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.