Small towns in Southwest Iowa continue to shrink. Out of necessity schools are being forced to consolidate with communities which used to be mortal rivals. My alma mater, Corning High School, home of the mighty Red Raiders, is no more. They are now a part of the Southwest Valley Community School District. The new mascot for the combined schools of Corning and Villisca is the timber wolf. Instead of red and black, the school colors for the Timberwolves will be silver, black and teal.
I can't remember how long ago it was that my younger brother, Les, started a face book page titled You know you're from Corning, Iowa if..... but it was more than a year ago. It now has almost 1,300 members. Sometime last spring someone on the website made the suggestion that the community should do something to mark the end of the Red Raider era. The idea mushroomed with more and more people enthused about the concept. Someone suggested having it the same weekend as Corning's summer celebration - a combination of Lazy Days, the BBQ Cookoff and En Plein Air which has been going on for several years.
A website, which you can see here, was developed just for the weekend activities. And what the weekend it has been. We spent the day in our old hometown. It was really something to see the sidewalks lined once again with parade watchers. All the parking spaces up and down main street were filled. Alumni from all over came back to bid adieu to the mighty Red Raider.
I am not overly sentimental about having been a Red Raider - or maybe I should say, I once was, but the 50+ years since high school graduation have tempered my enthusiasm. But I have to admit it was a perfect day. And as the band played the familiar old song, I sang along one more time.... "We're loyal to you, Corning High, we'll always be true Corning High......