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Updated: 04/17/2014 08:00:04AM
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Lake Placid’s traditional sunrise worship service will be Sunday morning on the lawn at Memorial United Methodist Church, overlooking Lake Clay. The church has hosted the daybreak service for many years, but I recall when Easter morning was greeted with sunrise worship at the Lake Clay boat ramp in the Lake Blue Estates subdivision.

The year was 1963 and the Delaney clan had moved to Lake Placid only weeks earlier. Easter started as usual. Mother had prepared Easter baskets for each of her five children but we were allowed only a nibble before going to church.

On the way home from church Mom took a slight detour to drive by the Lake Clay boat ramp where sunrise services had been held only hours earlier. Mom expected to show us the serenity of the lakeside setting. What we boys saw were rows and rows of wooden field crates used in those days to harvest citrus. To our young eyes, those field crates were giant building blocks.

The crates, I’m told, were probably 16 inches wide and 32 inches long with handles in each end. They were designed to be stacked. And soon that is just what we were doing: stacking field crates and building forts and trails.

Being the new kids in town, we Delaney children were still getting to know the other youngsters in the area of Lake Blue Estates. That all changed on that Easter morning. As we stacked field crates to build forts and tunnels, other neighborhood boys started to arrive. Our creations were limited only by our youthful imaginations. Some of the creations were elaborate while some were just what they appeared to be: a stack of wooden boxes waiting to be climbed.

Soon we were joined by Dennis Griffin, Frank and Fred Hartzell, Russell Jones, Harry Helseth, and the Page brothers, Joe and Ted. There might have been a few girls there, too, but in 1963 I didn’t notice girls — and they would have just been in the way.

By day’s end we had built forts and castles and new friendships. Those friendships, in most cases, continue to this day.

I don’t recall the year the Easter Sunrise Service moved away from that boat ramp. By then most of the boys in our circle of friends had decided we were too old to play with building blocks — even giant building blocks. Besides, those girls who seemed to be pests a few years earlier were now drawing our attention and none of us wanted to look childish in the eyes of those budding beauties.

I remain grateful for the friendships formed during those Easter Sunday playtimes. And I’m grateful none of us were injured when our taller creations fell — as they eventually would.

• • •

The Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce is making plans for its Administrative Professional of the Year Luncheon which will take place Wednesday, April 23 at the Lake Placid Camp & Conference Center.

The highlight of the event will be recognizing the Administrative Professional of the Year. “This is a wonderful way to say thank you to that special person who works side by side with you on a daily basis,” said Chamber executive director Eileen May.

The Administrative Professional of the Year Luncheon is sponsored by Home & Office Essentials, Miller Central Air and Wauchula State Bank.