And so it was. Families had gathering from the surrounding farms and small towns for the annual dance in support of the local volunteer fire department. Little kids ran everywhere, dodging pillars and grown-ups. Couples waltzed or polka-ed, from the grandparents, to the parents, all the way down to the little kids. The old-fashioned big band played the chicken dance. An exuberant young man came up with his girl, excited to tell the news that they'd gotten engaged on the recent Marian feast day. Teenagers danced the same dances their parents had taught them. There was a raffle.
Toward the end of the evening, the drawing was held for the live turkeys and ducks, plus the horse collars that earned you free tickets for next year if you brought them back. They'd been in circulation for 30 years now.
The hall was one of the architectural wonders of Bee. It was one of the last depression-era work projects, and was built mostly with concrete since the architect wanted to use up the concrete left over from other projects. It's unique for its unusual round shape and because many famous polka and 'big band' acts played there.
The church is another oddly-shaped affair. Happily it has been recently renovated, although there wasn't much that could be done with the zig-zagging walls. Fr. Kelly describes it as a shoe box that was scrunched in both directions, rather like an accordion.
Fr. Kelly got a spare duck from a family who'd driven two hours and didn't want to take it back with them. As we walked back to the rectory in the rain, I thought that this was what all governments, politics, and armies were for. This is what we should all defend. Families, community, tradition. Ordinary and sacred.