The hot, hot humid weather has blown away, the river is blue, my computer is working, and the Cayenne pepper seems to have chased the deer to the nearest bay on the river for a drink of water. We found her droppings at the swimming rock the day after we sprinkled the greens and, since they seem to be growing tall again, we presume she hasn’t been back for several days. The Saturday night dance was, Phil Marra says, a huge success. Several people got lost finding the hall and wandered up and around and down several dirt paths before finding the road, but most must have gotten to the hall because a lot of people had a good, friendly time. As there were last week, there were little ones, many, many of them, scattered about the dance floor until finally their seniors were lured into joining them. The band, Snow Monkeys, made a joyful and loud noise, and everyone had a good time. President Bobby Bazinet and vice president Phil Marra would like to thank the new volunteers for helping in the kitchen and at the door. They will, they say, need more volunteers next week for Old Homes Day Eve. The music on July 26 will be by D&S, our two homegrown DJ’s, and they always sponsor a Limbo contest. So limber up this week all you supple youngsters.
Then, come to Potters Beach on the 26th for the Old Homes Day dinner that starts at 12:30. It’s the party of the year when everyone comes back and memories are livened by the talk around the tables. Surely Leon or Buck or Sis has at least a few more tales we haven’t heard.
There was not an empty seat in church this morning. Even the choir seats behind the organ were full. It was a special Sunday, a time to celebrate a birth and remember those who have died in the last year. Joy and sorrow never seem to be distant from each other, hope and despair cycle evermore through island days. Marvin Pope’s signature verse from his translation of Song of Songs, “Love is strong as death” marked the memorial service for:
Harriet Shirley summered on Grindstone Island from 1948 until last year. She would arrive in mid-May and stay until mid-September. Often managing her summer home alone until she was in her late 80’s. She loved the island’s wild animals who knew they could come to her home if they needed to supplement their food supply. Harriet’s weekly presence in the front pew of the church was a testament to her faith.
Ralph Vanoss summered on Grindstone Island at Aunt Jane’s Bay.
It is becoming a tradition for Helen Ingerson to sing at the yearly memorial service in the island church. This year, she sang Mrs. Shirley’s favorite song in memory of her, Beautiful Isle of Somewhere. Later in the service, she sang Surely the Lord is in this Place.
It was Taylor Scott Matthews who encircled the congregation in the “everlasting arms”. Taylor is the daughter of Maggie Matthews and a whole realm of Grindstone Islanders vowed, with Jim Matthews and Tisha, to “surround Taylor with a community of love”.
Erma Slate, Clara Carnegie, and Brenda Slate busied themselves in the kitchen preparing lunch for all the well-wishers, beginning the work of their vow. Love always seems to do very well around a table laden with good stuff to eat. I guess that is what the Communion Service is all about. And love did very well in the carriage house on Sunday. Dick and Chris Matthews, and Chris’s mother from Gouverneur brought a great deal of it, as grandparents and great-grandparents do.
Just before the baptism, Janna Karpel, one of Kitty Paxton’s nieces sang a love song to Taylor, Jesus Loves Me, and before Matt Zahniser baptized Taylor, he told her and the children who came forward to listen and watch the ceremony, what water signifies in baptism. The children on Grindstone understand well the blessing of water!
It was lovely to have Matt and Ann, and two of their children here for Taylor’s baptism. Maggie remembered Matt from 1980 to 1982 when he was minister on the island. In fact many of the young people Maggie’s age remember Matt, especially for the baseball games he organized, and his love of Grindstone’s wildness. Matt and Ann live now in Wilmore, Kentucky, and drove all the way here for the service.
A quite different blessed happening occurred in the Beers house this week. One evening, Sarah, whose friend, Leslie, died shortly before they came to the river, realized that she couldn’t find the necklace her friend’s mother, had given her. Everyone in the Beers family searched all the nooks and laundry baskets in the parsonage, but couldn’t find it. Then someone remembered having seen it on a rock at Potters Beach. And all of them despaired of ever finding it again. Mother Mary, however, a couple of days later, for some reason, thought she should check one closet more. There was a little heap of laundry on the floor, and the at the bottom, Mary heard the faint tinkle of the necklace! On Sunday, everything seemed very good.
Other good things happened. Marjorie Rusho is home, and, of course, glad to be there. Polly Kolle is coming home soon, also from the hospital. Clay has promised to come and bring her to the island. She concedes that she can’t run her boat herself! …Just now.
A MESSAGE FROM MARJORIE RUSHO:
“Thank you, every one who sent flowers, notes, or came to visit me in the hospital. I wish I could write each of you a special note, but I’m not up to that right now. So please accept my appreciation. All of your good wishes helped to get me back home, recovered, and ready for tomorrow. I’ll be back out among you as soon as I can be.”
Here are some last notes:
On Wednesday, July 23, we are all invited to come to the parsonage for a get-together. Susan Greenburg, the daughter of Manley and Mary Lou Rusho will tell us about her studies in church history, especially about “the historical Jesus”, a topic a great many scholars are pondering now. If you have cookies on hand, bring them to share, but if you don’t, come anyway!
On the next Wednesday, Ken Deedy will talk about the Land Trust, bringing us up to date for this year, and on August 13th, Debbie Marra will do some liturgical dance with us.
Fran Purcell announced that a committee is working to turn the old schoolhouse into a museum and library. If anyone has some furniture or mementos that seem to belong there, give her a call.
There will be a table at Old Homes Day where anyone can buy the mugs with pictures of Grindstone on them that Audrey Lashomb had made for Shipyard and Remar. The afghans with Grindstone Island square in the middle of them will also be there. If you can’t get to Old Homes Day, you can get them at our house on Mac Rae Bay, tel 686- 5038.
And here is a note Matt Zahniser found scratched on a slip of paper in his father’s desk after his father died. It might tell why Maggie is so glad Matt, who is a lot like his father, could be here today:
“Don’t go on pondering.2
Matt believes in living “in the lower case”.
At two thirty when I started this, the sky was blue, and the water sparkling. Now, all is gray and the air is chilly. Nonetheless, we’ve just come from a suddenly conceived party up in Thurso. Phil Marra announced in church that July 21 is John’s and my anniversary. When he and Yuvon found out that I had forgotten it, a dinner materialized from the Marra and Meeks houses, a full yard of friends, a full dinner with all the fixins and dozens of desserts. Yuvon had picked a whole mixing bowl full of raspberries from her own back yard. Delicious! And with chocolate cake besides. The island is full of surprises…blue skies, storm clouds, winds that shift, and cookouts at a moment’s notice.
So it is.