God’s Portion Weekend was celebrated August 31-September 1 in Georgetown, Iowa. The weekend celebration featured a golf tournament, “Country Homegrown Dinner,” games, entertainment, auction, and Mass. All proceeds support St. Patrick’s Parish in Georgetown, Iowa. Fr. Mark Yates, C.PP.S. is pastor. Companion Sharon Crall, pastoral associate at St. Patrick’s shared the following reflection of the weekend tradition.
Oh, the stories and the generational family traditions that were still part of the richness of the God’s Portion Weekend at Georgetown on August 31-September 1! The Church community invited the larger Monroe County Community and many parts beyond, even out of state, back to celebrate and raise money for the historic Church building and needs of St. Patrick’s Parish. At this gathering, stories get told of the event, the people, and the history of St. Patrick’s to pass from generation to generation.
Even the preparation for God’s Portion Weekend reminds people of stories. A “Code Yellow” is still called out (today via text message) to gather the parish to process sweet corn. Many could tell you as children, they were enticed to “fish in the ponds” during corn blanching time. It took a few years for them to realize that they were a crucial part of the process—taking the ears of corn from one cold water bath to another. Then it was not so much fun!
Children of the event planners would be lined up in the old hall basement and assigned to chop and grate cabbage for slaw—and didn’t stop until the job was finished.
Years ago, the green bean snapping and processing was itself a story. Pickers sent a driver with buckets of beans throughout the neighborhood to be snapped at various houses. That was called a “bean drop.” Participants were given two hours to accomplish the job, and then the driver would return for pick-up. No one ever complained as they dropped everything they had planned to do and snapped beans for canning. There was no age or gender stipulation involved in this job. If you could snap, you qualified.
The day of the dinner provides its own laughs. One must laugh while frying chicken at 3:30 a.m. to keep yourself awake. Several years back a couple of parishioners dressed in firemen gear to provide “fire department” protection during the cooking.
Every generation was part of the “Talent Show” undertaken for several years at the end of God’s Portion Day. No matter the parishioners had worked all day long at that point. Many remember being astounded as people of all ages got up on stage —all for the “honor and glory of God and his Church.” Some claim miracles occurred. Great aunts turned into beauty queens. Parishioners turned into movie stars and singers. Children became self-confident performers, and even one pastor turned into a country-western singer or a member of the Beach Boys! The stories of having fun producing those outrageously funny shows are frequently told.
Remember, remember, remember and pass the stories along to the next generation. There’s a loyalty to Georgetown that is special. If you were raised around Georgetown you treasure lots of great memories. If you married into the Georgetown family, you had no idea what you were getting into! If you visit each year at God’s Portion Day—welcome, enjoy, have fun, and listen. There’s bound to be a story being told somewhere to the next generation.