There’s something about a small town and its annual celebration of the Old Settlers. (I guess the young settlers didn’t count.) Anyway, often throughout the years we have trekked back to mom’s home town to celebrate Old Settlers Day. The weekend is full of potluck suppers, community BBQ dinners (and I mean noon meal dinners – this is a farm town after all), races of all kinds, country music perpetually blaring, an evening dance, talk and laughter with family and old friends, reunions – family and school, a visit to the museum located in mom’s two-story brick high school, oh, and the Saturday morning parade. In that small town’s parade, there are more participants than spectators; main street is so short that the people parade through, turn around and come back for a second pass; and everybody carries on a running conversation with each passersby, after all, most people in that town are relatives or related to relatives.
Well, we missed going back to my parents’ hometowns in good ol’ western Kansas for Old Settlers Day this year, but my “home town” celebrated this annual tradition this weekend, so we got in on some of the small town fun. Granted, it’s a little different in this fair city of mine, well, quite a lot different actually, but the feeling of celebration and excitement and small town comradery is still there.
We live just a couple blocks from Main Street, so our street is a pretty popular parking spot. People are constantly walking past. We can hear people screaming on the carnival rides and the music playing from the street dance and the announcer from the rodeo. It’s far enough away so as to not be annoying yet close enough to draw us in the fun atmosphere.
We didn’t really participate a whole lot due to work schedules and stuff going on. We did walk down to meet the Hagers at the parade Saturday morning, for who can resist a parade when there are four kids at your disposal to lure the candy throwers to look in your direction? And I held a book signing at the museum located in the old train depot. Honestly, the signing was a bust, but I can say that in the most content way. Mom, Caleb and I hung out, reading about the town, sitting in the depot’s “waiting room” on the original bench that’s been there for probably over a century. (Just imagining what that room has witnessed just fascinates me.) Oh, and my cousin and his wife came by and Christy and Grace brought me a frapuccino (so it was kind of like a family reunion after all!).
After that, Caleb and I walked down to look at the carnival and the craft show and just wander about town for a while. The day couldn’t be described as “productive” in my usual definition of the word. But it was productive in the fact that, as a town, we slowed down to remember our roots and the importance of being a community.