The death of another Little Meadows long-time friend and neighbor last spring got residents of a small town in the northwest corner of Susquehanna County pondering life a bit more seriously.
At the funeral services for Charles Barnum, who passed away on March 21, Father Casimir Stanis – aka “Father Cass” – reminded those in attendance, “Never put off anything you want to do because it may be too late.”
That line really struck lifetime Little Meadows resident Linda Kemmerer. “Charlie was a great guy,” she recalls. “It made me feel sad that the only time that we see our other friends is when we are at funerals.”
It occurred to Kemmerer that perhaps a monthly gathering over coffee would be a simple way to start a conversation and a new tradition and keep fresh that, which those who have lived there, love so much about the community. She hoped that she wasn’t alone in her musings.
“Little Meadows is a small community. Two churches, two bars, one mini mart, and one auto mechanic,” says Kemmerer. “We’re kind of the forgotten end of the county. We don’t get the politicians coming to the door.”
That changed, she explains, after she started a few Facebook pages dedicated to Little Meadows: Little Meadow Community News, Memories of Little Meadows, and Little Meadows Rescue Squad.
Social media, it turned out, was the bonding agent that brought many of the townsfolk back together. Soon, it wasn’t uncommon to see hundreds or more than a thousand “likes” or “followers” of some of Kemmerer’s posts.
“For a town with a population of 273, that’s pretty impressive,” she laughs.
Being retired has allowed her the time to keep each of the pages fresh. It also helped her get Coffee with Friends, a monthly gathering held on the first Thursday of each month, off the ground in April. “That came out of the original post,” Kemmerer explains. “I wanted some way that we could always see each other.”
The casual meetings begin around 10 a.m. in the dining room of Whitetails Bar & Grill at the corner of SR 858 and Main Street. Owner Jeff Kehr lets them use the space, and Coffee with Friends has gone over well. A few people usually stay for lunch.
“For the size of Little Meadows, we get a pretty good crowd,” says Kemmerer. “And Jeff’s lunches are great.”
Some of the attendees are newer to the town, but others, like Kemmerer, have been there forever. “I tell people that my roots are really deep and strong,” she relates. On her mother’s side, the Bartons are recorded as the second family to arrive in 1800. On her father’s side, Kemmerer is a fifth generation Purtell.
She was happy to find that there were others wanting and willing to keep alive the spirit of Little Meadows. When Kemmerer suggested holding an ‘old home day’ of sorts, she found immediate support in Theresa Casterline, Betsy Baldwin, Judy Butler-Freeman and Rhonda Pitcher. The five of them formed a committee, and the Little Meadows Community Reunion was born.
The event will be held at the Little Meadows Fire Station from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. Anyone with a connection to the town, past or present, is encouraged to attend. Snacks, coffee and lemonade will be provided. Sandwiches will be available for purchase. The rest of the buffet is up to attendees as a potluck of desserts and appetizers.
Committee members also hope that some guests will bring their old photos of Little Meadows, which can be scanned on site for inclusion on the Memories of Little Meadows Facebook page.
A highlight of the afternoon gathering of old friends and neighbors will be the announcement of the winner of a quilt made by Eleanor Hastings, whose husband, Bob, brought her to Little Meadows more than 70 years ago. Eleanor was once part of a lunch group of lady crocheters, knitters and quilters.
“When Eleanor heard that we were going to have the reunion, she wanted to do something,” Kemmerer notes. “So she donated one of her quilts to raise funds for the party.” Anyone who donates $5 or more will have a ticket in the drawing.
The quilt has a special connection to the past also. Handmade by Eleanor herself, it features a Dresden Plate design. The background of each muslin square is fabric from the old curtains of the St. Thomas Parish Hall. Donations can be given to any committee member.
For more information, contact Kemmerer on Facebook, or call her at 570-623-2303.
The next meet of Coffee with Friends will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3.