Josephine Murray’s gone home. The lives of all the Slates on the north side of the island have returned to their usual ways. Urch and Harry have moved back into the farm house. Erma and Brenda are busy “ laying up ” houses for the winter. Betty and Frank, the island newly weds are back at work, having brought order to the little house where they live, across the road from the church. Tom and Jay are fixing the truck in Brenda’s back yard. And quiet has returned to the island.
We woke up so cold this morning that I cannot imagine that the party at Potter’s Beach lasted long after the Saturday night dance. In any case, John and I, old folks, walked slowly back down the hill from Dodge Hall only a short time after we arrived, knowing Sunday morning would come before we were ready for it. We were already feeling too relaxed to even think of doing the “ cotton-eyed-Joe ” dance the young people out on the Hall floor were doing with such energy. Some of the new dances ( the one we watched, the Macarena, the Chicken) remind me of the forties and the days of the Big Apple. It is interesting to see the single dancers on the floor begin to pattern their steps in unison, sort of lining up on an informal grid, as if someone pressed the “ table key ”. It ’s as if the dances image our modern multitude of individual workers, each one working at an individual computer, singly. Every dancer seems to know what to do. It’s intriguing to imagine what the next style of life, style of dance will be.
The full moon’s light glowing on the dust of the road, made our flashlight unnecessary as we walked home, the silver-bright leaves catching its light seemed as unreal as a photographic negative. Next day, early yellow sun on a silky river washed like a hymn over autumn’s peace.
On Sunday morning, at the last church service, Margaret Taylor’s dusky bouquet of Sumac bowed elegantly over the corner of the kneeling rail. Their reddish mauve matched the kneeling pillows Dick and Mary Petry had made this summer and arranged along the also new kneeling bench Sylvia Anderson Shoultes and Bob Meacham had just finished. Next year we will kneel more comfortably to receive communion at the altar. But all that must wait until winter is past.
The congregation, chilly at the beginning of the service, was warmed by bright sunlight by eleven-thirty as we made our ways, at the end of the last hymn, out the narrow aisle to gather together again in the church yard . After Dick Petry’s sermon asking if this is what it all comes to, after Carol Marsh’s lovely singing of the “Lily of theValley”, after the children had sung “Jesus Loves Me”, after we had made our traditional last-Sunday’s circle around the great poplar tree in front of the church, after we had sung our parting hymn, after the benediction, we made at least one of the wise decisions Dick begged us to make: Most of us walked up the road a bit to the Marra’s shaded yard that circles into the other shaded yards of island family homes at the end of the road, for our year’s end Squatters’ Picnic. There, we sat down at round tables, oblong tables, square tables many tables, to enjoy a long, lazy, potluck lunch together before going our separate ways until next June. With love gifts for the Whitten family, we sent prayers for Liz, wishing the family could be with us at that last get-together.
Pastor Dick was joined by Andy Davison in thanking all the people who have helped this summer in the running of the church, and Dick, , never one to say this is what it all comes to, announced (in the bulletin) that at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 23rd, 2002, the adult choir would rehearse! We hope Dick and Mary will be back with us then. To remind us of the happy summer and the good friends we’ve shared, both Dick Petry and Karen Lashomb brought collections of sharp and clear photos of the many, many good people we’ve had such a fine time with this summer. And they gave them to us! Grindstone is a generous place.
And Grindstone is a place well and lovingly kept. Urch Slate tells me that when the Save the River team went to clean up Potters’ Beach this morning, they found two cans, only two cans! That may have been because Jeff Marra took his boys to the beach earlier last week to do a bit of cleanup themselves. So we are leaving the long length of Potter’s sand and brush in pristine condition (almost) to await our return! We’re sorry to leave. We’ll be happy to come back. So it is. Aminta Marks