Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It is common knowledge that family reunions, high school reunions, company reunions and in Nederland’s case, old timer reunions revolve around food.
Somewhere just before breakfast ends, the last cup of coffee drained, the last sausage chewed and swallowed, the last pancake melted in one’s mouth, the organizers of the group start talking about what’s for lunch.
This was the case on Saturday, the annual event when people still alive and kicking, gather in Nederland to relive the good old days when they grew up on the streets and in the neighborhoods of a mining town. These old timers come from near and far.
On Saturday, they attended the Nederland Area Seniors’ breakfast which started as a kickoff event for the weekend long Old Timers’ Days, which included a parade and a story telling time. Now the breakfast is one of the biggest fundraisers for the seniors as they welcome the community with their flapjacks and sausage and now yoghurt, granola and bananas.
The old timers barely had time to digest their hefty breakfast when it was time to mosey on over to Chipeta Park where a potluck lunch awaited them. The menu included traditional items such as Jeanette Smith’s rhubarb/strawberry pie and Ressa Smith’s elk barbecue.
Each year some of the regular attendees don’t show up, which leads to speculation about their health and welfare. Ressa Smith commented that she would like to see some of the younger generations, who have become the middle aged generations, come to reunite with their high school classmates of the 80’s and 90’s, the new old timers.
Perhaps one of the oldest families still around, the Wise family siblings, five of the six, showed up and spent their time together remembering when they thought of all kinds of ways to entertain themselves, some of which they didn’t want to expound on. Barbara, Dixie, LaNita, Bonnie and Gordon lived in town and attended Nederland schools in the 50’s before they went their separate ways.
They come back to Nederland once a year to catch up on the news and eat with their long ago friends and neighbors and spend time with the grandchildren.
Although the day was cloudy, damp and spitting on and off, the old timers were warm and dry in the Chipeta Park pavilion, another year done and gone.
(Originally published in the August 3, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)