Oh the stories and the generational family traditions that are still part of the richness of the God’s Portion Weekend at Georgetown Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The church community invites the larger Monroe County community and many parts beyond, even out of state, back to celebrate and raise money for the historic church building and needs of St. Patrick’s Parish. There is a Christian song entitled “We Come to Share Our Story.” At this gathering, stories get told of the event, the people, and the history of St. Patrick’s to pass from generation to generation.
Even the preparation for the God’s Portion Weekend reminds people of stories. A “Code Yellow” is still called out (today via text message) to gather the clan to process the sweet corn. Meghan Crall, Clayton Casady and Tiffany DeMoss could tell you about how they were enticed to “fish in the ponds” during corn blanching time. It took a few years for them to realize that they were actually a crucial part of the process…taking the ears of corn from one cold water bath to another. There are numerous funny stories about trips to the fields to pick corn, and several include the great storyteller himself Joe Sinnott who always made that work turn into fun.
Children of the event co-chairmen would be lined up in the old hall basement and assigned to chop and grate cabbage for slaw and didn’t stop until the job was finished. If you need any details, ask someone named Flattery or Lahart.
Years ago, the green bean snapping and processing was itself a story. Pickers sent a driver with buckets of beans throughout the neighborhood to be snapped at various houses. That was called a “bean drop.” Participants were given two hours to accomplish the job, and the driver would return for pick-up. No one ever complained as they dropped everything they had planned to do and snapped beans for canning. There was no age or gender stipulation involved in this job. If you could snap you qualified.
The day of the dinner provides its own stories. You have to laugh frying chicken at 3:30 a.m. to keep yourself awake. Several years back Deb Zaputil and Paige Bradley dressed in fire gear to provide “fire department” protection.
Joe Sinnott and Marilyn Crall Teno were delivering carryout dinners, and there was a small mix-up in someone’s dessert choice. “The customer is always right” Joe told Marilyn. They took off for Hy-Vee and bought an apple pie. Joe sliced it up in the back of his van and delivered a piece back to the happy patron. And they brought five pieces of apple pie back for use at the dinner.
The teens and young adults had their experiences also. The story goes that the priest had to stop the parishioners from doing the “Bunny Hop” in the old hall at the celebration dance because the floor and building were shaking, and he feared the hall was going to collapse.
Every generation was part of the “Talent Show” undertaken for several years at the end of God’s Portion Day. No matter the parishioners had worked all day long at that point. John P. Judge and Kenan Judge remember being astounded at all ages getting up on stage alongside one another all for the “honor and glory of God and his Church.” They claim miracles occurred. Great Aunts turned into beauty queens. The gals turned into chorus girl showlines. Parishioners turned into movie stars and singers. Children became self-confident performers, and Father Mark Swanson, pastor at the time, turned into a country western singer or a member of the Beach Boys. The stories of having fun producing those outrageously funny shows are frequently told.
The stories go on. Molly Crall Mick made the current cake walk boards as a 4-H project one year and proudly tells her daughters that story.
In 2006 Steve Delaney climbed to the peak of the church roof to get “airborne” pictures of the new hall. This was before the time of drones. Then he would yell down from above and greatly surprised many of our visitors.
The stories behind some of the auction items are oftentimes rich. Remember the year we sold the four nun chairs? Remember selling Bernice O’Neill’s jelly...that’s classified information. Remember selling Ray Lahart’s Georgetown ball uniform last year? Remember trying to sell the old outhouse one year? (There wasn’t much market.)
Well, there’s another one ready for this year.
When doing pre-celebration cleaning and sorting, Kathy Carr came up with an interesting rolling cage with dice. At a council meeting, she asked if anybody knew what it was. Joe Mahoney piped right up to tell the story.
One time in the 50’s Father Ryan left town for a trip. At the time the ball lights over the field were needing replaced. So several young people decided to hold a “Vegas Night” to raise money to get new lights. While the boss is away, fill in the blank. It proved successful, and new lights were installed. Upon Father Ryan’s return, his anger was not about the event, but rather that they threw the old lights and boxes down his horse’s riding trail. This spooked the horse and he got knocked off. Yes, the dice cage and dice will be up for auction as a true nostalgia item.
Remember, Remember, Remember and pass the story along generation to generation. There’s a loyalty to Georgetown that is special. If you were raised around Georgetown you treasure lots of great memories. If you have married into the Georgetown family, you had no idea what you were getting into! If you visit each year at God’s Portion Day, welcome, enjoy, have fun, and listen. There’s bound to be a story being told somewhere to the next generation.