We woke to a grizzly day.  The sun would not poke through the cloud cover, and then just about when everyone wanted to go to church or get across the river for graduation at the Thousand Islands High School, rain began to fall in earnest.  But this morning was the beginning of summer on Grindstone Island. And this was the day we congratulate the Grindstone Islanders who are graduating. So, amazingly, people were coming from every direction, crossing the four corners to the church as I was walking up the hill, raincoat zipped tight. Chris Carlisle pulled out in his car and headed up the road just ahead of me.

And when I got to the top of the hill there we all were together again, hugging and kissing and laughing and exchanging the good and bad news of the winter. The rain didn’t matter at all.  Dick Petry said he and Mary, having just arrived on Friday from Florida, were delighted with the rain…and the cool weather.  Leon said we needed the rain.  And we all rejoiced that we could get into our docks with no trouble, though the water piling up for an hour so did raise our boats a little higher than we had expected!


After Doc had welcomed Richard and Mary Petry back to the Grindstone parsonage and church, after he had told us a bit about the summer, we took a long time exchanging the peace this morning, and another long time with more announcements.  The first church supper will be July 15th and the Aunt Jane’s Bay Service will be the very next day, July 16th.  David Shepard will sing on Old Homes Day.


Katie Carlisle and Kayla Williams gave us hopes this week for a children’s choir. Pastor Petry announced that they could practice Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm. John Marks will be there at the organ at 7:00pm this Saturday hoping for a fine gathering of little folk. The adult choir will rehearse at 10:00 am Sunday mornings when that choir gets itself organized.


Mary Petry had a story about her lost cat that made a very good children’s sermon.  After three hours of scouring the bushes for “cat”, Mary thought, “Well what would I do if I were lonesome and kind of tired and hungry?”  I’d go find someone I love.  So Mary stopped worrying, and Cat came to find someone he loved. Grindstone is a very sensible place, and it knows about love.


Debby Marra came in pretty late to the service.  She had come from Gan.  When she first started out, it was too foggy. She turned around and went back next time she went out to her boat, it wouldn’t start. She went back into her house.  Next time she tried, the boat started right off.  And then she got to the middle of the river into the midst of the big wind that came up suddenly with the rain. So, intermittently, she prayed, “Dogs stay down…Please God let me get across that river…Dogs…. and they did and she did. And the congregation, it sang its heart out every time they had a chance.


Doc announced that there would be a Church Council meeting right after church. Andy Davison, the chairperson, announced, that the meeting would begin after the board members had had a little time to greet friends over snacks and coffeee in the carriage house. As Erma and her fellow council workers disappeared from the carriage house, we knew the meeting had begun.


The Thousand Islands High School graduated two students from our Grindstone family this afternoon, Sunday, June 25th :  Renae Lashomb and Brook Bazinet. Both were class officers. Renae carried in the flag, as class president, received honors, and a scholarship for college.  Grindstone people went in a “round robin” first to one party at one of their homes and then to the party at the other’s home., very proud of each of  them.


Greg Lago prepared a wonderful gift for one of the graduates, an artist’s proof of “Bullheading” on the river, inscribed to the Grindstone child, dated, and matted for her to take off to college next year.   


Last Sunday, Urch and Harry Slate had planned a Father’s Day party for Urch’s father, but when the weather had been so bad, her father decided he didn’t want to cross the river. So the party turned into a party for islanders. Out on the back porch the grill kept all the men warm as they roasted duck breasts and corn, while in the dining room the conversation kept everyone warm. Not until late afternoon did we wend our way back to our cold houses warm with the good food, the good stories, and helpful information about island wild life, for instance, how to discourage the armada of Canadian geese who have been visiting my swimming rock.


Its nice to be back in the midst of wild life, watching the doe that comes to our yard in the evening, walking with Mary Bazinet who sees each deer track on the road, dances after each butterfly, delights in the buttercups and daisies along the road to the mailbox. It’s nice to sit at the table looking at the Indian shards we have found down at the shore with Mary’s brother Bobbie.


The Task Force of Dodge Hall Community Center wants you to write to them at 11512 North Shore Road, Grindstone Island, Clayton, NY 13624 if you would like to be on their mailing list.  They are trying to develop a membership list as they work this summer with the Grindstone church to find a way that the dance hall and the church can mutually sustain each other.  There was a small meeting on the 19th  of June in Dodge Hall for the task force to lay out the plans they have for organizing a tax free organization  to promote recreation, education, and  arts at the Hall, the secular life on the island. Jeff Marra led the meeting, Betty Paxton was clerk, and it did our old hearts good to see the young people taking responsibility for defining their use of the building. They have done a lot of careful planning, and are very sensitively putting their plans into action.  So, if you have any interest in joining their project do write and get on their mailing list.  Give them your name, your address, your telephone number, and your connection to the island, e.g. . landowner, island ancestry, friend of the Hall.


Marjorie Dower was in church yesterday, and how glad we were to see her.  The June 7th, 2000 issue of the T.I. Sun carried her husband John’s obituary.


Emy Sorth’s brother- in- law is fighting to get his heart by-passes working comfortably.  He has been in the hospital this week, and Emmie hopes, will be  home Monday.


Rex Ennis reported that Janet was to go to the hospital on Monday “for tests”. And Sis Matthews has to have another of those “little spots” taken off her face this week.


We wish them all well, and we’ll be thinking of them this week.


Last winter, Paul MacLean sent me a poem by a North Country poet that he thought would cheer the hearts of islanders in the dead of winter.  This morning I realized it might cheer the hearts of islanders in June:


                    by Graham Wright


            Who can tell the color

                        of the wind?

            Perhaps those whistlers

                        flaring into space

                        off toward Grindstone…

                        a loose string

                        of small white pearls…

            Disappearing specks

                        in the cobalt sky

                        of winter.


            Those whistlers

                        with their singing wings

                        and golden eyes.


            The sky will break,

                        the night birds vanish

                        when the whistlers return.

            We will ask them

                        the color of the wind.


            They will know.


One of our treasures here at the river is a woodcarving of a whistler done by Frank Slate.  It sits pleasantly with us in the middle of our dining table. It hasn’t whispered the color of the wind, though. I asked Frank for a nice, puffy, friendly little bird, and he carved a whistler.


So it is.

Aminta Marks