Everyone needs to be in a parade just once!

I don't recall EVER being in a parade! Not ever! So, this year, for the Fourth of July, my hubby and I went to Iowa, the home of the Sieren Family, to spend the Fourth with them. It is difficult to find adequate words to share with you the extraordinary experience we found awaiting us in Sigourney, Iowa.

A sleepy town of around 2,500 folks, Sigourney was, and still is, the home of many of my father's family. I have probably visited there less than a dozen times in my life; however, I have literally hundreds of cousins living there, as well as many others around the United States.

The perfectly manicured yards display no fences - just about 100 feet or so between houses, all situated on a rolling plain. Ah.... The town could very well be the site for a 50's movie or TV show. Peaceful, serene, welcoming, and safe. . . .

Not to mention the fellowship that surrounded us! At Mass (one cousin lives across the street from the Catholic Church and the pastor at the church is a distant cousin as well!), we counted 33 Sierens, most of whom I did not know.

All of these Sierens stem from a trio of brothers coming from Germany in the late 1800s to find a better life. Milling was their occupation, and one decided to stay in Perl, Germany. The other two came over to find new lives and wives. Their descendants mostly remain in Sigourney and the pace of life is unbelievably serene. Hard working and good people comprise the Sieren clan.

Coming back to a more rapid pace of life, I am reflecting on the wonder of making contact with those individuals. Hugging so many people and knowing that we were all connected somehow created a calm within my soul. The placid and unruffled small town created a secure feeling within my very essence.

We all need one another. We can revive lost relationships and renew them in order to fill the barren, and often anxious, rumblings in our souls. With the spirit of loved ones crowding inside my heart, I find I am able to say no to seconds of dessert, to walk a bit further from the car, and to ignore passing sleights I may feel from others. Truthfully, I am a better person because of my family. And, you, too, can be a more joyous pilgrim on this  journey we call life. Don't wait! Get in touch! You will be blessed doubly for doing so.

 Our parade of fellowship was simply a group of neighbors and families who drove their golf carts, rode their horses, drove their cars,
or rode their bikes. The well-manicured lawns,
the clean streets downtown, and spectators com-
pleted the festivities.

And candy - for what is a parade without children and families sitting on the curb of the street waiting to receive candy thrown by those in the parade?

Delighted cousins screaming my name (the one I don't even use anymore) warmed and delighted me as little else has ever done. May God protect and bless you, loved ones in Iowa!

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