Teamwork, sacrifice and help with the mashed potatoes

It was grueling. It was long. It was exhausting. But it’s over. The annual Meire Grove Church Supper is in the books for another year.

This year our chicken dinner was on Palm Sunday versus the usual two-Sundays-after-Easter date because that would have put it on the same Sunday as confirmation and the bishop’s schedule takes precedence over our preference.

By Rita Meyer

We would have been short a lot of workers — and eaters — had we kept the date it was originally planned for. And there is no perfect day. There’s always lots of competition for people’s dining dollars it seems. Personally, I liked the Palm Sunday date. I was able to offer up this very small “cross” prior to the holiest of holy weeks. Easter was indeed an occasion for rejoicing, celebrating and praising God.

This was my second year as a St. Mary’s Society officer. I think I was in a fog last year due to my newness and the shock factor upon realizing the amount of work that goes into a production like this. I feel I absorbed a lot more information this time around. Or at least I hope so because the next two years are mine as president.

As any person who’s ever helped to orchestrate a fundraiser knows, these things take time. And effort. And sacrifice. And teamwork.

Lucky for me, the ladies of St. John the Baptist Parish know what they’re doing. We received many compliments on the chicken, the dressing, the real mashed potatoes, (not too many parishes still peel 350 pounds of spuds and then mash ‘em up — stay tuned though for a little “paying it forward” story on the potato masher), the gravy, the creamed peas, not to mention the homemade pies.

Hard-working women and men. That’s how I would describe our parishioners. They take pride in their work. The problem is, our members continue to age and that means fewer folks to do the same amount of work.

The ladies of my generation are fewer and fewer. Plus, we value our weekends and our family time. An event like this starts well before the actual date. There’s the meetings to plan the work schedules, phone calls to make, trips to town to buy the groceries and supplies, marketing of the event — and that’s all prior to the start of the marathon weekend that begins with cutting up the chicken on Friday night and runs through cleaning up the kitchen on Monday morning. Trying to find officer replacements willing to commit to a four-year term is getting more difficult all the time.

Back to the potato masher. What could have been a major problem turned into a heart-warming moment. On Saturday morning when one of the ladies turned on the large mixer to mince the onions for the dressing, it popped. The verdict is still out yet on whether it was a bearing or a belt, but the bottom line was that it wasn’t going to be turning the boiled potatoes into mashed potatoes anytime soon.

One of the officers called a friend of hers from St. Alexius Parish in West Union, where they do a large fall festival with real mashed potatoes as well. The reply: “Oh, we have to help them out. What if that was to happen to us?”

So, you kind folks from West Union, if your mixer — or whatever piece of equipment — takes a nose dive during your next big function, know that the folks from Meire Grove will help you out any way we can.

Blessings to all of you that supported our church supper this year. Hope to see you again next year!

Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 17 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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