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With a song in our hearts (09/27/2009)
By Janet Lewis Burns
What else but people can make such beautiful music together?

For the past 31 years, spring has been ushered in, on the first Sunday of April, in the country town of Lewiston, with the Fools Five, 8-kilometer road race. Past acquaintances and families come together after gathering here over the years, all honoring loved ones in their battles against cancer. To date, more than $1 million has been raised for cancer research through this combined effort.

“Reunited and it feels so good...” During Lewiston Days in June, our grandson Sam was the city kid who paid a visit to his country cousins, Alyssa and Alexandra. As our family stood along Main Street to watch the grand parade and car cruise, many familiar faces from the past came together to chitchat in hometown fashion. That weekend “CrossFest,” aroused interest and rocked the town! The Christian music festival took place at a recently renovated, dilapidated farm in Lewiston. The Crossings Center is a regional family and youth event area, open to all faiths, including a community garden tended by young people, and provides a place for kids to get together to rap, lift weights, shoot baskets, and share music.

“Love can build a bridge between your heart and mine.” The nonprofit organization is an extension of the contemporary Christian music group Crossings, including members Joel Hennessy, Bill Lanik, and Brian Prudoehl. The Crossings Center has also become a gathering place for a group of young people named the God Squad, who do local service projects.

Music is a universal language, at the heart of Crossings’ purpose. Joel Hennessy once explained to me that the group’s name “Crossings” implies that, by reaching out through the medium of music, to those we meet and pass by on life’s journey, racial and cultural barriers can be crossed.

“Blest be the tie that binds.” Reunions for an eight, a nine, and thirteen-year-old bring out the mischievous side of youth. Grandpa and I took them to Lark Toys near Wabasha. Among every sort and size of toys from yesteryear, there were the red and green plastic cowboys and Indians and khaki-colored soldiers ready for rec room combat. Betsy Wetsy stared me down from behind locked glass. A colorful carousel, its animals works of art, made us giddy with its music.

As I continued to explore, Pat took the kids to play miniature golf. It seemed like a brief 18-holes when I spotted grandpa with three sheepish scalawags lagging behind. I guess the golf game turned a bit rowdy! Ice cream cones kept things reasonably quiet on the ride home.

“The more we get together the happier we’ll be!” Pat’s annual family picnic in July was, as always, no small affair! I’ve lost count, as the fourth generation continues to blossom. “Until we meet

again...” We are reminded how swiftly life goes by, as fresh, new faces replace those who have faded from the family picture.

“It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home!” A long overdue visit from a sister and a niece we hadn’t seen for 13 years became the surprise of the summer! The youngest of the Lewis family, Jean was my real, live baby-doll in childhood. It’s a sad twist of fate that we’ve lived most of our adult years apart, clear across a country from one another.

Our whole family rode on Rangers over rough terrain, through the deep woods of Whitewater Valley, from our son Mike and daughter-in-law Christies’s land, connected to her dad’s property, and on to the former Wollin farm, now owned by cousins Rick and Michele Speltz and their family. Visiting the restored farmstead and riding through the Whitewater brought back many priceless memories.

Our summer get-away, amidst a maze of towering oaks and glass-smooth lakes, somewhere in the north country, becomes a reunion of sorts each May. Acquaintances have grown into true, lasting friendships over the ten years Pat and I have camped there. Sadly, some have moved on. “So long! It’s been good to know ya!”

For all posterity, others will keep the home fires burning.

Janet Burns lives in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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