It’s been a week of beautiful weather, red sunsets, and friendly parties. And for us, as for many of the Grindstone families, it is the beginning of the season when the children and grandchildren begin to gather at the river.  On Wednesday, three of our grandchildren, Pom’s and Belle’s  seven- year- old  Phoebe and five- year- old twins, Anna and Eliza, arrived to spend  a few weeks at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s while  Pom and Belle went off to Nashville partly for pleasure and partly for some study of family economics. Belle goes back to work on Monday managing the public health office in Allentown, Pa., but Pom, an English teacher at Moravian Academy, in Bethlehem, Pa, will come to the river  to spend a week with the children and us before Belle can join him on August 7th. Chris Hein also arrives from California on Monday with his three children to spend time with his parents, Norvin and Jeanne, while Uma, Chris’s wife, a pediatrician, visits her family.  The men who were boys together here on the Thurso Bay Association point should have a good time turning their children into river rats. A Swiss friend who spent a week or so with us when Chris and Pom were boys about the same age, is arriving on Wednesday from Montreal,  with his wife, their new baby, and Reudi’s parents, to spend a few days.  Chris and Pom will probably show him a few trade secrets about changing diapers or backpacking a sleeping child. All over the island, life has been equally busy, equally hectic, equally heartwarming, equally just what we planned for this summer place to be, a family home. This week, Lisa and Susan Coughlin, Joan and Freddie Rueckert’s grandchildren, have come down from Midriver to swim with our little kids who are a bit too much like young goats for this one old lady to catch more than once or twice as they leap, laughing, off the rock,-- not completely proficient at swimming back to it!


Church was full on Sunday morning even though this was Old Homes Day on Grindstone, and many of the islanders were busy preparing the noon meal at Potter’s Point, (Brenda peeling a great bowl of ripe, sliced peaches that were at their peak of juiciness !). The Davisons filled two pews, and all the way back clans patch worked the sanctuary. The childrens’s choir sang “Kum Ba Yah” and John Marks, Jane Wagner and Debby Smith started the congregation singing “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a round. The full singing of this summer-only congregation is wonderful to hear and to be in the midst of its sound of music is like being in no other church, at least churches I know. And where else do you find a basket of fresh beans awaiting you as you shake the minister’s hand and go on your way? Those on Sunday were from Lolita’s garden. Gifts of God for the people of God.


Debby Donaldson helped Minister Jane deliver the sermon by dancing an essay on the praying of the Lord’s prayer. Her brother, Jeff Marra, was the voice of God hearing the prayer, and commenting on it…cogently! Debby’s dancing is another of those gifts for the people of God.  Immediately after the service, Jane left to join her daughter, Joy, for a week at Camp Aldersgate where Jane will teach the adult campers how to strengthen the music programs in their churches. Jane’s gift in music is another of the gifts given us this year.


Though the children this  morning told Jane they don’t have any worries,  the adults weren’t part of that conversation! The adults did laugh.


But they sobered as we offered prayers for the families who lost loved ones in the shooting at the capital building on Friday.  How many moods we pass through in one short hour. We were, at the next moment,  thankful to have good news from two of the  Grindstone friends we have been worrying about. Marie Moore has made such good progress in her medical treatment that  her doctor  said she can come to her college class reunion, and she is going to do it.  From there, if everything goes well, she will come to Grindstone. Helen Parker went through her surgery on Monday very well, and is getting back on her feet.  How delighted we will be  to have both of them back on the island.


We enjoyed flowers this morning from the funeral of John Meeks who was 93 years old.  Back in the “old days” he was “quite a baseball player” here on the island, Donnie and Doreen knew he would like  to have his flowers in church, would like  to have them bless those he left behind.  The bouquet in church was the gift of the Grindstone Island Flower Fund, and when church was over, Doreen and Donnie divided them into three small bouquets for Sis Matthews, Annie Couch, and Katie Black who used to live on Grindstone, down by the old Carnegie farm.


Jacie Donaldson sent a thank you for all the cards and gifts and good wishes sent  to her to celebrate her graduation in June from Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School in Kingston, Ontario. Jacie is waiting on so many tables  this summer that we barely get a chance to see her. Maybe in late August her life will be more leisurely.


Don’t forget to choose the hymn or other music you want included in the August 23rd music service.  There is a ballot box at the back of the church for you to use to register your wishes. After that service there is a pot luck lunch in the old- schoolhouse- become- a- museum.


Two of the young people active both at the hall and the church asked me to make suggestions in this column that I second heartily:


Urch Balcom asked everyone who comes to the dance to take the responsibility for keeping the grounds clean, putting trash, bottles and cans in the barrels provided near the dancehall door. It is too bad to have the church lawn littered on Sunday morning. Dodge Hall and the Methodist Church are one entity, so all of us have to be aware of the needs of both.  We are important to each other. Guests who come from the mainland, will, we hope, share the task of keeping Grindstone a pleasant place to be.


