We Are Community for the week of Sept 6th, 2021, by Joyce Steiner


I was sending text photos of the Colchester parade to a friend and they asked “what is the parade for?”.  It occurred to me that this was not going to be an easy question to answer.  As I grew up in this area, we attended both the Labor Day celebrations in Nauvoo and Colchester.  I have both family and antique store ties with both communities.  Just to say the parade is for Labor Day celebration  would not tell my story and to tell the story of both communities would be too long so I will just start with the Argyle and Colchester answer.

My mothers family was from the Argyle neighborhood and my father’s sister owned part of the land which became Argyle Lake State Park.

For many years the Argyle Gas Engine Club sponsored an absolutely wonderful celebration at the park.  There were 150 antique dealers under the pine trees.  There were small and large gas engines and tractors.  There were native crafts like rug weaving, sorghum making, root beer making, chicken pies and much more. There were food venders.  Still remember the steak sandwiches and home made onion rings  with fondness.   Plymouth Rock Antiques had a 20×40 tent set up under the pine trees and practically moved the antique store to the pines each year. We often carpeted the tent to keep down the dust and make it homey.  Did you ever try to take up water logged carpet! There was a cabin on the grounds.  Literally thousands of people came to the lake and enjoyed the weekend and spent thousands if not millions of tourist dollars in McDonough County.  Then some politician decided that the thousands of feet walking on the tree roots of the pine trees were killing the pines at the lake.  Any educated farm child could tell you that the pines at Argyle were  not native and therefore had a limited life span but the flea market was moved from under the pines to the parking lot and the Argyle celebration has been dyeing a slow agonizing death every since.  Since I was always in my tent at Argyle, I do not know exactly what was in Colchester at that time but I think that the citizens of Colchester saw a golden opportunity and took it.  Colchester now has many flea markets, yard sales, a carnival, entertainment, a parade and more over Labor Day weekend.  The Colchester park is filled with dealers, a huge food tent, a pavilion for entertainment, a tent for Colchester alumni to use and more.  Colchester cannot accommodate all the visitors who used to come to Argyle  and the ambience is not so magical but the Labor Day Celebration continues there.  So to make a short answer long, that is why there was a parade in Colchester today.  It celebrates the labor Day weekend which celebrates the “working man”.  We often forget the reason for a holiday and it become just another day off work and a time to have a picnic or go camping.  That is not all bad because any time we take time to be with family and friends is well spent.

As many people return to Colchester for the Labor Day celebration, it is a good time for school and family reunions and my high school class had a reunion on Saturday.  I attended the parade, looked up some fellow antique dealers who used to be at the lake, bought a few things and figured out that I needed to go to Colchester sooner than Sunday afternoon to look for items for the store.

When I got home, I got a call to open my store, which I was happy to do, so I sold some things on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend without having to move the items out of the store to a show.

Today’s Bible reading was from Matthew and had to do with the passage “well done my good and faithful servant”.  The reading continued to ask what we might do to get a “well done” bit of praise which started me thinking.  We can help someone, we can open our store even if we are closed.  We can smile at a stranger who just might need that smile.  We can help a person up and down the church steps to take communion, we can not react when someone cuts us off in traffic, we can stop and enjoy a sunset and share it with others through our smart phones.  There are just so many ways we can do small kindnesses for others and just perhaps we too shall get a “well done.”.

Have a great week. Scatter kindness.

Posted in Plymouth News