A ray of sunshine in the fall, McCool’s annual social marks 105th year

McCOOL JUNCTION – For the 105th time, folks gathered at the historic town hall in McCool Junction on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to celebrate their annual autumn Sunshine Social.

This special event is brought to the community each year by the Community Women’s Club of McCool, which is made up of ladies from McCool’s three churches.

The proud tradition has been going strong for 105 years, which is a rarity in today’s world, to see gatherings continue on a regular basis for such a long time. But once the door opened at 11 a.m., the community’s silver residents (and former residents) were in line for their name tags and fellowship.

The event was created as a way for people to get together just as harvest gets started. It also serves as a catalyst for bringing people back to McCool if they moved elsewhere or haven’t been back for a while. Over the years, even out-of-state guests have traveled to take part in this decades-old tradition.

The décor and theme are always special – they change each year and are an entertaining/interesting aspect of what guests will see when they arrive. And each year, each guest is given a hand-made place setting to take home. This year, the fall theme was certainly front and center, with plenty of oranges, yellows and greens.

While many of the attendees are often of the retirement age, there are also young ones there as students from McCool Junction offer their help and every so many years their musical talents for entertainment. Organizers say it is a great opportunity for students to interact with senior citizens and learn about the value of volunteerism.

Plus, they get to eat a great meal, which is an added bonus.

This year’s noon menu consisted of homemade pork loin, cheesy potatoes, salads, rolls, cookies and ice cream – all thanks to the hard work of the volunteers who cooked, served, cleaned up and socialized with the attendees.

Volunteers said they don’t require any reservations, but have a pretty good idea of how many people will be in attendance based on past years’ trends. While decades ago, the numbers were more than 100, the number of attendees is now in the 50-range.

The event provided plenty of catch-up for individuals who may have not seen each other in a while – maybe not since last year or many years before. There was plenty of reminiscing as they were able to go through the old McCool High School senior pictures. While some of the conversations were about who wasn’t there or is no longer with them, there were lively stories about times gone by, when they were much younger.

Many said they will never miss this event, as long as they are able, as it is “a way to see our old friends” and “have a great meal while laughing a little bit too which we don’t always do as much of these days.”

The annual social certainly did bring some sunshine on a beautiful fall day in McCool Junction.

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