Society

A holiday tradition ends

27th Perry- Perry-Brown picnic Sunday was the last

Those enjoying the ‘picnic and patriotism’ Sunday included (L-R) Tovia Katz, Betty Brown, Rev. John Warren, Ruth Whitmire, B. F. Cook, Maude Mary Meads, Dorothy Bergeron, Billy Graham, Joy Graham, Mary Brannam, Dr. Lucile Estel, Fred Bergeron. Reporter/Bill Cooke Those enjoying the ‘picnic and patriotism’ Sunday included (L-R) Tovia Katz, Betty Brown, Rev. John Warren, Ruth Whitmire, B. F. Cook, Maude Mary Meads, Dorothy Bergeron, Billy Graham, Joy Graham, Mary Brannam, Dr. Lucile Estel, Fred Bergeron. Reporter/Bill Cooke A three-family Fourth of July picnic which had become an Independence Day tradition in Rockdale, was held for the final time Sunday in a pasture west of town.

Jay Brown, who has hosted, or co-hosted, the picnic along with wife Betty, for the past 27 years, announced at the conclusion of Sunday’s event that the picnics would not continue past 2010.

The picnics began in the mid 1980s as a joint effort between three families, Jay and Betty Brown, Collier and Peggy Perry and Emmet and Jenny Perry.

Originally held at the Collier Perry pecan orchard on the San Gabriel River, the first picnics drew more than 100 participants and featured river f loating, fishing, games for children and after-dark “bring them and shoot them yourself” fireworks.

Host Jay Brown announced the 2010 picnic would be the last. An a cappella quartet composed of (L-R) Rev. John Warren, Annette Griesbach, Joy Graham, Gary Griesbach led singing. Host Jay Brown announced the 2010 picnic would be the last. An a cappella quartet composed of (L-R) Rev. John Warren, Annette Griesbach, Joy Graham, Gary Griesbach led singing. And, of course, food and patriotic speeches.

In later years the picnics were moved to the Brown pasture west of Rockdale and the tradition continued.

The pasture contains a large stock tank and the evenings often concluded with the posting of the American f lag on horseback and a dusk speech on the bank of the tank.

Sunday’s final speech was by Reporter Editor Mike Brown who had served as speaker about 20 times for the picnic.

He quoted the well-known phrases from the Declaration of Independence, noting that Thomas Jefferson intended the famous words “all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to apply to all persons in all times, not just the colonies in 1776.

He concluded by noting this summer is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and read from speeches by Winston Churchill.

“I know it’s not usual to quote from a Britisher on the Fourth of July,” Brown said. “But Churchill was the first person ever to be granted full American citizenship by the U.S. Congress.”

“Bett y and I have really enjoyed these picnics over the years,” Jay Brown said. “We appreciate all of you coming out and participating.”
Time to unveil the good stuff as Dorothy Bergeron (L) and Mary Brannam unwrap a cake. Time to unveil the good stuff as Dorothy Bergeron (L) and Mary Brannam unwrap a cake.
Speaker for Sunday, and most of the past picnics, was Reporter Editor Mike Brown. Speaker for Sunday, and most of the past picnics, was Reporter Editor Mike Brown.


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2010-07-08 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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