Memorial Day

My big brother in Florida reminded me that Memorial Day was important  in the life of our childhood church, Marion Mennonite Church, Franklin County,  Pennsylvania. May 30 was an annual all-day Sunday School Meeting. Sunday School  was new to the church, so gifted speakers were brought from churches outside the  county to support it. They taught and preached in the forenoon, afternoon and  evening sessions. This day marked our church as progressive.

Many families brought picnic lunches to eat at noon in sanctified  tail gate fashion. At supper time we went home to care for our  animals. I recall that we went to the strawberry patch to find the first ripe berries.  Then we returned to the church for another session. 

I don’t know about my brother, but I was expected to attend every  session. The church was crowded with standing room attendance only. Other boys  could stay outside and hang around the cars, and talk about girls, but not me. This preacher’s son was  expected on the inside.

Cary Kelsey, his wife Elizabeth, and  Lois, Rhoda;s younger sisters

Cary Kelsey, his wife Elizabeth, and Lois, Rhoda;s younger sisters

In 2013 our Indiana family has a tradition of its own. On Memorial  Day we annually gather at the Ox Bow County Park to celebrate the arrival of  Conrad’s children, Diana and Zack, from Florida for the summer.   But  this year a cool Indiana rain interfered with the tradition.  Although we  had reserved a park pavilion for shelter we chickened-out and went indoors to  Eldon and Rachel’s house.

Cary Kelsy and Rachel looking at the ipad.

Roy Hartzler and Rachel looking at the ipad.

The invitation to the picnic is open to all relatives and their  friends. Eldon activited his grill, so at 1:00 p.m. we were served hamburgers  and hot dogs, potato salad, chips, rhubarb crunch, shoo-fly pie, and other  delicacies.   My “Joy” and her daughter from South Bend were first  time guests to the delight of everyone. My “Joy” brought deviled eggs and a  green salad to add to the meal.

We circled the kitchen filling trays with food and then we scattered  over the house to eat. The children went upstairs to play games with their toys, and we  adults filled the parlor to talk and to display our own toys called ipads,  iphones and tablets. We all agreed that it was the best picnic yet.  Nary a  mosquito to annoy. 


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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1 Response to Memorial Day

  1. Wilmer says:


    I mentioned the May 30 meeting at Marion to Mary Louise just today and how I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I was one of the boys who needed to stay in the hot church with the windows open and hear the muted noise from those lucky boys outside. I needed to sit and sweat it out. It didn’t hurt me long term but it sure didn’t make me happy then.

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