This week seemed to be one of those peaceful interludes of summer.  Fourth of July was past, August vacations are not yet, and most of us have settled into our summer nests.  The house seems clean, …enough.  We’ve gotten friendly with the spiders. Gardens are planted or not planted as the case may be, and everything, including the grass is growing well. We’ve gotten to like the grass a little long. It’s the “old shoe” neighbors who have arrived and gotten comfortable together, settled in,  to the slower routine of the River, of living on an island. John and I had one of those pleasant times together with Ramona and Lyle Nunn over on Wellesley Island last week.  While John and Lyle talked, Ramona and I read the 1989 and 1990 diaries of the Rev. John Calkins, great, great grandfather to Lyle. I was interested in them because his son, Jesse helped the Rev. Shorts build Grindstone Island’s church, and the church, of course, figures importantly in Audrey’s  book. Decisions on big things like color or no color for the photographs of Audrey’s Going Home  have been made this week …(color on the cover only) …so now we just need to add a few last details and by Tuesday Audrey can simply sit and wait for Mary Curtis Emerick,  the printer, to get it back to us all finished and ready for the bookstores. Maybe that is why everything seems so peaceful to me tonight. I hope everyone on the island is feeling the same peace for their own reasons.


Erma, especially, must be feeling it.  And Margaret Taylor, and Jane Wagner, and Brenda, and Clara, and all the people who not only helped with the Turkey dinner on Saturday night, but planned it, shopped for it, worried about timing the turkeys, getting the pies cut and the coffee made! It was, as we always say, the best dinner ever.  But, in truth, this year the turkey was especially moist and tasty, the salad was fresh, and there seemed to be no fret in getting it served.  It was a wonderful, homey evening. 


Even the auction seemed especially interesting and homespun.  Erma made jam, Jane made fine loaves of bread, Doreen brought impatiens plants, and a great bread bowl sold for $50. Audrey donated a print of the church which was finally, on Sunday morning, presented to the one who was outbid …as a gift! Someone else got a music stand she’d bid for even though she didn’t get the bid. It was one of those evenings when people seem to enjoy themselves and like each other.  The dishwashers in the kitchen kept an eye out on the proceedings and they, too, enjoyed each other.  Elaine Brooks would carry a heavy load of washed silver herself,  (maybe to store it safely in the clean plastic canisters she had provided without letting anyone know of the gift she’d made.) The kitchen is so much easier to work in than it used to be that Phyllis Schwartz and I almost enjoy the cleanup.  I think much of that credit belongs, not only to the Loder Brookses, but also to Aleatha and Chris Williams.


Doc and Phil Marra and Ken Larson were the auctioneers, and sounded pretty professional.  Ken was the new star. He has a talent we didn’t know he had! Before the service Sunday morning, Doc announced that we broke all of our records with the annual dinner and auction.  The net profit was over $1500. 


This year it is pretty obvious that we have a place for our money.  There was a lot of talk about how we might refurbish the sanctuary.  Here are some more of the suggestions I’ve heard. It’s been a wonderfully relaxed and creative and friendly discussion.  I always enjoy the way plans seem to evolve in this community, and finally come together cohesively from widely differing beginnings:


l.  The walls with their diagonal wood pattern can, conceivably, simply be painted.  There are paints now, which can solve any mold problem we have. Another suggestion is covering them with gypsum (sheet rock). One solution has to solve the odor-mold problem; the other has to solve the problem of walls, which aren’t square. Neither problem is insurmountable. We can ask the builders among us to advise us about this.


2.  Fred Jackson brought some sample of tongue-in-groove pine which, he demonstrated, are the same width as the diagonally patterned wood on the original walls. He also brought some samples of wainscoting.   Looking at samples is always invigorating.  It makes the project seem to be moving ahead from dead center, fun.


3.  A lot of people like the Jesus window lit by daylight.  The colors are more intense and alive.  That window is now guarded by the plain glass of the large window in which it is mounted.  But we still worry about the safety of a window exposed to balls or whatever that fly around the back yard when children play there. We all certainly agree, man, woman and child, that that window has to be lighted as well as the sunlight lights it, and it has to be protected from accidents. So we have only to decide how to do both things.


