Doug’s dining diary an Iowa stew of family, food, guns, God

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LaVerne Abernathy. 107, of Cedar Rapids is Doug Wood's grandmother's aunt.


Hello, dinner fans. Dining Doug here. I have heard there are several people who read this column and enjoy hearing about the various area dinners. Some of you have requested that we put out a notice in ThePerryNews.com about these upcoming dinners.

For this time of year, it is hard because we only see notices for these dinners posted at area gas stations and on other area websites.

For Thanksgiving time, I can probably do this.

I can tell you that the Bouton breakfasts are held the first Saturday of the month startling October. Each year on Memorial Day, the Rippey UMC and Grand Junction Presbyterian Church host dinners.

The Rippey UMC will be hosting an ice cream social Sunday, June 9 in the evening. They also host one each September.

I do not know of other dinners in the area except for the Heartland Church of Christ in Perry, which hosts an evening dinner on the second Wednesday of every month.

When I am not dining, I go to a lot of gun shows. They have a website called Gun Show Trader that keeps gun lovers informed about most gun shows in Iowa. ThePerryNews.com needs to develop a Dinners across Iowa calendar.

The Perry Knights of Columbus Lenten fish fries were held beginning Friday, March 8. This started the spring dinner craze. As always, two types of fish were served — baked and fried — plus grilled cheese and a special item cooked by Father Chris each week. The week of April 5 was the macaroni and cheese. I really did like the occasions when he had his homemade tomato soup.

I made it to six fish fries this year. I think the last time I missed one was in 2010. I would have made that one except Jeff Webster picked me up at the airport and wanted to go to Red Lobster. I think Jeff confessed this sin to Father Dave in confession the next week. I myself speak only to God.

I remember one time Dan and I went to Chicago with Jeff. We attended a Saturday evening service at the Holy Name Cathedral. Jeff went to confession, and I think that we waited for 45 minutes. I did win one of the 50/50 drawings at St. Pat’s this year. It was the first time ever for me to be so blessed.

I saw the high school musical “Seussical” later that evening. It was very well done and good to see so many students involved.

The Bouton Breakfast was held April 6. They had their usual breakfast items. I really liked the biscuits and gravy. Jim Caufield sat next to me, and Merle Kent Shawd sat across from him. They talked about the steady decline of the print newspaper business, and Jim called the President Trump an enemy of the free press.

That evening there was a chicken and noodle dinner at Erly Chapel south of Perry. Dan and I got there, and we got our numbers and were ushered in. I dropped in my donation and went to the restroom. When I came out and was going to get back in line, two ladies came down and told me that I had to wait upstairs. I told them that they had just directed me to come in. They would not listen.

I think they thought that I came in the side door and was trying to violate the sacred rules of church dinner queues. So I waited while Dan was wondering why I was waiting. One of the ladies finally realized what happened and let me in. I was just about ready to leave, but I cooled my righteous indignation with a few private words with the Almighty.

It was a good dinner, with a lot of choices of salads and desserts.

The next day was April 7, and a roast beef dinner was held after church services at the Churdan United Methodist Church. You have to get a number and wait until they call you to the basement because the basement is relatively small. They serve a great family style dinner, with very tender roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and a lot of other items.

The minister of this church is a very wonderful man. He is from Sri Lanka and had to flee the country several years ago because he is a Christian. Just recently there were bombings by Muslims of Christian Churches on Easter. This dinner is an annual event and worth the drive. Happily, no Muslims disrupted out Iowa dining pleasure this year.

On Saturday, April 13, I went to the Washington Township breakfast. Dan will not attend a breakfast unless it is the Bouton Breakfast. They had eggs and different types of pancakes. I had the blueberry pancakes, sausage and I do not know what else. They were raising money for the upkeep of the building.

A Minburn poster advertised a fundraiser for the town’s 150th year anniversary. Perry’s 150th year anniversary is this also year along with the Perry First Untied Methodist Church. I know 50 years ago, when the towns turned 100 across Iowa, there was a lot of work put into the celebrations. I do not think that people have as much interest in this type of thing as previous generations. A lot of people nowadays would not see anything relevant in this.

That same morning was the Perry Firefighters Association breakfast. They had biscuits and gravy and eggs. It was good but after eating the previous breakfast at Washington Township School, I was none too hungry. They were raising funds for equipment. They had a nice display of their equipment during this event.

I just hope that next year the firefighters breakfast is not held on the same day as the Washington Township breakfast. Two breakfasts on the same day and then not another one for months — it is a feast-or-famine situation of almost Biblical proportions.

On Saturday, April 20, I went back to Vinton for Easter. My Grandmother Vest passed away in 2002. She still has an aunt who is living at the age of 107. She lives in Cedar Rapids and still lives alone with the help of others who come in. I had not seen her for many years but recently made connection with her. We had a nice visit. I need to call her again soon. She fell and broke her hip while mopping her kitchen floor at 105. She has recovered and can walk and returned home after rehab.

My Grandmother Vest’s grandfather died in 1899 at the age of 30. Her grandmother had three girls who were all small. My great-grandmother was around 2 when her father died. My great-great-grandmother married a widower who had three boys. They then had six boys and a girl together.

This aunt who is 107 married my great-grandmother’s half-brother, who was 14 years younger than my great-grandmother. This aunt attended school with my grandmother and is two years older than she. She is an interesting lady who keeps up on the times.

The next week, the Rippey Lions Club had a breakfast, and Minburn had a fundraiser for the 150 year celebration and the Dexter UMC had a dinner on Sunday. I had to go to Vinton again because we had family visiting from Missouri, but Dan attended the Minburn and Dexter dinners and dropped off my donations. I have no pictures or reviews of these dinners.

I got my family to pose for a picture. My brother was not too happy about it. I suggest every so often when you are around family that you take some pictures together. You will treasure them later.

More dinners are coming in May.

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