Grindstone Island News - July 27, 1994
A time to remember:
The following Grindstone Islanders (by birth or by adoption) have joined the communion of Saints in Heaven since last year's memorial service: Jonathan Allured, Alice Boyer, Carol Brown, Alta Dano, Howard Diegel, Richard Ennis, Stanley Norcom, Jane O'Connor, Gertrude Pfeiffer, Joseph Picton, Polly Ann Rusho, Andy Sulier, Leo Sulier, Joseph Wright
We were drinking coffee at the Bazinets' remembering that Jewel Faust had told us, long ago, that her nephew, Bruce, was going to put a trailer down on the little piece of land he'd bought next to the Conant place. We were looking at the plots drawn on the tax map Bubby had unrolled on the table, when John Marks, no writer of cryptograms like me, noticed something that made him start: He saw that the Dodge Community Hall is part of the Grindstone Island Methodist Church. Believing that the Church Invisible is wherever the world is, this new unity was not a wholly new concept for John "A church is, where apples dangle tempting in the tree," The church is wherever people are. As it is in Judy Bacci's picture, the church is its people, its roof, its shingles; its bricks are formed of all the people who want to be the church.
However, the next time John saw Doc Schwartz, he asked him, ~ "Does the church own the property across the road?" Doc's eyes opened wide, and he knew no more than John. In fact, a minute before he had known less!
The following day, we met Manley Rusho when we were in Reinman's buying fine white lampshades to replace the ones that had been on the lamps now in our island living room for at least the 60 years that I can remember them. Between those new white! Bright! lampshades, (John parted with the broken old ones only with deep mourning to the vast amusement of the women behind the counter...and
to Manley's) and his new-found knowledge about the hall, John was not himself!
He asked Manley, when the new shades were finally chosen, if the church owns the property across the road. Manley, who is one of the board members of the church, looked stunned. Both men tried, as they had been told to in the last Sunday sermon, to separate their public being from the one God created. So, Manley promised to go immediately to the town clerk's office to find out; and within three days, he had photocopied three copies of the deed he found registered in Watertown. Yes, the church owns the property across the road!
Here is the first paragraph of the deed which John Marks read to the congregation before the morning service...in the presence of that crowd of witnesses, the communion of Saints. "This Indenture made the 4th day of March, Nineteen Hundred and Fifty-Eight between Roland J. Dodge and Nonna E. Dodge, his wife, both of the Town of Clayton, Jefferson County, N.Y., parties of the first part, and Emmet C. Dodge, Leon Rusho, Aaron Cummings, Bertha McRae, Robert Lashomb and Norma Dodge, their successors in office and their assigns as the board of trustees of the Grindstone Methodist Church, in trust, that said premises shall be used, kept and maintained as a place for the Young Adult Fellowship of the Grindstone Methodist Church and for other activities of the Church; subject to the Discipline, usage, and ministerial appointments of said Church as from time to time authorized and declared by the general conference and by the Annual Conference within whose bounds the said premises are situated. This provision is solely for the benefit of the grantee, and the grantors reserve no right or interest in said premises."
So It Is: The Church Invisible emerges unrecognizable... until we hunger at its tempting...where apples dangle in the tree—here in the veritable midst of life on Grindstone Island. After church, both church people and dancers gathered to talk, startled that such authority is thrust upon us. Now, we step back together to analyze the situation, as Melissa Patch says she is being taught in her pursuit of a career in nursing. What does this newly discovered ownership mean to the Hall and to the Church? What are the ministries each one is called to? What does each need in order to carry on its own ministry? Worship, we are learning once again, is not just praying and singing hymns for one hour a week in a vinyl-skinned, Murphy's soap-scented building. It is the whole of our waking and even sleeping.
I have thought a lot of the many hymns John and I have delighted in since we came to Grindstone Island in 1962: Bob Smith, the preacher, calling squares for us to dance to. Before that, Erma Slate and Nina Garnsey tending the stereo system Mrs. Murray gave the Hall, changing records all evening for the young people (who were the Bible school students in those days) to dance to. Later, we persuaded Leon Rusho to fiddle, Jim Garnsey to play guitar, Polly Rusho to sing now and then, Bob Bazinet to play the gut-bucket, and Charlie Matthews to call squares for everyone. Sis Matthews, Madgel Brown, Clara Carnegie and, often, Marjorie Rusho and Marjorie Garnsey (and most other parents) saw to it that everyone had a good time, that no one elbowed or hurt anyone else, and that everyone learned how to do the dances—keeping at least one eye focused on any "kids" outside who might get into mischief.
I remember Sis coming in once with about eight boys in tow. They all shook hands and apologized to the city boy who had unwisely challenged them to arm wrestling. (Those island boys made daily hymns in the hay field helping with the farm work that had to be finished before they went back to school where their hymns would be sung over school books.) Many parents are at the dances now -making sure everyone has a good time, as Sis did and does.
I remember Phil Marra fixing the steps to our dock only because he had noticed they needed it—and I remember "all" the island men putting a new roof on the Hall only because they noticed it needed it... and Yuvonne and Phil, and Debbie and Steve Donaldson and Brenda and Erma Slate and Margaret Taylor, and Sis Matthews and Annie Couch and Belva Lember and Elsie Garnsey and Marjorie and Leon Rusho cleaning the carriage house every year for the turkey dinners until it sparkled as brightly as it does this year (though the floor would never shine until Aleatha and Chris painted it this year).
I remember Buck Slate always getting rid of the heaps of garbage and trash left over after the dinners and after the parties. I remember young Alice Couch cleaning the church every Sunday when we lived in the parsonage. This very Saturday afternoon, when we went for our mail. we found Buck Slate and Jay, and Yuvonne and Phil Marra scrubbing the Hall and kitchen in preparation for the party at night. And I remember when Bob and Ada Bazinet gave $500 so the Hall could buy liability insurance. But at the next few dances everyone donated money to pay them back.
