Supper Club 6: Scalloped Potatoes, Ham and Gordy
It was 5:10 on Supper Club evening, and the Frame Church Kitchen was in its customary state of chaos. The ham was cold; the potatoes were crunchy; the carrots were frozen, and we were 20 minutes from service time. Having not much to do, I wandered aimlessly and tried not to take up too much space. I stopped by Kelly’s scalloped potato station to ease her visual anxiety, assuring her that the potatoes would be fantastic; they would be ready whenever they were ready, and the people would just have to wait until then. Besides, the soup and bread would be a nice starter in the meantime.
I was approached by Donna P., who had just put the finishing touches on the dining room and beverage table, and needed a task. I started jotting down the Menu and Producers List for her to transpose into something aesthetically pleasant for display at our service table.
Spicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup
Baked Smoked Ham
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Asher’s Ginger Carrots
Pickled Green Beans
Baked Rice Pudding with Pear Sauce
It sounded fantastic. I handed her the scribbled scrap and started on the producer/supplier list.
Ham- Nami Moon Farm
Sweet Potatoes and Rice- Stevens Point Area Coop
Carrots- Red Door Farm
Garlic, Onions, Beans- Rising Sand Organics
Cheese- Feltz’s Dairy Store
“Hey Kelly, where did we get these potatoes again?”
She smiled and reddened slightly. “Daddio’s…”
“Wait, like, Daddio’s Repair Shop?”
“Yeah, Anna gave them to me when we picked up the truck; she didn’t want to deal with the all the eyes they were growing.”
Potatoes- Daddio’s Repair Shop.
By 5:30 a good crowd had amassed and made themselves at home, chatting amicably as they awaited the arrival of the Potato. Our guests’ hunger and expectation were tempered, thankfully, by the distraction of conversation, and they didn’t seem to notice our awkward service style, as the soup came out first, followed by dessert and roasted potatoes, and finally ham and scalloped potatoes a good while later. By the time I decided to eat, most guests had probably been through the line at least three times as the courses had trickled out. I fixed my plate and found a spot by some friendly acquaintances.
The food was phenomenal and the company superb. We ate slowly and talked quickly about society and day jobs, the dream of self-employment, and general buds of radical activity in the community. So immersed was I in the feast and chatter that the takeover was well underway by the time it tickled the tentacles of my perception. It was Gordy. He had, somehow, materialized in our circle and made his way seamlessly to the center. He was well his soliloquy by the time I realized what had happened.
“See, I rolled into Wisconsin in nineteen seventy…
“Back then, gas was $0.26/gallon, and…
On it went. By the end, I’d finished my meal and sat silently, observing with fascination this man who had made a home so naturally in the center of our energies.
“…so now a silver dollar is worth $6-something; gas is $2-something a gallon, and maple syrup has stayed steady while the dollar just falls, falls, falls. I don’t remember exactly where I was going with that, but it’s interesting.”
It was interesting.
At this critical juncture, I took the opportunity to escape back to the kitchen. By now the Brawley boys had arrived and were rowdily tackling the endless stream of dishes pouring in from every direction, and it seemed everything was under control. Pointless once more, I wandered, chatted and assessed the scene from the safe vantage of the kitchen. By now the older crowd had begun to disperse; replaced by some of our younger friends and a few last-minute stragglers. The music had changed; the scene had changed, and the elevated level of chatter brought an intensified air of chaos to the basement. The only constant through the transition, it seemed, was Gordy.
He was everywhere. I’d see a group of young folks engaged in lively, passionate discussion, and there would be Gordy, at the center, every time.
I’d turn my back for a second, and there would be Gordy, in the kitchen, engaging one-on-one or taking us all on at once. I’d be three minutes deep in a conversation before realizing it had been Gordy on the other end the whole time. There I was again, trapped within the boundless confines of his smirkingly sneaky, silver-haired hypnosis. He was omnipresent.
As this all played out, the crowd and volunteers dispersed, and our concentrated crew carried out the late stages of cleanup: vacuuming, sweeping, leftover delegation, and dishes. Through it all, Gordy remained and thrived at the center; an oddly integral non-participant to the duties at-hand.
After wiping the last of the counters and doing our final once-over, we made our exit, carting the leftovers and linens to our vehicles. I was finishing my last goodbyes with Susan, the Pastor, when Kelly approached politely. “Hey, sorry, but I’m gonna start this thing up.” She gestured towards the huge farm truck, parked obtrusively in the first row, bed filled to the gills with compost buckets. “It could be kinda loud.”
With that, she hopped into our bucket-loaded, single-mirror, squeal-free 350-XL, fired up and roared slowly out. Somehow, from behind the dissipating cloud of exhaust left in her wake, Gordy had disappeared, and Supper Club had come to an end.