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Saturday Smorgasbord at Reba’s


My mom grew up in a large farm family (seven girls, one boy, one bathroom) and all of them learned to cook. So one of the first things you can expect when the Clan gathers for a major event is a big meal, somewhere. Aunt Reba got tagged this time…

We were only a few hours in the state when the call came in to go way up north of Lamar to the feast. All the way up to Irwin, in fact. As hungry as we were, it seemed like it was nearly to Kansas City, although Irwin isn’t even the other side of Nevada. Good thing the red car has a good road gear! I even found the proper side road to take on the first attempt. The grain elevator’s not there as a visual marker anymore, but I just followed my nose and we made it. From the number of cars in the yard we were almost too late, though.

It was good to see all the cousins and other relatives I hadn’t seen in ten years or more. Funny how they’re all getting older so much faster than me, though; must be the weather up here in Missouri, or something. Anyways, it was even better to see all the food on the kitchen counter. Special recipe mashed potatoes, with sour cream, cream cheese and butter in them. (I think the starch is in there just to glue the Good Stuff together.) Baked chicken. Sliced turkey. A brisket roast with vegetables. (That one was extra-juicy looking, and smelled delightful.) Coleslaw. Frog-eye salad. The works. Since we hadn’t stopped on the road overnight to eat (oh, don’t worry, we had snacks and drinks in the cooler), PJ and I were more than ready when the dinner bell finally rang.

These get-togethers aren’t about the food, so much, once they get going. People you haven’t seen in a decade or more have new stories, new kids (and grandkids) to brag about, fishing and hunting and football to discuss, and lots more. Arts and crafts over in that corner, crop issues around the dinner table, and somehow the Kansas City Chiefs at my table. Which is weird, as I was the only male-type creature there, and the rest admitted to being uninterested in the NFL. I guess maybe the topic was a compromise of some sort. Either that or we headed off in the wrong direction during all the clash and clatter of flatware on plates as we chowed down. (I know, it doesn’t make sense; but I was there, it really happened.)

Food and fellowship. Start with the talking, then add the food, then talk some more. Until somebody said they needed to see how much they could lower the water level in the ponds by removing fish. Car after car headed out, like a covey of quail breaking cover.

By the time PJ and I headed out to catch a reviving (and completely necessary) nap, we’d heard that they only had two fish (although the stories about the size of some of the lure strikes were already headed for legendary status) and were changing ponds to try some more…

Enjoy the (Country Cooking and Chat) Heat!


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