GRINDSTONE ISLAND NEWS - JULY 16, 2000
We picked up Pom and the three girls, and headed immediately out for Grindstone, leaving the big stuff still in their minibus. But we didn’t miss the downpour. By the time we got to Thurso Bay we were all soaked. The three girls hopped into a warm bathtub. John changed his pants and hurried up the hill to the Carriage house to carve the turkeys for the dinner.
When he got there everyone was bustling about getting ready for the first guests who had already arrived. But there was no electricity, no light, no heat, and no water. Neither was there any panic or worry that the meal couldn’t go on. Candles were lit. Stub and Phyllis Schwartz were handling the turkeys. Stub was carving a turkey with the blade of an electric knife as if he always used just a naked blade. The meal was out on the tables and a long line had already formed for the first serving. The turkeys had been put in ovens early in the day, so they were done. The potatoes were done too, to the surprise of the cooks, the butter melted, the vegetables waiting, warm in their pans, and everything seemed normal. Outside, the big yellow Public Service ladder-truck would soon arrive, and shortly after dinner, it was parked beside the telephone pole and men were working happily, rain or no rain. At last they were merely waiting in the truck for a transmitter to be sent from the mainland.
Inside the party seemed even more friendly than usual. Doesn’t a Grindstone Islander always have some inconvenience to reckon with? And don’t they always come through with some solution? It was as if everyone were delighted to have a chance to remember how well they handle life far from the mainland. The talk was animated, laughter was real laughter, the friendship was real friendship. And everyone was well fed.
Then the auction began. It had been moved into the church sanctuary from the yard. Light was very, very dim from the flashlight Jeff Marra held while he described what he had for sale. But no matter. Everyone bid on the pigs- in- the- pokes. When the Windsor chair came up, no one could see if it was an antique or a copy. Dick bought it in faith. A fine badminton set was bought by one child, and Robert bought a bear he then gave to Eliza who went down the hill cuddling her new friend, named on the way home, Robert, for “the really kind boy who gave him” to her. And even without power, the church made $1200 from the evening’s fun.
After the auction people stood around talking until the transmitter arrived, and the dance could begin. At first Debbie and Steve Donaldson thought they couldn’t hook up their equipment for disc-jockeying. But the Niagara Mohawk men assured them that it wouldn’t be long before the lights came on. And sure enough it wasn’t. By this time families had gathered together. Parents were dancing with their children, and before the evening was over the pleasant group even danced the first quadrille of the year. Next week there will be a Bluegrass troop providing the music. Debbie and Steve will be back in August, and I’m sure there will be another limbo contest then. But come next week for some good live country music.
I heard people coming home from the dance long after we had tucked everyone in our house down for the night. But this morning the church was full again. Again we scrunched together and everyone was seated. It is wonderful to hear the hymn singing when the sanctuary is crowded. We always spend a good bit of time thanking people, but today there seemed to be no end of gratitude for good earthy help. Margaret Taylor and Erma were thanked for being the backbone of the crew who prepared the meal, with little ado. It was a delicious meal. I kept thinking it’s the best I’ve ever had, as I think every year. The turkey was moist, the vegetables were not overcooked, the little new potatoes were in season this time of year, and tender; the pies were delicious, especially the berry ones.
Janice McPhail thanked Bubby and Bruce and their work-crew who helped rescue the little boat that sank at their dock. She hadn’t ever experienced such help simply arriving just as it was needed, seemingly out of the blue. But everyone around her assured her it always does on Grindstone. And it does actually always seem that way. For one thing islanders keep their ears tuned to everybody else’s need. It’s like a family (with the family squabbles too). Janice also said she is sorry she can’t be here when the Aunt Jane’s Bay service will be held. But she extended once more a welcome to all of us to her lawn overlooking the Clayton hills.
