Lutheran School Picnic

It lingers
as a memory of childhood's exuberance,
the elated exultation of release,
like ice cream after baked beans,
the ritual picnic at school's end.
For many, the Lutheran school experience
was heavy going,
willow whips figuring prominently
in some lesson plans.
But when church got out
on June picnic Sunday,
each kid in line was handed freedom
along with a flag on a stick.
The town band sang to the Lord
a new song.
Elms on Mors Parkway became
trees of life,
and the free lemonade
made of real lemons,
the best lemonade you ever tasted,
served from a great big washtub,
a feast too fine for angels.
Dismissed at noon, all and each
scurried home for Sunday dinner
not to miss one second
of the exercises they had practiced
these many months.
Then back to Meyer's Park,
already a retrospect
of shared remembrance,
to take places
in the ripple of kids
who wove the Maypole ribbons,
hurled the Indian clubs,
and performed the flag drills
to acclaim from parents
and praise from teachers.
They yearn for it still
when a June Sunday bids fair
and a band is heard in the distance.
"It was really something.
I think it would be neat
to see a flag drill again."
Albert F. Volz

He lived one hundred years,
telling hundreds of good stories
of the town his father
served as undertaker and furniture maker.
(His dining tables were solid black walnut
from trees along the Des Plaines River.)
Al got out of school
the day General Philip Sheridan
came by special train
to inspect the Kennicott property
northeast of the village
as a possible site for Fort Sheridan.
As mayor, Al barricaded the entrance
of a stubborn merchant on Davis
unwilling to replace the wooden platform out front
with iron steps and railings.
He complained throughout his public career
of "tight-fisted Dutchmen"
resisting every advance.
Early in 1918
Al and County Commissioner William Busse
looked out the window
of the North Western.
Then they looked at each other.
"There should be a highway along here."
They had some power.
Al was state representative.
Within months they'd formed a
Northwest Highway Improvement Association
with Al as secretary and chairman
of the executive committee.

State and county funds paid for
the first unit from Des Plaines
to the Dundee Road viaduct in 1922.
Again, citizens protested.
This time over trees.
Busse and Volz prevailed.
Al was still telling
the story when he put on
his mashed fedora
and walked uptown
at 99.