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Paul Molyneux

Sometime during the three-day Molyneux reunion, my Uncle Clifford told me about an old saying- "If you get your feet wet in the Loyalsock, you'll always come back."  I grinned.  This reunion stuff was new to me.  Blocked by circumstances and life-style, my first participation came this month.  I had heard that such saws abound at these musters. 

My father, Donald, had completed schooling far from Sullivan County and then answered the call to the ministry.  His assignments carried us further away as he served rural congregations made up of people very similar to those he left behind.  Somewhat of an anachronism, Dad's dedication kept him as a servant rather than a boss and time for regular or extended visits to home ground was rare.  Our visits to family were sparse and then were limited to an evening of visiting, hitting the sack and getting an early start on the long trek back to the daily routine.  Each junket to the Endless Mountains included cramming as many landmarks into the route and short detours as time would allow. Explanation and examination were kept short because of the ever-present time constraints. 

As we three kids matured, one of the traits that we inherited from Dad was a love for people.  Naturally, then, we became involved in people-oriented occupations that forbid regular hours and discouraged time off.  Little time was available for being with each other, much less for the 450 mile excursions. 

One great gift from our father is his extensive reminiscing.  We grew up with such fare as William Molyneux and his trip up the Loyalsock; Joel Molyneux's Civil War experience and his return to his beloved Elvira; Grandma Cora's dedication to God and family; Grandpa Wardner's heartache at the restructuring of his family after Grandma's untimely passing; and countless events and anecdotes. 

When Dad suggested that I attend this bicentennial reunion with him, I jumped at the chance.  It had been a long time since I had had uninterrupted time with him and it was a perfect opportunity to abolish a feeling of  family out there and to begin replacing it with internal relationships. 

Arriving a day early, Dad and I took the time to visit his treasured landmarks and fill in many details that enhanced the memories.  What a thrill to find almost all of the physical sites still recognizable, many of them intact!  For the first time, I had a chance to allow the sheer beauty of the countryside to enhance the events and confirm the reasons for Dad's love for home. 

When the 400 plus family members had arrived, fascinating conversation and the timely events of the celebration provided living proof that the family Molyneux still held the same spirit and vigor as those whose memory we celebrated.  By Saturday night, I knew that I was home. 

I could not begin to recognize all the individuals that affected me profoundly, but I can't close without mentioning a small group: 
Louise Molyneux Woodhead - What a dynamo!  Thank you for spearheading a wonderful experience. 

    Leon Molyneux - Your enthusiasm for your commitment bursts forth like an artesian spring after a heavy rain. 
    Aunt Rosemary Molyneux May - You are a gracious lady and your zeal for preserving tradition is greatly appreciated.
    Clifford Molyneux, Jr. - You are the home boy of your generation.  Be proud!  The burdens and joys of caring for the Joel Molyneux homestead have passed to you and you will do a splendid job. 
    Clifford and Ellen Molyneux - You make me proud to be your nephew. 
    Donald Molyneux - Thanks, Dad.  I love you!
To anyone in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania who may read this:  If for any reason, by design or by chance, you should leave that wonderful place, don't waste a half-century like I did.  Be sure you've had your feet wet in the Loyalsock.  Reunions aren't just for remembering the dead or appeasing the aged, but for clarifying purpose and strengthening the bond known as family.  They are for today. 

By the way, Uncle Cliff, I got both my feet wet!

Published August, 1994 - The Sullivan Review