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Best Old Settlers' Day ever

By the time I brought up the end of the line at the Kiwanis food tent in Brooker Central Park on Old Settlers’ Day, all the pie was gone. Six hundred scrumptious wedges of crust and filling – sold. Vanished. Gone.

Every time I’m here for Old Settlers’ Day, a piece of one of those pies is a “must have” item. There’s nothing quite like savoring every sweet bite while enjoying the company of old friends in one of the most beautiful parks around on one of the most weather-perfect days of the year.

Denied by fate of my little slice of sweet nirvana, I might be inclined to feel that for once, this year’s Old Settlers’ Day really wasn’t the best ever. Pie just makes everything better, even Old Settlers’ Day.

If I felt that way, though, I’d be wrong. This one was definitely the best ever.

My daughter Kiersten came to town for the festivities. She’s a young adult these days, living in St. Peters, Mo., and dear old Dad just doesn’t see as much of her as I’d like. My mom, Louise, who I think is still one of the “coolest old ladies in town” was there with her. Having family together makes any Old Settlers’ Day the best ever.

I had a terrific time celebrating my 35-year reunion with 28 other members of the Marion High School class of 1976. We took a moment at dinner to honor four of our classmates who are no longer with us – a small reminder that every Old Settlers’ Day is the best ever if we’re lucky enough to be around for it.

This Old Settlers’ Day celebrated 150 years of life on the banks of Luta/Mud Creek (take your pick – I still prefer the less-elegant name), and was the 100th time this festival has been held.

Over the years, Marion has persevered through floods, droughts, fires, economic depressions, and more. For most of those years, the town has flourished, and at times it has tenaciously endured trials that have caused other communities to wither.

We have sent our sons and daughters to the defense of our nation, and have grieved as one when some did not return. Marion has given Marion County and the state of Kansas many fine leaders, including a governor. Volunteerism has been a hallmark of the community throughout its existence.

Old Settlers’ Day celebrates “we the people,” past and present, who have built a small town legacy of which we should rightly be proud. Commemorating 150 years of life in Marion made this the best ever Old Settlers’ Day beyond any other “best ever” there ever has been. Ever.

Providing that link to our past and giving family and friends the chance to enjoy each other are the essential elements that lead me to predict with confidence that next year’s Old Settlers’ Day will certainly be the new best ever.

Particularly because next time, I intend to be at the front of the line for pie.

- david colburn

Last modified Sept. 29, 2011

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