From the Editor, April '24

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024

April Fool’s day was quiet, but then two days later Mother Nature began playing her pranks – Rain, Sleet, Snow, and then Sun! Luckily for Islanders, April 8th arrived with sun and light clouds until 2:10 Eastern time, when the sky welcomed a Total Solar Eclipse. Make sure you see our special article and also see the web link below, for a detailed timeline of how the eclipse unfolded for Gananoque.

April 8, 2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Gananoque, ON, Canada

Photo by Dennis McCarthy, April 8, 2024, Cape Vincent, NY.
View of the St. Lawrence River during the 2024 eclipse. April 8, 2024. Video runs 5 times faster than real time; The video starts just before Totality and runs to just after. From about 3:22 Pm to 3:26 PM. Fixed camera with a view of the river only. The sun was partially blocked by clouds. [Video courtesy Dennis McCarthy. See his other video in the article, "Eclipse 2024."

Graham (Skip) Armstrong a Life Dedicated to Helping Others

This month we learned that the River lost a special champion – at least in my personal life. Graham (Skip to all of us) Armstrong (1933-2024) was special. We met Skip early in our Island life and he played a role from then on. He and I served on the Thousand Islands Association (TIA) together in the 1980s, when he assumed the role as Secretary – keeping track of memberships and providing as much volunteer assistance as possible, for as many projects as possible for as long a possible - actually over 40 years. In October 2023, we published "30 Years of Armstrong - Street Friendships" by Robert Street (Bostwick Island), which gave lots of Armstrong family history. I will miss this gentleman and neighbour as will his many River friends. As the saying goes, "They don't make 'em like that no more."

Pike Island Outfitters shared this on 1000 Islands RiverRats Now and Then's Facebook - "It's empty now, but Gananoque's Municipal Marina will be full soon!"

Have a safe summer boating!

When you read Sarah Bodine's Episodes 5 & 6, “Boying” – you will see that the boys and their father had the help of three fish, who realized that if the boat, in the fog and storm, continued on its course – the boat would hit a shoal. So the fish bumped into the side of the boat, causing the father to realize that he was off course.

But in real life, fish are not quite so attentive. However, we are fortunate in the Thousand Islands to have the Thousand Islands Association (TIA) to keep us off the shoals in all weather. Take a quick look at their website:

Did you know that TIA is the sole organization responsible for the spring placement, seasonal maintenance, and fall removal of nearly 200 orange and white ROCK markers between the eastern tip of Howe Island and Brockville? Contrary to what many still believe, this work is done by TIA, NOT Parks Canada or the Canadian Coast Guard!
Beyond this, TIA also provides the funding for an additional 100 rock markers that are placed in American waters each season by Save The River (STR) between Cape Vincent, NY, and Morristown, NY. Established in 1934, TIA is a not-for-profit organization that relies heavily on membership to fund the work we do each summer.

So it's time to join or renew your membership since Roscoe, Bully and Amer are too busy to watch out for you!

A very quiet spring day. Photo by Lucy Bottomley

Marilyn Neulieb Celebrates April and its Gifts:

Our thanks to Cape Vincent poet and member of Writers’ Ink, Marilyn Neulieb, for sending two perfect pieces for April . . .  

Ode to Pollen, by Marilyn Neulieb

Pollen, you stick to my membranes, you cause me to sneeze.
You give me a headache, so please, just once please,
Stick to my windshield as I wipe your dust yellow.
Don’t stick to my schnozzola, it’s bad for a fellow.
It sticks to my throat then slithers to the lungs.
The sneezing is gone, but the lungs are undone.
Go stick to the lamp post, go stick to yourself.
Go stick to my enemies. It’s bad for their health.

Earth Day, April 22 + 8 MINUTES 20 SECONDS

Eight minutes 20 seconds. That’s all, shorter than it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee,
longer than it takes to cross the street. No more, no less.
It moves faster than the speed of sound, but in silence. In a single second it covers more distance than seven times around the equator. What is it that goes 186,000 miles/second? It’s not from Earth. It comes to us from outer space, leaving its home 93 million miles away. It’s the energy from our star, the sun, as it illuminates our rotating planet in less than 10 minutes.
Think about it. As our star burns up, our world warms up and greens up. It’s a gift that’s guaranteed, free of charge and free of pollution---benefits from being tethered to the sun. When you witness a sunrise breaking the horizon, remember the magic created on Earth in only 8 minutes 20 seconds.

Editor's Note: A good reason to observe Earth Day on April 22, 2024. Both the Earth and us mortals deserve it!

Leeds Grenville GeoHub

Want to go exploring? Want specific geographic information for planning your explorations? Then take advantage of the new Leeds Grenville GeoHub website complete with dozens of interactive maps.

The joy of an island sunset. Photo by Lucy Bottomley

Live in Rochester?

We often are notified of upcoming events and we usually stick to the River! But we are pleased to announce a special exhibit in honour of Women’s History Month and Mental Health Awareness Month in May, at Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery. On display through May 5, Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER, 2017 which is designed for visitors to experience the artist’s renowned themes of repetition by stepping into a seemingly infinite field of silver orbs. Kusama has different INFINITY MIRRORED ROOMS worldwide, including in Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston. It’s very special to have her timeless pop-up installation in the area. The next closest city for our readers to see one of her rooms will be in Pittsburgh, PA.

Welcome Back! Photo by Shawn McDonald Blance, March 29, 2024.


Please leave comments or questions about our articles, or send them to me to post (there is a glitch using some web browsers.)

Remember we have a call for River Recipes that can be sent to How about dockside cookies, evening cocktails, Sunday night dinner?  Come on, we need some inspiration for summer 2024!

And do you wish to assist TI Life by donating the price of a cup of coffee or a tank of gas? Support help us with updating software and supports our mailing program. We don't need a lot... but every bit helps. US residents: Support Link and Canadian residents:  Support Link.

By Susan W. Smith, Editor,

And the TI Life Team: Elspeth Naismith is the "Real Editor"; Georgia Barker, Dane Zabriskie, and Rick Taylor are our proofreaders. In addition, Jennifer Caddick handles social media; Dan Mathias posts events; Beth Lavos is posting books; Marie-Anne Erki is our illustrator; and last but not least is Mike Cox, our IT Magician.
Header photo by Ted Mowers - Larken was happy to join in the eclipse event!

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024, From the editor, Events

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