriad of friendly tables, people began to gather for the Saturday evening dance, the last one of the season. Debbie Donaldson was the disc jockey while Steven was off on an errand of mercy.
As the evening progressed old-timers danced a few squares, "The Red River Valley," "Duck for the Oyster," and so on, old favorites. Bernie Sanders was outside talking when his name was drawn for the 50-50, and lots of people simply sat around talking together all evening.
The church service on Labor Day weekend always centers the three days and pulls the summer regretfully to a close. To begin, Barbara Kuempel, the minister, asked the congregation to practice a new hymn, "On Eagle's Wings," and said, as the voices soared easily through it, that she had forgotten that these parishioners never need to practice. It is the singing that always moves the Grindstone service through the liturgical ascents of worship.
Dave Sheppard and Helen Ingerson once more visited Grindstone and raised their voices in worship, Dave singing about the old violin made valuable by the touch of the master's hand, about peace like a river attending our way, and, finally, singing "The Lord's Prayer," and Helen singing, too, about peace flowing like a river.
The river's wild and peaceful ways also ran through the sermon. The text was the Matthews 14 story of Jesus' calming the storm and of Peter walking on the water. Barbara, opposing the wildness of the river, chaos, to the calmness of the river, order, talked, as all ministers using this text do, about our natural fear of chaos and unmanageable situations, but her translation of Jesus' call to the disciples made something new of "Courage, do not be afraid." She said that the translation of the original text literally reads, "Take Heart: I am." Earlier this year she had talked about God's revealing Himself only in the puzzling statement, "I am That I am." In this text, then, it is Jesus revealing who He is, that calms the raging sea.
She talked then about Peter, who in the dark of night saw Jesus for who He is and leapt, without thinking, into the sea, and who, for a moment walked without sinking. Barbara then read Jesus' call to Peter, not as harsh and critical, but as an encouraging, "Come" ..."You can do it, see?" "Why did you doubt?" ...Come."
After the sermon, the minister called three special women to the altar: Sis Matthews, Erma Slate, and Marjorie Rusho. All three of these women were baptized in the Grindstone Church, are long-time members, and have worked faithfully for the church through all their years. She presented them with tiny gold crosses on gold chains to thank them for their many, many gifts to this church. Mary Lou Rusho expressed the church's joy in Barbara's ministry this summer.
Then Patty Wagner read a list of people she wants the congregation to remember: David Solar, a young man named Eddie, Katie and Don Metzger, "Sis" Taylor and Richard, Pattie's brother. Charles Taylor must undergo further circulatory surgery, too.
Mr. Marks announced that Stanley Norcom, the author of "Grindstone, an Island World Remembered" died on Sept. 1, quietly, in his sleep. He was 91.
And Debbie Donaldson told us that Judy Bacci is in the hospital at the Bay. It is Judy who gathered all the Grindstone arts and crafts into her new store, The Grindstone, in Clayton. It is a beautiful store, and Judy's own art is lovely, the prints of the church, the schoolhouse, the cheese factory will be part of Grindstone memorabilia for many years to come. She has given our island community many gifts and we look forward to her return to health and work.
After thanking Doc Schwartz and Phyllis, who were teaching Sunday school, for their guidance of this church, and Chris and Aleatha Williams for their much appreciated care of the church, we sang a last hymn. After the benediction, the congregation joined hands and sang together "God be with you 'til we meet again," and everyone retired to the carriage house to view the self-portraits the Sunday school class had hung for us to see.
Not over yet
And yet the day was not over:
At Aunt Jane's Bay, the reawakened Aunt Jane's Bay Regatta was held at 2 p.m. Laurie and Jeff Shirley organized the event for the families from around the south shore bay, and Polly Kolle's grandchildren built the winning float named, Rub-a-dub-dub, Bob Custis and Marie Moore paddled about maintaining order.
On the north shore of the island, also at two o'clock, people gathered for the annual Squatters' Picnic on the lawn of Phil and Yuvonne Marra: the Donaldsons, the Meeks, the Slates, Buck's family and Erma's, Peter Strong and Libby, the Bosses, the Matthews, the Marshalls, the Marras, the Bazinets, the Stub Matthews, Arnie Cerio, the Manley Rushos, and, to our great joy, Polly Rusho. Milton was working. We missed Sally, their daughter, too. She has gone home to Baton Rouge and is getting ready for her October wedding at the
university chapel there.
I'm sure I'm forgetting at least one someone, and undoubtedly, several someones. The food was good, me storm clouds never rained us inside, and everyone clung together as the day drew to a close, as summer drew to a close.
It has been a lovely summer!. We'll remember it and cherish it all through the cold and busy winter. Bubby Bazinet will again keep us in touch with the winter Grindstone Islanders as the rest of us go to distant winter homes but are kept close by the Thousand Islands Sun. Once more, we thank Stella Carnegie for her courier service that with the help of Carolyn Bazinet, makes this column possible! So it is.