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The President's Letter: March 2023

By: Ryan Bowman, HAHS President

March 21, 2023


Doesn’t the thought of it energize your soul after a long, secluded winter? We may not have had much snow this past winter season, but wasn’t it dreary? To me, it seemed like one of the longest winters ever. I expect that it was that one week in February that teased us with 70-degree temperatures and ample sunshine throughout the days, readying us for the onset of warmer times only to crush our hopes when the gloom rolled back in.

But green times are ahead! As the bright yellow of what some consider those pesky little dandelions push through the fresh green grass of spring, like always, I am put to mind of a bit of my own personal history. And earlier times…

Memories of Earlier Wines

As a young man, I would do small tasks and often visit with John Mutersbaugh (then in his 60’s) in the Halifax village of Matamoras. Knowing my love of history, one day John surprised me by handing me an old farm journal to take a glance through. It happened to be his wife’s grandfather’s farm journal which dated back to the early 1800’s. I was intrigued.

After flipping through for some time and chatting with John about its contents, we came across a recipe for homemade dandelion wine. At the time I was not much of a wine drinker and had never even heard of this style of wine. John assured me that it had been a staple on the farm where he had grown up and that it was a sweet memory of spring for himself.

With some overzealous prodding on my part, we decided to try our hand at a batch. The learning, joy, mishaps, laughs, and accidents we experienced through the entire process of that first batch of wine we made together, could fill this entire newsletter. I will not deluge you with it here.

Suffice to say, the result of this grand adventure was THE WORST wine I had, or would ever taste in my entire life. I have made many batches of various wines since, all of them much more palatable than that first. But that all being said, none, not even by a close margin, has been more memorable.

I suppose that is the way. Sometimes you must try new things, make some mistakes along the way and then try again until you get it down. In the end, you’ve usually picked up a new skill, grown in knowledge and all the while, made a lifetime of memories along the way.

A Preservation of the Past

Speaking of making memories, as the warmer weather approaches, we look forward to many upcoming projects and events and hope you will be able to get out and join us. Be sure to visit our new and regularly updated website to keep up with these many events and other Historical Society news.

We thank our Digital Records Committee Chair, Dylan Bowman for his tireless work and the many hours spent putting that together for all society members. In so doing, he has also spearheaded the establishment of a YouTube page where he has uploaded many of the videos from the 1994 Halifax Area Bicentennial celebrations. These were previously only available on VHS tape, but now thanks to his efforts, have been recorded for posterity. See the enclosed ad for details.

Did you know that Danean Walker coordinates, curates and oversees a special exhibit at the society museum every month? Come out and see the wonderful work she and Museum Director Bob Warfel, along with some other helpers have done at the museum over the past year. If you haven’t been to the museum lately, then you have not been to the museum! The time they have committed to the space is priceless and we are grateful as a historical society and community for their efforts.

There are lots of opportunities for you to get involved or to simply get out and see us at the many events going on at the society this spring and early summer. Please see the enclosed advertisement. “We want you” to be part of the fun.

So, come on out and let’s make history!

Ryan Bowman

The first dandelion spotted at the Bowman Family homestead, Spring 2023.

Photograph by: Ryan Bowman

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