A bit less than a year ago, someone came up with an idea. Maybe it went something like this: If Payson had a birthday cake, it would have 125 candles on it in the year 2007.
That seems like a grand reason for the whole town to celebrate.
Several people agreed.
Then, an important thing happened: several people acted on their good idea. They invited more people to volunteer ideas, and more importantly, give of their time to coordinate a premier event out of intangible thoughts.
I sat in on a few committee meetings in February. I wrote a few articles and knew I would be writing more. I admit I found myself thinking that by the time October arrived, I would be on festival overload and planned to stay home.
Exactly when did my thoughts on the 125th become less jaded?
I do not know.
I had fun taking Captain Dredge River's photograph. He is one of the Cowboy Mounted Shooters.
I read Jayne Peace Pyle's article about how the 125th quilt cake would be made out of many smaller cakes.
A cowboy, Jinx Pyle told me, will try his hand at ropin' just about any critter. What a fun fact.
Lowell Andrews called me, before I could call him, about the Timeline Parade. Andrews may not have been certain how he got the job of coordinating the parade, but he was absolutely committed to its success.
Time passed, I e-mailed and called people for information I needed to write articles. Without fail, everyone called me back.
Ginger Schoettinger and Gary Bedsworth should get blue ribbons for the speediness with which they returned answers.
I could hear the excitement in Diana Sexton's voice, when she recalled the sack races she enjoyed as a child.
One evening, I went to the library to a rehearsal for the Zane Grey Mystery Theatre. I was tired that night.
You know what? I bet those actors were tired, too, but, they showed up, rehearsed and were funny as all get out.
These actors have been rehearsing for over a month to bring you a fine, melodramatic, dinner theater production.
The 125th committee's lesson to me is that a committee of like-minded people can accomplish great things.
Fiddlers, singers, guitarists are among the musicians bringing the sounds of the West to Main Street and Green Valley Park. They volunteered their time and a volunteer coordinated their appearances.
Where there is a crowd, there must be food to keep their energy up. Bedsworth planned for vendors, as well as a mayor's breakfast and several dinner parties.
Local residents made cakes for an old-fashioned Cake Walk.
Volunteers made up fliers, pounded the pavement for sponsors and made sure advertising for the 125th was statewide.
If there is a hitch in an event, remember, a passel of volunteers have spent untold hours and in less than a year, have coordinated five days of events for your pleasure.
I encourage you to eat a brat, dance at the town picnic, watch the play, play a game and be a part of the bash.
Bring your camera, because when Payson is 150 and 175 you want to be able to tell your grandchildren, I remember when...
I hope the wagon train full of volunteers, most of whom I could not mention or meet, get to enjoy some of what they have brought to Payson, the Rim Country, indeed, all of Arizona, this long weekend.