Debbie Donaldson   urges  people to write down their suggestions for the renovations of the church and give them to one of the members of the committee: Manley Rusho, Elaine Brooks, Erma Slate, Fred Jackson, Phil Marra, or Ken Larson.  A written message from each of us  will insure that what each of us thinks is considered. It will give the committee some clearly and firmly stated concepts  to work from, and to coordinate. I know Norvin Hein has written a letter and we should all follow his lead.  Some members of the committee might also like to call their neighbors together over coffee to talk about it, appointing a secretary to record their thoughts. Organist John hopes Frank Aquadro will put his thoughts in writing because  John thought, when he overheard one spontaneous discussion in the church, that Frank’s ideas were realistic. The time before we have to make our decision  is getting short.  The committee has to first present  the ideas they have gathered to the church board, and the church board then has to present several clear options to the whole church community.   Vague plans at the end of the summer won’t do. Nobody would be happy with that. We should get our letters to one of the committee members within this week or next, for sure. Summer is fleeing by.


Next Sunday is the annual Aunt Jane’s Bay outdoor service.  If you need a ride, be at the church at 10:00 AM   We will celebrate communion and a baptism on the shore of the Brooks property,  on the Cross-Island Road


Here I must correct a mistake I made two weeks ago.  It is Bruce Brooks who washed so many dishes after the turkey dinner, and helped get the building in order long before dinner.  He and Elaine try to make the church as inviting as their home on Aunt Janes’s Bay is. They do little things like getting containers for the silver we use for the turkey dinners, clean up the tables afterwards, and work most of the day getting dinners ready- very quietly!  We do appreciate all they do.


I am so far from the south side of the island that I make mistakes in names. I take the chance of writing what news I can gather now that Mrs. Shirley is dead, because I think this column should cover the whole island.  But it is almost impossible to have it proofread by someone from over there.  The generous deadline is Monday morning at the T. I. Sun, and I gather most of the news on Sunday morning and afternoon. I like to have errors called to my attention, however.  I certainly hope the errors do not make anyone feel hurt, as I’ve been told they have in a couple of instances. Please, write or telephone me (686-5038) to make corrections or to tell me news!  As Debby said about making suggestions to the committee, if  you don’t want to sign what you write, that’s all right, but write!  Call!  Someone could even make me a map of dwellings on the south side with the names of each of the inhabitants.  I know a lot of you, but I tangle a lot of you, too. I think Doc doesn’t like to give out his church list  in this era of so much concern with privacy.  And he is probably wise.


The dance on Saturday night was as well attended as church was, even if the islanders did have to rise up early to get the beach party under way. Debbie Smith thought more people danced this week than last. Ada Bazinet won the 50-50. The mystery DJ didn’t know any square dance music, so there weren’t any quadrilles.  But everyone had a good time dancing to the good music he brought with him. Next week the Rayjohn Band will be at the Hall.  Doreen says, “They’re good.”  So we’ll see you there; we’ll see you then!


I haven’t even mentioned the two celebrations of anniversaries that happened this week.   On Tuesday, Norma Frazier got a whole lot of people together at the Carriage House to celebrate John’s and my 47th anniversary.  It was a wonderful party- two cakes and all, with everyone seated around a great table formed from the smaller ones pushed together, beautified with red-checked table cloths, a huge bouquet, streamers, cards- AND such nice people and such nice wishes.


Then on Saturday night, before choir practice, Phil and Yuvon Marra celebrated Their anniversary out on their lawn, with , again, a whole lot of people, a whole lot of good food, cake, coffee, and, again- such nice people, such nice weather, so many good wishes.


OLD HOMES DAY. It was a great day.  Brenda’s peaches weren’t the only perfect act. The ham and the casseroles and the salads, and the pies and cakes and puddings, and the coffee-and best of all the friends gathered around the tables on Potter’s Beach. The traditional softball game was played, there was a three armed race, a potato sack race, a game with water balloons—and a raffle of great prizes given by Clayton merchants, museums, a people of good will. Some of the best gifts were made by Katie Clark who has been knitting and creating little gifts for craft shows for many years.  Although she is now in a nursing home, her creations are still among us.  I know two children who were delighted to win two of them, a funny-face ball and a tiny picture frame. The Clayton museum wanted to call attention to the exhibit they have mounted of photographs of the ice storm.  One great prize, a telescope, was won by Megin Parker! The whole picnic sparkled as brightly  as the day,  as all the wet, giggling kids  sparkled in the river.  Boats and boats and boats were anchored a bit out, and the waves rolled sparkling in. 


Katie Black, (don’t mix up the Katies!) who moved off the island in the 50’s (to Lafargeville) was made Queen of the Day. Congratulations, Katie.  We hope your reign was grand! Old Homes Day was.


So it is!

Aminta Marks