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Gone, not forgotten

Just like it has every year, the New Amsterdam Remembrance Day parade began Saturday with two gun shots fired into the air.
But for the first time, the man pulling the trigger wasn’t Brent Shaffer. The tradition was passed down to his son, Charles A. (Andy) Shaffer.
‘That’s the way we do it in New Amsterdam,’ emcee Carl (Buck) Mathes said. ‘Now, you’ve officially started the parade.’
Brent Shaffer, who founded the event nine years ago with his wife, Faye, died two days after Remembrance Day a year ago. About a month later, Faye and their children decided Brent would want the festival to continue.
And continue it did, in a big way Saturday.
After the color guard presented the flags, the parade began with a float, constructed by Mulzer Crushed Stone employees, in honor of Shaffer.
‘When we stood here last year, we didn’t realize we’d be talking about him this year,’ Mathes said.
The float included Shaffer’s ‘New Amsterdam Patrol’ golf cart along with flowers, many pictures and a banner with Cassie Emily’s poem, ‘My Uncle Brent is Santa Claus.’ The poem affectionately ends with the lines, ‘He might resemble that jolly old man, but he’s not Santa at all, he’s my Uncle Brent and will always stand tall.’
The back of the float had a large sign which read, ‘In Remembrance of Brent Shaffer.’
The parade, which began as a way for ‘boys to play with their tractors,’ allowed that and more Saturday with nearly 40 entrants.
Mathes, a Corydon auctioneer and farmer who often provided historical facts about each tractor, car and driver, said what he liked most about the parade was that there was no organized police help.
‘He didn’t need any walkie-talkies,’ Mathes said of Shaffer. ‘We just have a good time here by ourselves.’
New to the festival this year was the selling of a Remembrance Day cookbook, which includesrecipes from local residents as well as stories about Shaffer. The second children’s fishing tournament was held, bus tours were given of the 700-acre Mulzer’s Quarry and Six Guns Entertainment performed two Wild West shows.
A large crowd lined the street for the parade and to check out the many craft, jewelry and antique booths. There was no shortage of food as Shaffer’s General Store served biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs and sausage and egg biscuits in the morning and New Amsterdam United Methodist Church served lunch in its fellowship hall. Many other vendors provided food throughout the day.
The Shaffers renovated and opened Shaffer’s General Store, the heartbeat of the quaint Ohio River town in western Harrison County, in 2000.
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