Being as how we love to sing and don’t mind too much helping out now and again, Randa and I decided we’d pitch in for a fund-raising supper over at South Haven last night. The “God Squad,” a group of teens and tweeners, are working to finance a trip over to the Noah’s Ark replica in northern Kentucky. Apparently, they are trying to arrange some sort of transportation that won’t include hitchhiking eight hundred miles.
So, we joined in with the local superintendent to form the Dorsey Burgess Trio. Dorsey is a heck of a musician and singer who plays guitar and acoustic bass, though rarely at the same time. He also has a great sense of humor. Like many talented artists who have blended formal training with a whale of a lot of time playing bluegrass, he’s quick to pick up a new tune and find a harmony part. In other words, the dude is a lot of fun to perform with.
The God Squad and their fearless leader, Pam Knoffloch, teamed up with another fearless leader, Debbie Ray, who owns the Muffintop Bakery in South Haven. Debbie managed the kitchen crew and they fixed green beans, potatoes and steak with brown gravy. For dessert, there was what I think was a pumpkin or sweet potato cake/pie with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Whatever it was, it was good. I think Dorsey ate three or four pieces of it but I may be exaggerating slightly.
A good crowd showed up and sure seemed to enjoy the meal and our music. Even though we were doing the show without a PA system, I think folks could catch enough of the melody and lyrics to figure out what song we were singing. We mixed in some humor songs, including a really fun parody, “Ghost Chickens in the Sky,” some classic rock and folk, a country song or two, and threw in an old gospel medley for good measure.
We took a break and Pam and her team started awarding door prizes with the grandest prize being a biplane ride claimed by little Cash Dvorak. Then, Richard Theurer began auctioning off donated items. There were handmade Afghans, custom stenciled windows made by Cash’s grandmom, a DeWalt impact driver, giant Rubbermaid patio bench and storage box, a WaterPik water flosser, a good variety of other things and several homemade pies. There was much good-natured banter and Richard is the most entertaining auctioneer I’ve ever watched.
“Keep those hands up, folks; I’ll tell you when to stop,” he quipped. His humor and subtle manipulation kept things going, with some good-natured competition among the audience members. Pam’s husband, Rick, bought a sour cream and raisin pie for fifty bucks. (I think Cash’s great-grandmom might have made it.) A combination hotel and Branson show package brought in over two hundred dollars. Altogether, the combined auction and supper sales brought in seventeen hundred and fifty-two bucks for the young folks! Not bad for a town with a reported population of under four hundred people. The kids had worked hard with the preparing and the serving and as far as I can tell, deserve every penny.
It’s a wonderful thing when folks work together for a good cause and it seems easier to get them working together when they know and love the people they’re trying to help. It wasn’t some ambiguous, dubious purpose. It wasn’t something being done for anonymous, faceless, unknown beneficiaries. These are our kids and grandkids, our neighbors’ kids. The kids we see on teams, in school plays, and in church.
After the auctioning and door prizing, most of the folks were up and milling around. Some leaned against the walls and chatted with each other. Some sat at their tables and conversed. Neighbors being neighbors, visiting and sharing. Socializing and strengthening the ties that help hold a community together. Good folks doing something good together.