It was the best possible day Saturday for Old Settlers’ Day — moderate temperatures, not a cloud in the sky, and just enough breeze in the afternoon to keep it comfortable, yet not enough to blow potato chips off your plate.
The class reunion slate was packed this year. Marion High School classes for every five years going back to 1945 were represented, and all but one rode in the parade. I know the class of 1965 had a great reunion, because they graciously asked me to join them for a terrific banquet Saturday night. I haven’t been around for a lot of the Old Settlers’ Days between 1985 and now, but this year had to be one of the best ever for reunions.
Here at the office, we’ve reached consensus that the sloppy Joes in the park were indeed the best ever; we’re wondering what Kiwanians did to the recipe.
It was a banner year for kids in cow costumes in the parade, and dandy ones at that. I counted no less than three, and if they had been real cows instead of kids, I’d have taken one home as a pet.
You’d be hard-pressed to name a time when the high school band looked better. The new threads the band strutted Saturday were much sharper than the new uniforms we got when I was in high school. The band looked sharp, marched sharp, and sounded the best they have in years, both on the street and in the park. USD 408 band director Chris Barlow has done a fine job of molding his charges into a true ensemble, and he’s set the stage for every subsequent Old Settlers’ Day performance to be the best ever.
I’ve never seen one take to being grand marshal as enthusiastically as Jackie Hett. Riding atop that horse, flanked by family, I’ll swear she must’ve tossed personal waves and greetings to half the folks along the parade route. My personal favorite from parades past (those I can remember, anyway) was friend and former librarian Norma Riggs, but Jackie so readily invited people in to share her joy that she gets my two thumbs up for best ever.
Three years into my AARP membership, I’m discovering how Old Settlers’ Days memories can smudge together, and even disappear. I’ve been through a lot of “best ever” Old Settlers’ Days, but I honestly can’t tell you anymore what made each one that way.
Maybe it’s not so important I remember those as it is that I revel in the present “bests,” and when I do, well, guess what? This was the best Old Settlers’ Day ever.
— david colburn