Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

Best Meal Ever follows Turkey Bingo in a Church Basement

on January 3, 2020

This Column was originally published in Agweek on November 23, 2019


Thanksgiving can bring many debates about food at the gathering table. Those debates surrounding food can be what foods to phase in or phase out. Mashed potatoes versus baked potatoes. Cranberries fresh or from the can, jellied or berries. (I prefer jellied cranberries and it has to be a certain brand.) Marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes or no marshmallows. Stuffing or dressing (yes there is a difference between the two.) Bake the turkey or deep fry the turkey. Green bean casserole or no green bean casserole. Oh, the desserts galore.

What time do families gather around the table to eat can be debated in families.

There is one thing for sure that isn’t debated about food is what meal is the best on the planet. This particular meal is only delicious in a church basement or fellowship hall. This simple meal is a sandwich with lunch meat and butter, a pickle on the side, a dessert bar, with milk or watered-down Kool-Aid and, of course, coffee. This meal is always served after turkey bingo at a church.

The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving parishes around Central Minnesota are offering your chance to win a turkey for Thanksgiving. Twenty games and each game wins a turkey.

I love bingo. I especially love turkey bingo. I always smile when someone yells “Bingo” because the crowd groans and moans and carries on how they didn’t win. This is the only game where your disappointment is greatly shown of not winning while the winner smiles all the way to “That’s a good Bingo.”

You can feel in the air during a bingo game when someone will yell “Bingo” soon. The bingo players begin to become silent. All you can hear is the tumble of Bingo balls waiting to be called. You can hear each Bingo card close the plastic window hoping to win a turkey for Thanksgiving. The watchful eyes of moms making sure their children didn’t miss a number called.

With the excitement building, wondering who will yell, “Bingo!” When someone yells “Bingo,” the instant moan of not winning fills the room. The hum of players shuffling in their chair explaining to the person next to them how close they were fills the air. Each player saying how many times they were one number away. Some players begin to rise from their chairs to change out their Bingo card in hopes of a better card before the next game begins.

After all the games are played and no more turkeys to be won. The group waits for the best meal on earth. A sandwich, a pickle, and a bar.

I have often wondered how this simple meal tastes so good in a church basement. When I make this meal at home, it isn’t considered a meal; it is at times considered a disappointment.

So why is it so delicious in a church basement? It is because of the fellowship we share with others. It is the time and smiles we share with others that make the moments and food delicious. Not the food.





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