Buck hitched two hay wagons to his red tractor on Saturday afternoon, and about 45 Grindstone Islanders climbed aboard and settled into new-mown hay for a ride around the island. Some of us had made the tour many years ago, some had never been on the roads we traveled. Mothers, fathers and grandparents pointed out to the children, the teenagers, the young, new parents with babies, where Nina once lived, where Midriver Farm is - just past Erma Slate's house, called attention to Josephine Murray's lane. We had watched her drive home just in front of us from where we'd started at the mailboxes in front of the church beside the "Hall". Next we came to the "Squash Court" and then headed over the hill at the head of the island, one view topping another in rapid succession.
When we came to the middle road, we stopped to stretch at the old quartz pit - the "silver mine". Everyone piled out of the hay and scrambled down a steep path to the two caves an old miner had dug maybe a hundred years ago searching for precious metal. Buck hammered each child a good chunk of glinting quartz.
The next stop was at Salt and Kitty Garnsey's farm where we petted the horses and the elegant new colt. Then, back in the wagons, we climbed Black's hilló" which is the highest point on the island, and, some said, in the county. Doreen Meeks pointed out where the old stile stood that separated the little farm where she grew up from the farm August Frazier lives on now, and Buck drove very slowly past Manley Rusho's road, obeying Manley's sign. Yuvonne pointed out the view toward Gananoque and then toward Clayton, from the top of Black's Hill where, 25 years ago, Doug Howard-Smith was buried on the spot he called home, in his old shirt and blue jeans.
Off to the right, we'd seen the lower cemetery where the Civil War veterans were buried under now tall, old evergreens. We wondered why the cedars Doug Howard-Smith planted looked so healthy when many on the island are brown this year.
At one place on the road, yellow butterflies fluttered about making a flame of yellow; queen Anne's lace skirted the edge of the road, and brown-eyed Susans smiled at us. If we grew thirsty on the way, Debbie Marra had lemonade enough for all.
And when we got back to Dodge Hall, Buck served hot dogs and watermelon to his hungry, happy passengers. It was a wonderful afternoon. Buck had picked a beautiful day for the excursion, which was, he said, his donation to the church and the Hall this year. Getting the tractor and two wagons through all of the pasture gates and over the hilly trails without any crushed legs and without tipping a single soul off took remarkable skill. No one was even scratched by a jutting branch!
No many hours after the hay-riders and all of the people who had had to work in the afternoon were back at the Hall for the Saturday night party. Jamie House and Diane Jordan were disc jockeys playing good country music, and, as they .did, last week, all of the young people joined in line dancing, entertaining their elders. There was one good set of square dances too.
But before that, a chair was set in the middle of the Hall, and Sis Matthews was led to sit down in it. Stopping the music, Bubby Bazinet and Phil Marra then awarded Sis an honorary membership card for the Hall which means, they told her, she should never again have to make a donation at the door for any
party. "Boy, that sounds good!" Sis responded, and then, her grandsons, Michael and Tim Matthews, Jamie Downey, Eric Lashomb, and Josh Lashomb, lined up to dance with her, each one, in turn, cutting in on the other! Sis looked for Jada Lashomb to dance with her, but couldn't find her. "It's nice to be told you're loved", she said.
A lot of the men at the party looked more elegant than usual because they wore Dodge Hall hats which they'd bought from Buck to support new plans for repairs on the building. Again, Harry Slate won the 50-50. Carolyn Bazinet won a T-shirt, and so did Buddy Patch (the second one he's won this summer).
So Sunday morning rolled around. And the church was filled by many of the same people. There were others, though, from the South side of the island, to be greeted at coffee hour. Mary Beers told the story of the Canaanite woman who insisted to Jesus that he heal her daughter, even though she was not a Jew. Each week as we meet together for worship, people from all the points, bays, and meadows or woods on Grindstone meet and become friends. They belong to many, many different denominations of the church and come from all the segments of the American population. Mary's story made us glad we have our differences.
After coffee in the carriage house, Annie Couch and Sis Matthews were seated at 12: 25 back in the church pew, awaiting the coming of Carolyn and Bubby Bazinet with Mary Margaret. The two women talked and talked as if they hadn't seen each other all summer. Then the baptismal party arrived and John Marks performed the ceremony before a new, full congregation, welcoming Mary Margaret into the communion of the church. Amie Cerio and Mary Margaret's aunt, Cheryl Shultz were sponsors of the baby.
That whole crowd then wended its way down under the hill to Carolyn's and Bubby's house where they ate chicken and ham and lasagna, and pasta salads and hot pepper sauce, and broccoli salad and green salad - and - and - and. And a beautiful cake for Mary Margaret, who stayed awake, passed from cuddling arm to cuddling arm through the whole party.
There was another cake with a candle for Jamie Donaldson whose 14th birthday was on Aug. 29.
Notes: Gage Rand's 10th birthday was this week, too, and she, too, had a party to celebrate.
Saturday, Aug. 27 was Harmony Hunneyman's ninth birthday and she brought all of the friends who came to her party to the dance. They requested their special songs and danced and danced until Aleatha Williams, who joined them, must have been worn out!
Liz Brown Whitton had a 9 Ib. 10 oz. baby boy on Friday named Ethan John. Another Hallelujah!
There were two special people at the Old Home Day: Jane Peck of Watertown and her brother David of Las Vegas. They are children of the old Grindstone Island cheese maker in the building we passed on the hayride. Doreen Meeks told me she worked for Father Vernon Peck when she was no more than 12 years old. We welcome Jane and David and hope they will come back soon!
Stub and Karen Lashomb had houseguests last weekend, Gary and Mary Denesha with their boys. They wanted to come to the island because Gary's grandfather also worked at the cheese factory when he was young. Karen wants to say: "Yes, Stub, that was a mere dog that came miming to your car, not a Shetland pony!"
Saying thank you
In 1990, there were two gifts to the Grindstone church, which were not acknowledged in the business of the celebration, and the congregation would like to say thank you now. This morning the new organ was especially appreciated when John Marks accompanied Carol Marsh's lovely solo. The two musicians spent unusually long hours practicing, and it was lovely to have an organ, which could manage the score. Mr. and Mrs. James Panders, friends of Bob and Karen Frick, donated the organ to the Grindstone Methodist Church to celebrate its centennial in 1990. We write a much belated, but sincere thank you, Mr. and Mrs. James Flanders.
We also want to thank Eleanor Cummings Ives for her check, which helped us with the restoration of the church building back in 1990. Her gift is much appreciated. Thank you, Eleanor Ives. And, this year, Bill Udavich donated the paint, which has kept the carriage house floor shining in such splendor all summer long. We appreciate that gift too, very much! Thank you, Bill Udavich.
Next Sunday is the last service in the church for this summer. Each year seems to pass faster than the last. So it is.