All through the week before last, people would approach and ask if I was worried about ‘jinxing” the fall festival by promising “the most beautiful weather of the year.” All through the week, I laughed and dismissed their concerns. All through the week, I watched the forecast with growing anxiety as the predicted days of rain extended closer to our celebration, and the predicted return of sunshine slipped further away, and even past the weekend entirely.
Gray all morning, Sunday transformed into the beautiful fall day we hoped for by the time the festival was underway. Sure it was a bit humid; sure, some folks were a bit overdressed for the warmth, since they had “committed” to their wardrobe first thing in the morning. But that was no real disaster, or even hardship. It was great!
Please join me in thanking Lauren Draley and Kristien Carroll for all the work they put in to organizing this annual event. Everything seems to be picturesque and exactly what you’d expect, and that doesn’t just “happen” of its own accord; no, it takes a lot of coordination and planning, and some downright grunt-work, especially on the festival day itself. They had a dedicated team of helpers, and the Knights of Columbus, Boy Scout Troop 440, and the Holy Name guys brought their organizational forces to bear.
Among local and parishioner-owned businesses, we had a lot of help in the form of “sponsorships” gathered by our zealous team, too. This (parish) family festa is not a fund-raiser, but we try to do a bit better than break even. Lots of folks donated their time and effort (goodies!) to help toward cost of the event so that the ones enjoying it wouldn’t have to pay so much for fun. That’s one of the things that makes it such a great time for our neighbors to come up and enjoy our hospitality, without feeling like it’s a shake-down.
It looked to me like a lot of people had fun. I met some folks from the neighborhood who looked happy to be there, and saw families who had just started coming to the parish enjoying themselves. It was a good day.
Fall means more than just the festival, of course. One thing it makes me think of is trees. We have such beautiful trees on our parish grounds, especially when they turn color before letting go of their glory. So in addition to the ongoing maintenance work on our church roof, school heating and cooling, and other systems that require attention, I am looking at fortifying our tree count.
Sure, we have lots of good trees, but they don’t last forever. We lost a few, notably to that windstorm in late June. And our dogwoods are getting just too elderly to go on. The new ones we put in five and seven years ago are only now getting to be “tree-sized.” So I am hoping to put in some new trees about the grounds over the coming months. In five, ten, and fifty years, someone will be glad we did it.
The Fall Festival helps us to enjoy this fall, and this day. Planting new trees looks to a more distant joy. Both help us keep our eyes fixed on Him who offers us the future joy that neither fails nor fades, the day of delight that lasts forever. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!