When people pitch in it produces a home run

With an unyielding and determined look on his face, Richard C. Finnell, leaned waaaay back while holding his other leg out front at a knee-high kick position when he fired off a fast-spinning baseball that whizzed right by the startled batter’s swing.

Such skill may not be seen at an ordinary picnic and the story of pitcher Finnell’s throw cannot be compared to the professional skills of a Seattle Mariners.

Still, a 1919-year get-together occasion (93 years ago) sounds like a day of fun for sure. Old Time friends and neighbors celebrated that day of community with other early settlers at Des Moines Annual Pioneer Day Picnic held on September 13, 1919.

Officers of the “Old Settler’s of Des Moines Organization” sending invitations were President Finnell, Florence I. Markwell, John C. Elsey and Rollin A. Case.

The picnic and ballgame of “The Pioneer Settlers” may have been near 7th Avenue South and South 225th Street. Nearby was the big white IOOF Hall that houses the Des Moines Historical Museum on the second floor. Now, that location is still popular occupied by tenants B&E Meats, Marine View Florists and Corky Cellars Wine Shop. (Sounds like picnic necessities to me!)

Des Moines history was largely preserved by Melanie Draper’s pictures and writings long-saved as a pioneer family recording her memories in a small book, “Timber, Tides and Tales.” Later, then Des Moines Mayor Richard T. Kennedy, upgraded Melanie’s book and professionally laid out the contents into the first-class book it is today as “One Hundred Years of the “Waterland” Community.”

The city of Des Moines recently turned scarce copies of that book over to the Des Moines Historical Society. Check out summer hours for public viewing of the historical museum. They’ll appreciate your interest.

Promising spring sunshine recently found it’s way back to this beautiful city, so surely summer is quick to follow. Let’s get ready for fun and games too!

Do you remember when the Waterland Festival lasted five days? The Des Moines Chamber of Commerce sponsored the festival until they suddenly closed their doors permanently a few years ago, leaving no organization to take over. We wondered; “Will there be a parade? Who’ll put it together? Will there even be a Waterland Festival??”

Thanks to many great volunteer citizens and city cooperation, the pieces were picked up and we didn’t miss one Waterland Festival. In fact they are improved by focusing on fresh, new ideas and achievements.

From those and other efforts, Destination Des Moines was established with volunteers now leading the way for local events the good-old American way “We can do this spirit.”

So, yes, there will be a 2012 Parade! You can help! Parade volunteers are needed. A volunteer application can be downloaded from the website:www.destinationdesmoineswa.org or call 206-870-7675.

This year’s parade is July 21st, Saturday starting with the Kids Parade at 5:45 p.m. with the Grand Parade following at 6 p.m.

Anna Bjorneby, longtime resident has again volunteered as parade chair, just as this devoted lady has done for many years. Thank you, Anna!

One year Anna wasn’t available so my longtime neighbor friend, Susan Goegebuer, and I put the parade on and, trust me, we discovered pulling a parade together takes lots of skill, patience and devoted work. Susan and I were sooo happy when Anna BJ returned and chaired the parade ever since.

It’s interesting how things get started in a community. Credit for stirring up creativity cooperation of community events was earned by then Des Moines Mayor, Bob Sheckler. It was at an open community meeting he called to form groups asking and answering, “How can Des Moines local events and services even better serve Des Moines community and draw visitors? “What should stay, what should go?”

From that start came the committee that formed Destination Des Moines. It encompasses a winning team of volunteer residents, business owners and local supporters. Together they are coordinating with city officials for some of the best public events ever available here, in my opinion.

Be it a 1919 picnic “celebrating community” or Classic Car and Wooden Boat Show followed by a Grand Parade July 21st, 2012-– it’s the game spirit and how you throw the ball that counts.

When the people pitch-in together for community good fun -– that’s a HOME RUN in any ballpark! Teamwork Works.

Today’s Thought: “You can unlock a person’s whole life if you listen to what words they use most.”

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