Monday, December 24, 2007

Potatoes and Other Goodies

It's a good thing that dinner on Christmas Eve was Ned's mother-in-law's homemade bean tacos. I don't think I could have looked at another potato.

(No that's not me--I wish)

I presented myself to the Veterans Memorial Center at 9 a.m. and spent the next 3-plus hours up close and personal with a lot of potatoes. First was to open the sacks and dump them in the sink, then wash each potato, then cut them up in tiny pieces to be cooked for the Community Meal dinner later that day.

I have a new respect for new Navy recruits! (Or has Haliburton taken over food prep for the military now...?)

Unaccustomed as I am to sustained physical labor, and not having had a break all morning, I limped home at noon and collapsed, leaving the second shift to continue the food preparation.

I went back at 4:30 to take photos of the event.

I just love this event. Each year Shelly and Ellen, who are in charge of the event, seem to top the previous year. Last year they served over 800 people, and I'm sure they exceeded that number this year. They were already lined up out to the street when I arrived.

Inside, people were putting the finishing touches on the tables.

The community servers were at their stations ready to serve food.

Musicians were on stage getting ready to perform.

Then the doors opened and the food serving began.

The "official counter" told me 30 minutes into the meal that she had already counted over 400 people--and it was going on for another 2 hrs. There were community leaders, and people who looked like they were down on their luck, unkempt and unwashed. There were families with little and singles and people who didn't speak English well.

In the end there was the huge dessert table, filled with homemade treats that people had brought.

I only stayed for about an hour and a half because we were going to Ned's in-laws' for dinner. It was a much smaller group this time. Even Ned didn't come because he was home recovering from food poisoning. So there were only 8 of us, versus the rowdy group from previous years, which required two tables in order to seat everyone.

It was so biting cold and everyone had things to do early in the morning so Walt and I made an executive decision not to go to the cemetery tonight, but we'll stop by on the way to Sacramento tomorrow.

We were home by 11 and now, at midnight, I'm going to start mixing brine for the turkey and, perhaps, bake the pumpkin pie. (I might wait until morning to do the baking, though).

Chunk's Christmas present is that her intestinal tract seems to be returning to normal. That will make it much easier to take to Christmas dinner tomorrow.

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