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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, July 14 2002


Summertime is picnic time and a season when family and friends can have fun together. Two annual picnics stand out in my childhood memories. The first was held yearly at the Grange Hall in Burnside Township, Clearfield County. It evolved from the family reunion of my great grandparents, the Beck family. It then grew to include the entire rural community, most of whom were related.

Although Dad's work brought Mom and him to Nanty Glo, where most of us were born, we would return every Fourth of July for the picnic. Many of the other children saw us as outsiders. They didn't realize that we were also descendants of the Becks. Some even resented us because my older sisters were faster than any of the boys and they always left with the prizes for winning races. I wasn't as athletic as my sisters, but I usually managed to win a few prizes.

The men would set up crude picnic tables in the grove next to the Grange and everyone shared their food. In the afternoon, some of the farmers would hitch their horses and tractors to hay wagons for a parade. Different groups would dress in costumes and perform skits on the wagons. There were probably never more than a half dozen wagons and the parade was less than a quarter mile, but it was always good for a lot of laughs and cheers. The most memorable year for me was when I rode on one of the wagons and performed in a skit. It was a real thrill to do something that gave so much pleasure to others.

The next annual picnic that gave me many fond memories was the Sunday school picnics of the Nanty Glo Church of the Brethren. They occurred in many different parks, but there was always a lot of good food, fun, and fellowship. We kids quickly learned which ladies brought the best beans, salads, and desserts and made sure we got some before the bowl or pan was empty.

Soon after the meal, all gathered and each age group competed in games and races. My sisters could still beat the boys but I didn't fare as well. The afternoon always saw two pick-up teams competing in softball. It was a major step forward for me when I was finally big enough to play on one of the teams. We always stayed for the evening meal and the vespers service to close out the day. These reverent times spent with very good friends still give me goose bumps when I think of them.

This subject came to me because I attended the Church of the Brethren picnic yesterday. The food was as good as ever and the people were as friendly as usual. However, I was sad. I kept thinking of all the family and friends who gave me the wonderful memories and are now gone. However, upon returning home and thinking more clearly, I realized how fortunate I was to be part of a family that took time to eat and have fun together. And, especially, I am thankful that my parents took me to a church whose members remained true to their faith and also took time to have fun and play hard.

Hymns for the over-50 crowd (series)

3. "Nobody Knows The Trouble I 'Have Seeing'"
4. "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," and help me up

— Sent by Bob Kennedy

Thought for the day

The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.

Walter Bagehot

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