Back in the late 1930s, the folks who had lived in West Sterling, along the St Croix River, got together for a reunion picnic at the junction of Trade River and Cowan Creek -- at the Boy Scout camp just up from the bridge.
They enjoyed themselves so much, that now 78 years later, folks from the area still gather to have a summer picnic and talk about the old days. Nowadays it is at the Cushing Community Center in Cushing, WI, This year it is Sunday, June 26th noon potluck.
Having gone to picnics since I was a kid, and helped with them since then, I sort of fall into assuming that I should go each year. And Margo and I do. Mom was the secretary (or maybe treasurer) for many years, and she and dad always got us to help prepare the picnic, back in the days when preparing included mowing the poison ivy, cutting the brush around the campsite, helping the Christenson's setup the wooden benches and gathering firewood to make a wash boiler full of coffee.
Nowadays it is easier, as we have facilities that are ready to go with a little rearrangement. The outdoor picnics were great, and we often had 100 or more folks come. Nowadays we are happy to keep the picnic running, even if the group is smaller. One of those traditions that attempt to add a little glue to a community--a chance to visit with your neighbors and to honor the older folks in our community with an award just for being 80 years old or better and for being married for 50 years or more.
Sometimes it seems that I get too wrapped up in helping put on the picnic (and other events sponsored by our local history societies) so I am more worried that everything goes smoothly than I am able to enjoy the event. Feeling responsible for things is a fault I have, because even if I didn't show up, the picnic would go on fine, people would still enjoy themselves, and the few touches I add would not be missed. When I get old, I am going to try to do better at enjoying things and being more irresponsible. I have a good start, as my responsibility has been declining as my memory of what it is I am supposed to do has faded. I tell people that if you want me to do something on a particular day and time, send me an email the day before or morning of and you have a decent chance of seeing me there.
Want to know what a 1960s Sterling Old Settler's Picnic was like? Read a previous blog entry at this link; 1960 Sterling Picnic
Photos from the 2015 picnic can be seen at: 2015 Picnic photos