Last Saturday rolled around and while I wasnt particularly feeling the best health wise, my wife Mary and I hit the road for Sugar Hollow Park. Our destination was a picnic shelter in the park in which the Joseph Albert Swift-Leita Effie Cole Swift descendants, and friends of the family were gathering. Joseph (Joe) Swift was my fathers brother and a wonderful uncle of mine. I have many fond memories of him and aunt Leita.
Its an annual gathering and it has been held for several years. It is usually well attended and Saturdays event was no exception. The importance of such gatherings was noted as there were some who had passed on since the last reunion.
I had been reminded about the reunion a few months ago and had kept the time and date in mind. And while I have missed a few of the gatherings since the annual reunions began, I have attended as many as I could. I always enjoy the opportunity to see again friends and relatives who I normally only get to see every year and sometimes even longer than that. The food is always plentiful and delicious.
My uncle Joseph Albert Swift was born and raised in Johnson County. He received Teaching Certificates in 1906, 1907 and 1908. He taught at Fritts Curve School and Shady Valley during his early years of teaching. He was born in 1887 and died in 1978. His wife Leita Cole (1889-1977) was a native of Shady Valley
Joe Swift traveled to the Philippines as a young man and worked there for six years as a trade school inspector and teacher. He came back to the States, married Leita Cole and they returned to the Philippines for five more years.
He and Aunt Leita came back and settled on a large farm in Southwest Virginia on Highway 11 (Lee Highway). They had six children all who are deceased.
Sugar Hollow Park and Campground is an ideal place for the Swift-Cole Reunions. It is a 400-acre park with the following features: Three softball fields, five soccer fields, one hundred picnic sites, six picnic shelters, seventy-five camp sites, a Waldo Miles Pavilion and a pool.
There were folks from Georgia and Richmond, Virginia. Those were from farthest away. Mary and I enjoyed the occasion very much and we look forward to attending next year.