And I remember all those children who sang in the choir in those days whose children are now the "young people" who dance in the Dodge Memorial Hall. Erma tells about the first young people at the Hall planning the first Old Home Day.
Yuvonne Marra told me a few weeks ago that Melissa Patch, daughter of Brenda, a Bible school child in 1962, had called her after she had heard no one had gotten any music for the Saturday night parties this year to say she would do it. And she did! Not only has she scheduled a group for every week, she has found transportation for them. And not only that, she has found someone to help them load their equipment into the boat both on the Clayton dock and on the Grindstone dock. She has suggested a weekly donation to the Hall that is large enough so the bands can be paid well (and persuaded some of them to come for less than they usually charge). She has done the necessary publicity, and she has enlisted the aid of Caroline Bazinet and Chris Matthews and lots of others (just about everybody!) to help with the hot dogs and hamburgers.
Since most of the people who come to the dances are rooted in some way to Grindstone Island, she has scheduled bands who also have old ties to the island:
- July 16, The Marshall Street Band (the leader is Tommy Marshall's cousin);
- July 23, Liquid Courage (John Spence, the lead guitar player, is Patty Wagner's nephew and is also related to Phyllis and Jim Garnsey, who played guitar when "Charlie" was calling and Leon was fiddling and John Marks was chording);
- July 30, Ex-caliber (Its lead singer, Tom Booth, used to sing with the High Rider Band that used to come to Grindstone "in the old days");
- Aug. 6, The Shadows (Dave Knapp of Murray Isle plays guitar);
- Aug. 13, Ex-caliber again;
Aug. 20, John Morrow (the disc jockey who has played for many graduation parties on Grindstone...in fact, for Melissa's. Buck and Brenda Slate always made the "little house" available if graduation parties went on so long that the graduates could not get safely home. They still keep an eye on all the party-goers);
- Aug. 27, Gary's DJ Service (and Jackie, his wife. They led the opening dance this year, and
were liked a lot);
- Sept. 3, Ex-caliber again because the members wanted to play for the last dance of the year!
Melissa has asked the bands to play a lot of Pete Seeger-type of music or Credence Clearwater Revival stuff—no head-banging So y'all come! All the
Grindstone people are working together to give us all a good time on Saturday nights. On the island, we especially like parents, grandparents, and kids to come together - with the babies. Every Saturday night is family night here.
Other news too
Hallelujah! Mr. and Mrs. John Connolly have a baby girl, Hannah Marguerite, born at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 14. Bob and Audrey Lashomb are two proud grandparents! Bob says he saw Hannah turn over herself on the heating table. Everyone says she's a Lashomb - she has Billy Ann's feet — just like Trudy did! She's very pretty with light skin and dark hair. Can you tell I visited with her grandfather on Friday?!
That same day, I visited with Eric Lashomb who has recovered completely from his accident two weeks ago except for a dreadful case of poison ivy from landing in the weeds at the side of the road. He also told me the "whole truth" about the accident:
Eric and Tavis Gray came over to the island July 3 and, leaving one four-wheeler at the school house in the middle of the island, came on across to the beach for a swim. Eric had been working at the Shipyard gas dock all day. After about a half-hour they headed back to the schoolhouse to pick up the other four-wheeler and go on to a party at Dick Ennis's house.
Bill Lindsky passed the boys there and went on over the hill on the middle road on his way to the same party. (Eric wants everyone to be told that Bill had not had anything to drink that day.) Then, while Eric and Tavis were getting their vehicles going, Mike Matthews came by, turned onto the middle road, and, Mike says, he passed Bill Lindsky just over the crest of the hill. Bill, then, must have slowed down trying to let the cloud of dust settle. As he came near the cheese factory, he was still in the heavy fog of dust, going even slower and staying near the middle of the road because there is no shoulder on the road there.
Meanwhile Eric and Tavis started out, and they, too, came up the same road, sticking close to the middle to avoid the ditch at the side of the road since they, also, could not see because of the thick dust. And Eric ran onto Bill - not seeing him until too late to avoid him.
Bill had a serious concussion, but recovered in the Watertown hospital. Eric could almost not tell me the ironic sequel. As Bill was going home to Binghamton with his sister, when he was about 100 feet from his own road, a truck coming the other way swerved and hit them head-on. Bill now is in the hospital in Binghamton, but, Eric said, is all right. Manley Rusho had told us that Watertown doctors had sent Bill's records and x-rays to Binghamton so they could compare and evaluate Bill's new injuries. We all await news of him.
Eric wants to thank, especially. Stub Lashomb and Joe for helping him so much at the accident, and all the others "who were really kind." One more accident: not on the road, but at her own house, Marjorie Rusho fell and broke her hip. Dr. Richard Withington operated, miraculously, says Manley, "slapped a new hip on," and in time — we hope, soon — Marjorie will be up walking and back on Grindstone. We all ask about her every day. Mary Lou and Leon make a daily visit leaving Manley in charge of the tribe of grandchildren visiting them.
Jewel Faust suffered a heart attack this week, and is in the hospital at Alexandria Bay. At the last report, she was recovering well.
Doc Schwartz asked the church board to remain at the site of the Aunt Jane's Bay service for a meeting after church on Sunday, Aug. 7. There will be a general meeting at the hall shortly after at 1 p.m.
Next Saturday, July 30, the band Ex-caliber will play for the party at the hall to introduce Old Home Day on July 31 at Potter's Beach! Everybody come!
So it is.