During the great depression the folks at the Easton United Methodist Church decided to treat their community to a good meal. The entire world was in financial difficulties that can hardly be believed today. Americans were actually dying from starvation! In an iron pot, out-of-doors, church members cooked beans which their neighbors could enjoy for free, or for a contribution if they were able. The beans were served with corn bread and a fresh vegetable relish with a wide assortment of scruptious, home-made desserts.
The church still continues bean suppers spring and fall. Not because their neighbors are threatened with starvation but because the same folks who cooked the beans in the 30's still have a desire to serve their community. Even though attendance at the Sunday Worship service will average less than 40, those who come for beans will number in the hundreds. And, why not? What a feast!
The beans will be laced with ham. The corn bread will be made from recipes passed down from generation to generation. I put a tablespoon of vinegar in mine. The relishes, including copious amounts of chopped, sweet onions, will be fresh. And, the desserts! Wow! An eight foot table will be completely covered with servings of every kind of pie you can imagine. Of course there will be apple, peach and cherry. There will also be raisin, strawberry, elder berry and rhubarb. There will be an assortment of cream pies. There will be cakes and all kinds of puddings. Each homemade delight will reflect the pride of the contributor. The church pays for the uncooked beans but all the desserts, corn bread, relishes and the cooking of the beans are donated.
My last turn of corn bread came out of the oven after midnight. My six pounds of beans along with hugh chunks of ham went on the stove at 7:00AM. Around 10:00AM I'll commence to bake two pies, an apple and a peach. Then, I'll chop about 3 pounds of onions. Suffering with siatica, I'll not be able to wash dishes this year. The membership works in two, 2 hour shifts that are more social than work. I will miss the comradeship with those who keep clearing the tables of dirty dishes and with those who dry the sterilized dishes, returning them to the service table.
Although contributions will amount to maybe $500, the opportunity to serve our fellow man is the true blessing. In recent years one entire donation went to a local family stressed with the medical costs of cancer and another year the entire donation went to the victims of hurricane Katrina. It is the American way, the Christian way and the way of the Easton United Methodist Church.
May you know the joy of giving.