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      What is Swinkey?

      Swinkey Days for Kids ended Wednesday with 111 in attendance. / Photo courtesy of

      What is Swinkey?

      It TMs a question I often get. Swinkey is not a what but a where. In fact, it TMs barely a where.

      Swinkey is a little church community a few miles outside Monroe City, Mo. on Highway 24. On the map (if it makes the map, and most times it doesn TMt) it TMs called Indian Creek. Everyone calls it Swinkey though, after one of its original settlers. I TMm not sure of the current population, but the last census put the number of residents at 18. If you go to church at Swinkey, that makes you a Swinkian, which would push the population considerably higher.

      I come from Swinkey. Anyone who does is proud to say it. Our biggest claim to fame is the Swinkey picnic, which we just celebrated. This is the oldest continuous picnic in the state of Missouri. For more than 150 years, people have traveled to Swinkey for a fried chicken meal. It TMs just good old-fashioned fun, and for many kids, the event is bigger than Christmas. A visit to the picnic means the kids will come home with scads of trinkets they TMve won at games or got in a grab bag. These days, it TMs a bunch of cheapo stuff ordered from Oriental Trading Company. If you TMre looking for quality at the picnic, you TMll find it at the meal and the in company, not from the prizes. Swinkey is also gaining a reputation for its challenging fall corn maze .

      Those of us who hail from Swinkey like to think there is no other place in the world quite like it. I TMm biased, beyond a reasonable doubt. I guess, though, Swinkey is like other tiny little villages where life centers around the church and the neighbors. A casserole is the cure to anything that ails you, whether it TMs a death in the family or child birth. Swinkey women who have babies can expect homemade, home-delivered meals for a month.

      Though it seems like time stands still in Swinkey, it has in fact changed a lot, even since my childhood. Most of the women don TMt get to stay at home to raise their children any more. Not many of the men can farm full time. The kids are raised on the internet, computer games and iPods. But, like so many other small communities, it TMs the spirit that makes it home, even if it TMs not a place on the map or a detour on the information superhighway. Swinkey is not a what or really even a where. Swinkey is a state of mind.

      Take care~Sarah D.