Collett-McKay Picnic, past and present

For 156 years, the Collett and McKay families and their descendants have met on the second Saturday in August. This year, more than 120 cousins ​​came to the same picnic ground where the family has gathered for 152 years.

John Mothersole led the team in setting up the sawhorses and sawn wood planks that contain loads of delicious fried chicken, pulled pork, coleslaw, brownies, cornbread, Cool Whip green salad and lemonade. . A highlight was a unique culinary creation – a bowl of sliced ​​watermelon, filled with fruit salad and arranged in the shape of a pig with feet, eyes, ears and a muzzle!

Susan Doster opened the picnic with annual announcements. A blessing was offered by Travis Glaze. The group paused for a moment of silence to remember those who have passed away since the last picnic: John Howell of Wilmington, Reverend Robert McKay of Colorado and Krista McKay Campbell of Kettering.

The oldest participants this year were Reverend John Beers, 87, and Ronald Whitacre, 85. The youngest at their very first family picnic were Katherine Rose St. John, 9 months old, of Wilmington, and Virginia Charis Doster, 7 months old, of Raleigh. , North Carolina.

Other first-time attendees included Amanda Schweigart Doster, wife of Adam Doster of Novi, Michigan, and Cassidy Tanner, husband of Hannah Collett Tanner, of Richmond, Virginia. Also, a first-time attendee was Richard Ellestad, husband of Jennifer Becker Ellestad, both of Billings, MT.

Newbies gathered with their families around the genealogy table where family records are posted every year for their names to be added to the family tree.

For many years, the late Katherine Luby and Howard Doster anchored the genealogy table and amazed their cousins ​​with family history stories and the results of their research. This year, the Stephens family of Maryland and Kim Price of Utah shared their books, graphics and photographs, and highlighted which family line each person came from – a Collett, a McKay or one of the four marriages between Collett and McKay. families in the mid-1800s.

The descendants of McKays and Colletts, along with their families and guests, enjoyed the warm conversations in the shade of the trees and the laughter lingered and danced on the grass. The children kicked soccer balls, blew soap bubbles and chased puppies.

At the end of the afternoon, each person took with them memories of past people and picnics as they wrapped up their fresh memories of another Collett-McKay picnic.

Many had learned as children, on the second Saturday in August there was nowhere to be but on Gurneyville Road.

Many were from nearby towns and rural areas, and some were from other states across the country – from Maryland, Utah, Michigan, Montana, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, California, Washington and Delaware.

Each year, family members work to maintain the picnic areas, a dedicated hectare along Gurneyville Road, mowing, collecting sticks, and planting young maples and oaks to grow in. alongside those centenarians who bore witness to the family. past picnics.

The picnic was accompanied by a bowl of sliced ​​watermelon, filled with fruit salad and created in the shape of a pig with feet, eyes, ears and a muzzle.

Amanda and Adam Doster at the 2021 Collett-McKay Picnic.

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