It was a great joy to be the Grand Marshal of the parade this year. Thank you for that humble honor. I want to say a special word of thanks to the "Wonder Twins" at the Smokehaus for floating the idea a few months ago and to whoever was involved in the selection. The parade was a lot of fun and it is always good to have the festival in town.
In the nine years I have been pastor of IHM I have come to know and love so many of you. Our little town may not be perfect, but it is a real blessing to know your neighbors. People that know you are there to help, and people who share your joys and sorrows are irreplaceable gifts. So often I have enjoyed hearing stories of our community while listening to others at the Smokehaus in the morning, or later at Liz's, the VFW or one of the other gathering spots in town. New Melle has been like a homecoming for me, and a return to my childhood years in Elsberry. While I love the years I have spent in the city, nothing compares to country life.
During Advent & Lent, as well as any time of the year, my door is always open for a visit. If you see me walking around town, up and down the hill at the parish, or bump into me at a local business, please know that I am happy to chat with you. On Wednesdays, I have opened my garage for visits in the afternoon with the neighbors. All are welcome to stop by and we would love to meet some new friendly faces from the community. Chances are, you will know someone there, so stop by for a beverage, which I have in adequate supply most of the time, or bring your own. Many thanks, and I look forward to seeing you around town.
P.S. I will leave you with a quote I came across a while ago: Small towns make up for their lack of people by having everyone be more interesting. - Doris "Granny D" Haddock