Debbie Smith thanked August Frazier and Chris Carlisle for providing her with water when her pump went off in the power shortage. I thanked the “young people” of the church for cleaning up the carriage house after the lights came on. They sent me home saying they would take over. Then, this morning people kept saying it wasn’t the young people who helped. When I heard the list of those who did, I realized that who you see as young depends on your point of view! But this is pretty much the list: Ellie and Jim Adamson and their children, Elaine Brooks, Mary Petry, Karen and Stub Lashomb, Erma (who must have been really tired), Kitty (who had sent me home), Betty, Urch, Bruce and Carol Faust. It was a pretty good team, and Karen mopped herself out the door, leaving a carriage house ready for coffee on Sunday.
It is hard to stop talking about the Saturday night party. But the worship service happened. Joan Flint played her flute, the children’s choir, trained in Sunday School, sang “This Little Light of Mine”, and the adult choir sang twice before we celebrated communion. Not until the end of the service, though, did we greet each other with the hugging and kissing we usually begin with! However, then we lingered a long time, drinking coffee in the carriage house, and, of course, talking.
There were many, many Calhouns in church and about the island this week. Erma went down at least once that I know of to visit with her mother’s family. They all gathered for a big, leisurely family reunion; several of them had never come to Grindstone before. We all were delighted whenever we met a new or remembered Calhouns on the roads, at the beach, in the church, or at the crossroads.
We talked as if we hadn’t had a huge party on Tuesday night. Yes, we did celebrate Annie Couch’s 90th birthday! Margaret Taylor had the good sense to gather us together to give Annie one gift that she knew Annie wanted. (And she didn’t want much else to find room for!) Margaret took over a wonderful Rocking Barco Lounge chair that matches the tapestry Audrey Lashomb gave her. So we hope Annie is rocking happily this very moment. Maybe she has a bouquet of black-eyed susans from the Taylors’ meadow right beside her too. The party was wonderful with good food past imagining, and people from all points and bays of the island, and from the hidden inland lake as well. Dick Petry read a rhymed history he had written about Annie’s life, which everyone would probably like to hear again:
POEM NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME…Editor
Rex says “Hi, Muffin”. And here is a quotation I was asked to pass on. It is attributed to Marjorie. Dower, and I give it to you even though the bounty of the turkey supper, maybe, belies it on Grindstone. “The meek inherit the earth, but they don’t get fed.”
Here are some notes:
Kitty Paxton invites everyone in church, or not, to come to a party on July 29th to celebrate Michael Paxton’s graduation from his first stint in the navy. He will be home, then, and ready to celebrate with us all. Save the date.
There will be a potluck picnic lunch at the island schoolhouse immediately after church (12:00 or 12:30 o’clock) on Sunday, July 23. Transportation will be available from the Antique Boat Museum at 9:30 a.m. for those who would like to attend church, and, again, at 12:00 o’clock noon. Boats will be met by island transportation. A boat will be ready to take people back to the museum at 3:00 p.m. To reserve space on a boat, please call 686-4093 leaving your name, the number in your party, the boat you wish to come over on, and the telephone number at which you can be reached. Call Erma about what to take, 686-5237.
Old Homes Day will be held Sunday, July 30th. David Sheppard will sing at the morning worship service, and Debbie Donaldson will dance. Then the potluck picnic will begin about noon. Call Erma Slate at 686-5237, or Karen Lashomb 686-2979 to see what is needed for the menu to be perfect!
Again, Carolyn Larson will train the Children’s choir in Sunday school.
Adult choir rehearsal Sunday morning at 10:00 am.
We are sorry to hear that Charles Taylor, Chester’s brother is in the hospital in New Jersey.
And we will be glad when Steven Matthews, Stub’s son arrives back on the island after retiring from the navy this week.
We are all hoping someone didn’t forget to give Sis Matthews a ride to church this morning. But that would be better than hearing that she didn’t feel well enough to come. We miss you, Sis, when you are not in your pew. The service doesn’t seem natural.
Leon Rusho was there, by the wall on the north side, with Alice and her family.
So It Is.