My Hometown

My Hometown

The Church's Fall Festival

My tires bounce over the gravel overflow parking lot at the back of the large mega-church that my family attends; the lot has been reserved for volunteers today because the majority of the main parking is roped off for the church’s annual fall festival.

Kids, by the dozens, run up and down the aisles and wait in line for their chance to get inside any one of the numerous bouncy houses that the church has provided for this day of fun.

After checking in and receiving my assignment, garbage duty, I walk through the makeshift pumpkin patch, and up and down the aisles of food, games, and fun – every so often glancing in the garbage cans to make sure the bags weren’t full and in need of a change.

As everything, and everyone, is moving so fast around me, I can’t help but think back to my small town church and the fall gathering that we used to have when I was a kid.

It always happened on a Saturday in October and it was definitely the place to be; never mind the fact that it meant you would be in church two days in a row.

During the day, it was all about the kids; Potato sack races, carrying eggs on spoons and trying not to drop them – the whole nine-yards!

The parents all cheered us on as if we were in the Olympics.

Once the sun went down, it was time for the chili cook-off and bingo (aka the highlights of the day).

The dad’s always stood proudly alongside of their chili when the voting took place, but the winner was always inevitably one of the mom’s.

Bingo had its prizes if you won, but mom would always make you grab the one that she had her eye on; I can’t tell you how many handmade pot holders we had around our house.

As I see this festival today and watch the kids hang out with their friends while their parents sample food and talk with the other adults, it dawns on me why our little backwoods celebration was so important.

It wasn't about scattering away, it was all about spending time with family (mom, dad, and church) and experiencing each simple moment together; moments that would become our cherished family memories.

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