ool nights and falling leaves signal Autumn in Mariposa. The smell of
wood smoke wafting from chimneys greets one's nostrils in the morning, while nights are spent bundled up at home. Like so much else here,
Autumn has a special "small-town flavor" for Mariposa residents. Extra-curricular sports prevail for the children as soccer and football
leagues host up fierce Saturday competitions and the holidays are seen as a chance to visit with family and friends.
Holidays and occasions profiled here include:
| VETERAN'S DAY
ctober, of course, brings Halloween and the town revels in an old-fashioned environment.
Children take costumes to school and vie in contests for the funniest, scariest, etc..
Mariposa Elementary School (which is situated in the heart of the town) holds an annual costume parade. The children (or whatever they are for the day) parade along the streets from the school down to the County Courthouse.
The avenues are lined with cheering parents, grandparents and other family
members, as well as members-at-large from the community. When their
route is completed, the children return to their classrooms for parties.
he businesses in town annually host trick-or-treaters from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.. The town becomes crowded with hosts of angels, monsters and the likes as trick-or-treaters make their way from business to business. Of course for many, trick-or-treating continues into the residential parts of town and into the evening hours. However, a large number of residents also partake of a Community Carnival. Billed as a "safe alternative to trick-or-treating"
the carnival is sponsored by service groups and manned by youth groups. Participants consider the carnival a service project and strive to keep the costs to a minimum. Games and food booths occupy Halloween revelers providing a safe and supervised evening activity. In addition, by evening's end, one lucky carnival-goer wins the door prize - a giant goodie bag filled with toys, games and candy, while one organization earns the title of "Best Booth."
f course, for those requiring more paranormal in their lives, the County
Courthouse has long been a sight of "ghostly" occurrences. County employees are said to have heard thumps, bangs, music and more in the old
building. It is said that lights coming on in locked rooms, and shutters found open where they had before been closed, tend to keep employee overtime
to a minimum. One employee recounts an evening when he worked in the structure as a docent. The evening grew long, and visitors were
sparse so he decided to sit down to rest for a while. It was at that time that he heard footsteps ascending the wooden stairs near him. He quickly
rose, and followed the individual to the second floor - yet, once there he found it empty! So, perhaps, a Halloween expedition would bring
a "spirited" reply.
as with most small towns, is fiercely patriotic and takes great pride in
its Veterans. After all, they were the sons and neighbors who went
off to do what they felt was right. And as with most places in this
Day observances tend to be solemn events - a quiet "thank you"
to those whose efforts might otherwise be forgotten.
Mariposa Gazette, the town's oldest newspaper (operating continuously since
1854) echoed the townsfolk's sentiments in a simple tribute.
In a small square on its front page, the "Gazette" runs a small piece called
the "Citizen of The Week," where it singles out outstanding folks.
The tribute of November 5, 1998 read: "All of the veterans in our community
and country are celebrated this week as Citizens of the Week in observance
of Veterans' Day..."
course, more formal observances also took place. Perhaps, the largest
one was a special commemorative ceremony sponsored by, and held at, Mariposa
Elementary School. The ceremony, started by Principal Susan
Robinson some years back, was this year held on Friday, November 6th.
A Veteran's of
Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) color guard was present as the special commemoration
took place in front of the school's five hundred, plus, children.
But surely the highlight of the ceremony was a special, and emotional,
presentation of a long overdue purple heart to Dennis Blessing, the Commander
of the local V.F.W. post. Blessing had been wounded in Vietnam and,
like so many, forgotten. However, that oversight was corrected as
Dana Walton, the local field representative for Congressman
George Radanovich presented the special award.
it was nature's tribute to these valiant men and women, but Veteran's Day
dawned a gray, rainy day preventing the hanging of the normal profusion
of American flags throughout town and in the cemetery. Instead, the
pallor mirrored all too eloquently the souls that had been shattered and
the hearts which still remembered.
with most small towns, Thanksgiving
in Mariposa is a time to gather with family and friends - to be thankful
for all that we have. Life is fairly traditional in Mariposa, and
Thanksgiving is no exception.
school, the younger children have Thanksgiving parties where popcorn becomes
and "Chex Mix" becomes turkey. In the homes, families gather together
to enjoy each other's company. Manna House, a local organization
devoted to helping the needy, collects donations of cash and food from
various local food drives. In this way, Manna House is able to provide
Thanksgiving Day feasts to all who need one.
if one were to choose any local residents who embodied the spirit of Thanksgiving,
one would have to choose Pastor and Mrs. Henry Falany.
year, for the past nine years, the Falanys have celebrated Thanksgiving
like most of the country, preparing a full turkey dinner with all of the
trimmings. But to the Falanys, giving thanks is more than a phrase
and each year they show just how thankful they are for their blessings
by sharing them with those who are less fortunate. Each year, one
week before Thanksgiving, Pastor and Mrs. Falany run an advertisement in
the local newspaper inviting anyone in the community to join them for the
holiday. They announce the time of the Thanksgiving dinner and, the
only thing they ask, is that those people planning to attend give them
advance notice so that they can plan the amount of food they will need.
Not many people would open their homes in this fashion. Fewer still
would also commit the time and energy to also provide transportation for
those in need. But, that's exactly what the Falanys do.
it is easy to see that Mariposa's most valuable commodity is the genuine
caring of friends.