Last night we had a potluck supper at our church. I always love those sorts of things – good food, good fellowship. One of my favorite Christmas traditions was the potluck supper for the whole town of Red River.
Yep, the whole town turns out at the Community House. People come out of the woodwork for this event. People whom you haven’t seen all year will turn out. Everyone brings food and the Women’s Club provides ham. For serving tables, sheets of plywood are set on sawhorses. Picture two sets tables that are 4’x 8’ lined up end to end down one side of the building with food piled high. The rest of the large building is filled with tables and chairs for people to eat at. The tables are decorated with homemade Christmas centerpieces made by the Women’s Club. Every inch of space is used for seating. The back of the building is smaller and is used for a stage area where the school kids put on a Christmas program. Santa makes his entrance and a photographer is on hand to take pictures. All of this takes place a couple of weeks before Christmas, because RR is a resort town. The minute public schools let out, the town will be filled with tourist for the beginning of the ski season. Everyone is then too busy to do much socializing after the season kicks off. But for that one night, everyone comes together for food and fun.
I have some great memories of those gatherings and thought I would share a few. My earliest memory of the Christmas dinner in RR is about 1969. It was held at the ski area lodge rather than the Community House - probably because the CH did not have winterized bathrooms back then. I remember playing outside while moms decorated the inside. We kids were supposed to be rehearsing for the Christmas play. I was playing outside on the bunny slope, when I slipped and fell hitting my face. I don’t remember the play or the food or the gathering, but I do remember playing with the other town kids – especially the Waltz kids who were all knew to the town.
My next memories of the Christmas supper were years later when Toby and I moved back to RR in 1986. Bo was in the Christmas play, and he always took it very seriously, but Jesse was not in school yet. The next year when she was five, she played the part of Mary. Basically her part was to stand there next to another kindergartner playing the part of Joseph and look cute while the other kids sang songs and told the story of Jesus’ birth. At some point she picked up a piece of straw from the crib and started "directing" the choir. Joseph reached over and pushed her arm down letting her know that she was not suppose to be playing with the straw. Jesse then poked the kid in the face with the straw letting him know that he better not mess with her. I can remember thinking, "Oh my gosh! She is going to fight." But Joseph backed down - smart boy. We do have it on tape.
Then there was the year that I made several trays of enchiladas for the supper. As I was unloading the car, Jack Griffith asked if he could help by carrying something for me. I thought he was being very nice and gave him a tray of enchiladas. When I got inside, several people where oohing and awing over the enchiladas that Jack had made. He was standing there with a big grin taking credit for the enchiladas. Smart man!
Red River can be very much like one big family – they may fuss and fight, but they do come together in times of crisis and times of fun.