Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stirring the pot

I've been accused of stirring the pot sometimes. But today, I left the pot stirring to the experts, my dad and my brother. We made 164 quarts of brunswick stew today as a fundraiser. I made it to my parents' house at the unhuman hour of 5:15 to help my dad get started. It had started raining during the night, which didn't bode well for our yard sale, also scheduled today, but perfect weather for stew. My brother met us up there, and before he got started, he had the very healthy breakfast of champions. No, not Wheaties, leftover sesame chicken!
Yeah, Dad didn't get it either. I think he was slightly sickened by the thought. I was just upset J didn't offer to share. But anyway, soon the pot was bubbling away with chicken, beef, potatoes and onions. We took turns stirring, and soon some friends from church showed up to help stir. Once you add in the rest of the veggies (tomatoes, corn, crowder peas, butter beans) it gets really hard to stir. You have to continually keep stirring to prevent it from scorching. Here's my dad and my brother J stirring. Those are handmade paddles they are using. I think they could be used to row the Titanic!

Dad has been making a huge pot of brunswick stew for over 30 years. It's an annual tradition that he and his brother both do. We used my uncle's pot this time since it's bigger than Dad's 25 gallon pot. Yes, they are serious about their stew! Every fall, Dad does his stew, and invites family and friends over for a night of good food and fun. His friends from church help stir all day (it takes about 7 hours to make, constantly stirring the whole time). Once it's ready, everyone sits down with their saltine crackers and digs in. There are always plenty of desserts that the women contribute, and sometimes we have someone brave enough to play a little music, we play cards and board games. It's a night that we look forward to all year. As popular as it is, it's always a good fundraiser. We did one back in the fall for our girl scout troop and got more orders than we could fill! And even thought it's very hard work, my dad offered to do one for Sam and Duncan. Dear friends from church even donated money for the ingredients, so that we could keep every bit of money raised. They showed up today to help stir, and by 11:00 it was ready.

The rain stopped, the sun came out, and people start showing up to the yard sale! My wonderful mother in law  (my second mom) made some cakes and cookies, and they were gone quick! Her lemon pound cake, oh my goodness!! And my youngest was so excited to finally get her chance to help out in her own way for the boys, her coffee and lemonade stand. It was a big success, of course!

None of it would have been a success without our family and friends. We are so grateful to all of them for their help and support. There were two moments that really stood out for me. I have a sweet friend, a single mom raising her son by herself, which is hard enough anyway, and on top of that her son has CP and autism. If anyone could say, gee I'd like to help but just can't, it should be her. But she made a very generous donation, from her son to Duncan, and that meant the world to me. We had several very generous donations like that today, all from those who really didn't have it to spare. Medical bills for family members, limited income, all reasons to save their money. But they chose to help the boys instead. I'm crying again just thinking about them! And the other moment from today: Our 18 year old nephew came and stayed for a long time, hanging out, helping people carry containers of stew out to their cars, and doing whatever else we could find for him to do. He and I were talking, and he said "so when are we bringing them home?" I told him what we hoped the timeline would be, and we talked some more. A couple more times in the conversation he used the term "we", not "you" or "ya'll". I just loved that. He's as excited as we are, and so supportive, he knows this is something our whole family should be involved in. He's such a sweet young man, and I don't get to spend nearly as much time with him as I'd like. I know he will be such a great help to the boys, hanging out with them and showing them around.

Today was about family and friends helping each other. We couldn't have done it without them! Tonight I thank God for each and every one of them that came out today to help us. 


  1. All I can say is, "Praise the Lord for family, friends, and a support system!" I can't imagine life without friends and family who are supportive :)

  2. What an awesome update! Sounds like an awesome day, and what a great fundraiser, family, friends coming together all in support of you and bringing your boys home. How awesome to have that support. SO glad that it went well. God bless! btw. I'm so excited to keep updated on your boys! They are going to thrive with you, they already seem like such awesome young guys! and your nephew....his phrasing...priceless. love it

  3. What wonderful family and friends you all are blessed with. Mmmm...Stew sure does sound delicious! I am praising the a Lord also for your support and your nephew's kind heart for Sam and Duncan. Can't wait to finally see them home. Will continure to pray for you all.

  4. What a beautiful way to bring your boys home. Love the huge stew pot and I Love how your nephew sees this as a "we" thing! God bless!

  5. Thanks!! Keeping you all in my prayers this week for a very smooth process. I am so excited for yall!! (And of course can get lots of pictures of EVERYONE there lol)

  6. Leftover sesame chicken is the best breakfast ever!

  7. You should have seen Papa's face though. THAT's what I should have gotten a picture of. lol

  8. Oh, yum, Brunswick stew! Can't get it here in Ky, but oh, my, the Halifax Co. memories from my childhood days at my grandmother's house.Nothing better...

    Except maybe using Brunswick stew to help bring your boys home. Wish I were closer; I'd surely stock up!

    Susan in Ky
    Cousin to 2 from EE