Washington column for Aug. 31

Normans know how to throw a reunion

The Norman family came together at the Rappahannock Park last Sunday for their annual family reunion. This reunion has occurred on the last Sunday of August for over 50 years. Initially started by Dan and Bessie Norman, the torch has been passed, but the tradition continues.

Norman Reunion — A family tradition Photo by Tim Dyle

There was food, fun, music and fellowship on this perfect weather day. After they took the infamous “group picture,” Pastor Tim of Thornton’s Gap Regular Baptist Church gave a brief but powerful message and offered blessings for the food. Flossie Wharton and others were big winners in the “Tip A Bead” food appreciation event. Tim Norman and Nicholas Hitt were the new Corn Hole champions. Kenny Giles was the “Hole In One” winner. Team 4 (Oct-Dec) were the big winners for the “Bop It” challenge. The kids got in on the fun by painting bird houses and playing in the park. Finishing the day, happy faces were seen on those who won the door prizes!

Prior Norman reunions were showcased by a picture wall and looping video. They showed decades of family togetherness and love. There was also a family tree adorned by multi-colored fingerprints of those present. The family even created a website to view photos and videos.

Pray for schools

Members of the Rappahannock Clergy Association, after considering ways to encourage the community to keep students and schools in their thoughts and prayers as another school season begins, have come up with a couple of ideas.

In addition to the following short prayer for our schools written to be used in local homes and churches, the RCA will be leading a community prayer service. The informal “Pray for Our Schools” service will take place on Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, from 7:30-8:30 AM in front of St. Peter’s Church, located near the schools along Route 211 as students return to school following the Labor Day holiday. As students in Rappahannock County and across the nation begin a new school year, the RCA hopes this service will remind the community to pray for students and their families — as well as for the teachers, administrators, and other school employees and staff who together have the responsibility for teaching and caring for those students. All who are able are invited and encouraged to join with members of the RCA as they say “A Pray for our Schools,” written by Rev. Russ Savage, Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge, Sperryville:

Gracious and Eternal God,

We lift up our prayers for our schools as another year of school gets under way. Remind us of the importance of learning and the sacredness of teaching. We look to the example of Jesus who taught not only by his words, but by his actions. May all those who teach do so with wisdom and compassion; may all those who learn address their task with energy and with enthusiasm. As the annual cycle of learning begins anew, we invoke your blessings upon all those who teach, and upon all those who have responsibility for the care, nurture, safety and security of students

In like manner, we invoke your blessings upon students, and upon all those who attend our schools. Spirit of Life, grant your holy blessing to teachers and learners alike, both those we know by name and those whose names we do not know. Fill our hearts with gladness at the opportunity to be a part of the process of passing along knowledge from one generation to the next. Help us to know that whatever our role in this process, we play a part in the divine plan for all your children and for this earth. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude for this sacred opportunity.

Mudslide relief

St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Washington will be collecting money over the next four weeks for the victims of a terrible mudslide in Sierra Leone Aug. 1). Hundreds of people died and many more were rendered homeless. The financial help is directed through Catholic Relief Services (CRS) who have people “on the ground” in Sierra Leone. Others of the Rappahannock community who want to join in this outreach can go through St. Peter’s or directly through the CRS website: www.crs.org

Summer clearance

Firehouse Treasures Thrift will hold its Summer 50 Percent Off Clearance on Sept. 2 in conjunction with the Democratic Party’s yard sale. The Thrift will open at 7 a.m. and close at 3 p.m.. All summer clothing, shoes and purses will be half off their already ridiculously low prices. Household goods and jewelry are not included in the sale. Firehouse Treasures Thrift is located at 10 Firehouse Lane in Washington. The normal hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m .to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Call 540-683-6499.

Cooler days . . .

Summer is finally winding down, the farmers getting their last cutting of hay in, displays of colorful chrysanthemums for sale in the garden centers — symbols to me of the return of the chilly season, the approach of Halloween, falling leaves. I am switching gears here to welcome the autumn weather, shorter days and cooler nights.

But just because kids have headed back to school and Christmas layaways will soon be available at Walmart, we don’t have to pack up the patio grill. Labor Day is the perfect time to throw a fantastic season-ending cookout. Invite your friends and family over and have a blast.

Just remember that the local and state highway patrols will be out in force this weekend, making sure the roads are safe for us. Let’s make sure we keep our focus solely on the road while we are traveling to and from family and friends.

Be safe everyone!