Every community has milestones observed with unquestioning devotion, and our town is no exception. One such tradition is the annual Rotary Club Pancake Day held at our VFW Hall.
The event reeks of nostalgia so thick, you have to wipe it away like smoke from a flattop griddle. While this is my third year working at the event, it’s the first time I noticed how well it embodies our community.
I saw volunteers rise at the crack of dawn to make sure the doors opened at 6:30 a.m. I saw familiar faces pay twenty dollars for an eight-dollar meal and say, “keep the change.” In a time when young people are judged harshly, I watched high school students serve pancakes and wipe tables with a smile. Many people handed over canned goods to help the Ministerial Alliance.
Two waitresses that serve lunch during our weekly meetings attended dutifully. We tried to pay for their breakfast, which resulted in a stalemate of generosity.
“Don’t worry about it. We got you covered,” I said.
“I appreciate it, but I guess I’ll be making a donation,” she said while forcing money into my partner’s hand. The whole exchange made me smile. It’s gratifying to watch people who work hard for their money give it away with conviction.
Shortly after that, I was startled by a round of applause. I looked up to see a septuagenarian Club member ride a unicycle through the hall. You don’t see that every day (he also has a penchant for launching pancakes towards customers brave enough to play catch).
I stole a glimpse of a gentleman carefully preparing his flapjacks with butter and syrup. He quietly bowed his head to say grace. You recognize genuine moments when you see them. I saw families, friends, and long-lost acquaintances break bread in the ancient dining hall. In a modern, hectic world, it’s enjoyable to watch people share a meal with families and friends.
There is beauty in the ordinary. Next year people will gather and repeat this time-honored tradition. I encourage you to stop by and watch simple pancake batter inspire community goodwill.