4.  Someone suggested that we could make diagonal corners at the front which would perform two services, give space for storage or study or what ever we want in the rear of the church, and form a sort of apse at the front of the church.


5.  The communion service worked very well on Sunday.  Each one broke off a piece of good bread (a generous piece, urged Jane, as she introduced us to this way of serving communion) which each one then dipped into the juice. The congregation filed forward, as we always do, to the altar, but stood as we broke the bread and dipped it into the cup.


In the course of the weekend, Jane our minister for this summer endeared herself in several ways to all of us. She attended to the details of the service as few of our ministers have, in order to make the service a real celebration of worship.  She was in the kitchen both cooking and cleaning up, and had a good time doing it with us all. And she asked Norma Frazer to read the lesson and the Psalm…one of our own reading, making the reading, for each one of us, our own reading.


AND she directed the 7:30 Saturday evening rehearsal of the children’s choir which  sang in the service on Sunday morning. They sang “Step by Step”, a song which Robert Smith was promised he would sing at Camp Aldersgate, where he will spend this week.  He left on Sunday afternoon full of anticipation for  his adventure, and we are anxiously awaiting his reporting to us next week how many new songs he learned that we can sing with him. He’ll show us how to dramatize them too!



                         8:00 PM  SATURDAY EVENING, ADULT CHOIR REAHEARSAL

no requirements.  Just come if you like to sing!


There would not have been a dance on Saturday night if it hadn’t been for Urch Balcom. Though Bubby waited for them on the Clayton dock, he finally found out that the band “broke up” and just didn’t come, and rushed back to the island to see what could be done. Urch to the rescue, went home to get her CDs and made a party for the kids. Since they sold $60 worth of food, it must have been pretty successful. Harry has brought someone awfully nice to our island! Next week, the old favorite band, The Copy Cats will be playing. So come one, come all!


The “Blue Bird Meeting” in Dodge Hall on Saturday afternoon went as planned.  John Rogers from Brewerton presented his excellent slide show, and taught the TILT audience some useful practices for luring blue birds back to the islands.  But best of all, on the way home, some of the group stopped at Marjorie Garnsey’s place and discovered that she has several nests of blue birds already! Ken Deedy was delighted. (We have a pair of Baltimore Orioles nesting in our tree.  We are delighted!)


Mary Lou Rusho announced in church that the committee to establish a museum in the schoolhouse is planning a potluck dinner in the schoolhouse on the last Sunday in August. Everyone is invited. It’s been a good week.


A good week made better for some of us because Debby and David Neuroth came to visit Jeanne and Norvin Hein…and several of our Thurso Bay Association dwellers.  Debbie is the daughter of Douglas and Virginia Cook who were the first couple of that Yale group of  professors and wives who settled on Emmet Dodge’s lovely peninsula. Doug was summer minister of the Grindstone Island Methodist Church from 1955 through 1958. They had planned to establish a church camp on the land, but their plans changed and they left us, to go off as missionaries to India.  Debby and David were married in the Grindstone Church and their reception was in our house.  It was also a kind of christening for our new camp. They are now happy in Oklahoma and are building themselves a house in the woods of Oklahoma, woods on a lake that look very Grindstoney! They plan to come again in late August.  David wants to take our windmill to Oklahoma to keep his pond full of fresh water. Debbie wants to take some granite for their new fireplace…a bit of Grindstone following them, warming their hearth and hearts.


Tom Grant, former manager of Kennedy Drugs, now manager of Kinney Drugs, called with another piece of good news for Grindstone Islanders.  Kinney Drugs has leased a slip in French Creek Marina for its customers to use.  The dock is about the same distance from the new store as the village dock was from Kennedy’s. There is a big orange sign next to the ramp, and room for three boats. The new slip will be much more convenient for boaters coming to the only drug store now in town!. Tom asks that we register at the drug store when we use it so he can persuade the Kinney powers that be that he has made a good investment when the accounting is done next year. If we have questions we can call 686-5121.



So it is.

Aminta Marks