RENOVO – A train whistled, calling back to a time when steam locomotives ran through this small town, and friends called “hello” across the street.
As the freight train rushed past Saturday’s Queens’ Parade at the 65th annual Pennsylvania State Flaming Foliage Festival, four siblings originally from Renovo recalled some things have changed and others have stayed just the same.
“When we come back, it’s like a time warp for us,” said Lock Haven resident Ted Greene, 66. “We see things as they were. … It’s a Mayberry, is what it is.”
“This was a great place to grow up. You knew everybody in town … and made a lot of good friends,” said brother Dan Greene, 63, of Hyner.
The mountains, now resplendent in the dazzling colors of fall draped
across its shoulders, remain in their majestic, stoic positions throughout the years, said brother Mike Greene, 70, who made the trip from his home in Mandeville, Louisiana.
When Dan Greene and his siblings come to the parade, they always sit in “their spot” across from Sovereign Bank, get a blooming onion, and look forward to watching the bagpipers play.
The festival is always a family reunion, said sister Kathy Miller, 72, of Buffalo, N.Y. They’ve come since they were young, and it’s a special time they look forward to every year.
For their families, the festival has become a multi-generational event, with over 25 family members there.
Miller’s daughter Kathy Cardona was there with her husband Miguel Cardona and their children James, 5, Marcianna, 11, and Michael, 13, all of Buffalo, N.Y. Kathy Cardona grew up in Renovo and like her mother, came almost every year since she was a little girl. The family’s favorite part of the parade is what they call the “peacock man,” who has danced in the parade since they can remember, his hair changing to grey.
Ted Greene’s daughter Ashley Olshenske, 30, was there with her husband Rudi, 33, and their 9-month-old son Liam, who calls his grandpa “Pop-Pop.”
The wind blew, scattering leaves down the road as the last of the parade went by.
A few years back, when Mike Greene walked through an old cemetery in Hyner, in the hallowed, lonely quiet, one headstone caught his eye. He saw the grave of a man he hadn’t seen in 20 years; he hadn’t known he’d died.
Though some friends have passed on in body, Ted Greene said he knows they’re there, at the festival, in spirit, smiling and waving across that old street in their very own Mayberry.