Every year our small town library has a fund raising soup supper at the grade school. We attended last night, for the second time, (the last time we went we met neighbors that have since turned into sweet friends.) The weather was less than optimal; snow, freezing rain, dicey roads. Attendance was not huge, but those there were obviously enjoying the diversion of a long winter night.
We paid at the door, $6. Plastic school trays and bowls were stacked at the end of a series of long tables. There was an impressive array of crock pots lined up, each brimming with some lovingly cooked soup or stew. Haddock chowder, white bean and ham, sausage and kale, squash soup...and so much more. The line of us ladled our choices out carefully. The next table had slices of sour dough bread, sticks of butter on paper plates, and an array of brownies and cookies for dessert. It was a simple meal, perfect for the season.
Small children ran about the open space, tumbling in packs like puppies. The adults, all sensibly dressed in sturdy boots, polar fleece, and heavy jackets, chatted with neighbors. I overheard discussions about growing squash, raising geese, cooking barbeque. Laughter peppered the air.
After the meal there would be a cake auction. The best bakers in town bring their offerings, which are then lined up on the stage. "I'm going to bid on ___'s cake," my friend said, smiling wistfully. "Hers are the best!"
One of the local characters volunteers his time each year to act as auctioneer. He does a great job, and people end up happily paying $100 or more for a cake. Lots of cheering ensues as the library budget gets plumped by plates of confections. Every day that I wake up in this wee town in Maine I send up silent thanks that I am here in this place. The soup supper is one more thing to be grateful for.