Friday, July 15, 2016

Webb City Sentinel market column - 7/15/16

My, what a storm we had come through town yesterday. Lighting (thankfully at a distance), thunder, a downpour of rain that lasted for what seemed like a very long time. We stayed relatively dry under the pavilion although vendors on the west side ended up pretty damp unless they had the foresight to bring a tarp to block the rain or rain coats. In the middle of it all, we began to hear what we thought was an alarm. “Is that a tornado siren?”  It didn’t sound quite right but it was hard to hear because of the sound of the storm and the crowd, yes, there was a crowd at the market despite the storm. I reached in my pocket to check the internet on my phone and it was sounding an alarm – “Severe thunderstorm alert”. You don’t say?  And that’s what the sound that we mistook for the tornado siren was. We probably had 200 cell phones sounding alarms in pavilion (inside our pockets)!

As the storm began to move out, the lovely new bus of the Heritage Y pulled up with over 50 kids for lunch. We consulted and decided that a short tour of the market was in order. With the storm still in evidence, I wanted the children to have the extra protection of the pavilion before they headed to the kids tent. So Market Manager David Hill and I split the group and gave them a tour. It was mostly visual because it was still quite noisy in the pavilion, made more so by 50+ excited little voices. But we all had a good time. My group visited Rush Egg Farm and they learned that the Rush’s chickens produce almost 1,000 eggs a week. We stopped by E & O where Owen let them feel the difference between the rough netted surface of a cantaloupe and the smooth surface of a watermelon. Then we finished off at the Lee table where they got to see long beans and the warty bitter melons. Right on cue the storm lifted. We made a quick dash through and over puddles to the tent where our meal professionals and volunteers had plates full of food ready for the children.
Thanks to the sandbags loaned to us for the summer by the city public works department, the ground under the tent was relatively dry. After quick wipe down of the damp tables, the kids sat down to a meal of hot dogs, cantaloupe, sliced lunchbox sweet peppers and tomato and cucumber salad.

Of course numbers were down yesterday due to the weather but we still had an amazing number of people come. Thank goodness for loyal customers. Even the kids meal was remarkably well attended – in addition to the Y kids, we had over 100 children eat lunch!

I have a charming story to tell you about the kids lunch. Tuesday one of our post office employees appeared at my office. A local church had an event and they had hot dog buns left over. Apparently thinking of the post office’s annual food drive which was several months ago, the church dropped the buns off at the post office instructing them to deliver the buns to a worthy cause.

Of course the post office doesn’t normally make deliveries that are not accompanied by stamps, but this creative employee came to see me and lo and behold, we had hot dogs on the menu for the kids meal. I took the buns and put them to good use. So thank you, church, thank you, post office, and thank you, postal worker who went the extra mile.

It all reminded me of something that happened 30 years ago back before information was as readily available as it is now on the internet. Someone had held a UNICEF Halloween party and called the Methodist Church to find out where to send the money raised. The church secretary didn’t know and told her to call city hall. City hall informed them that I was in charge of UNICEF in Webb City, which was news to me, so she called me and I knew where to send it. It took me a long time to figure out how city hall came to crown me queen of UNICEF. Finally I remembered that then mayor Bill Lundstrum had been to a UNICF party at my place that same year so he knew I would have the information. Isn’t living in a small town great?  I actually don’t know for sure Bill was at the party. But his wife Betty was there and was staying pretty close to a gorilla. The gorilla never revealed himself and spent a good deal of time riding up and down the elevator, crowding whoever was in it with him into a corner, but I’m pretty sure that was the mayor.
Well, sad to say there will be no gorillas at the market this week (photo - and blackberry season will soon be over so stock up now). There will, however, be a ton of cantaloupe and watermelon and other goods things. Did you know we have some of the best tamales in Missouri at the market?  The Red Tamale is at every market with a selection of different meats, heats, and flavors. For the daring they even have ghost pepper tamales. They also have vegan tamales and even dessert tamales.
Tomorrow Cooking for a Cause benefits the PEO college scholarship program. You’ll be well served because many of their volunteers have served several market breakfasts already this year and many more over the years. They are a group of very community-minded ladies and volunteer their time for many causes. Breakfast runs from 9 to 11. It includes biscuits and gravy, sausage, market eggs cooked to order, slices of Tim Green’s heirloom tomatoes and coffee or juice for under $5.

We’ll have a full morning of music. JR & Friends play bluegrass from 9 to 11. Then Madalynn makes her market debut from 11 to noon.

On Tuesday, the Pommerts are playing and Stewart’s Bakery will have a couple of tasty supper choices. The Free Kids Meal is teriyaki chicken and noodles, market veggies, and milk.
On Thursday, the streetcar will run from 11 to 1, weather permitting. Granny Shaffers will serve catfish and potatoes. Stewart’s Bakery will have a couple of lunch choices. William Adkins will play. The Free Kids Meal, which is served from 11 to 1, will be chicken salad, crackers, market veggies, and milk.

We are loaded with local produce and other goods things. Come see us!