It’s the beginning of October, which means it’s fall supper season.
Every year after harvest small town folks gather at their local halls to share their garden vegetables, fill up on turkey and stuffing, and be merry.
I’ve experienced two types of fall suppers, each very different from the other.
The La Salle fall supper:
Up until this year, my hometown has hosted the fall supper at the community centre — an old, dilapidated building with low ceilings, and a smell of 40-year-old carpets (there aren’t even carpets in there). On the day of the fall supper, the doors would open at 3 pm, and the line would quickly form with busloads from senior homes in the city. A good portion of these seniors are from small towns, so their home organizers take them to the closest small town outside of the city for the “fall supper experience.”
This experience involves standing in line, sitting at a crowded table under bright fluorescent lights, scarfing down your plate, and getting the heck out of there.
This year the fall supper was different in La Salle. Last Sunday, Sept. 28, was the first fall supper in our brand new community centre — very exciting. I didn’t go.
The reason I didn’t go is mostly because I had a pile of homework, but also because I’m not a huge fan of the La Salle fall supper. The food is good, but when you’re in there it feels more like a fall supper factory, with volunteers scrambling to pump as many people through in as little time as possible so they can pump the next round of people through.
It’s a good event for the community and all, but I prefer to fall supper in a different way (yes, I just used ‘fall supper’ as a verb).
The Vidir fall supper:
Vidir is about a 15-minute drive northwest of Arborg, Manitoba. It’s not really a town; it’s more of an area with a bunch of farms. Because I have a lot of family from there, I used to attend the Vidir fall supper every year. A few years ago the community sold their hall so they don’t have the supper anymore, but I remember it well.
My family would usually arrive at my grandparents in the early afternoon. Granny would be busy roasting a turkey and baking pies. She’d take us to the hall to drop off the food for later in the evening. My cousins and I would steal sugar cubes from coffee table in the hall kitchen and eat them (gross).
Around five or six, people would start to arrive. The Vidir Hall was beautiful – old wooden floors, high ceiling, and a stage where a polka band would play after supper. Side note: older people sure know how to dance. Their footwork is incredible.
The hall was always full of people but somehow never felt crowded the way it does at the La Salle fall supper. Everyone ate around the same time, and once you were there, you would stay for the night. It wasn’t an in-and-out situation like in La Salle. We’d fill our plates full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, and whatever else. Then after supper, the pie table would come out.
I was talking to my mom the other day about funny small town things, and she said this:
Oh, you know what’s pretty small town – when you’re at the fall supper, and you can tell who made which pie based on the crusts.
Can you imagine that? Crusts!
I had a good chuckle over this. Crust identification isn’t a thing at the La Salle fall supper, that’s a serious small town thing.
“Oh, I know those crusts.”
“Those must be Barb’s crusts, they’re perfect – good fork impression technique around the edges.”
“What’s this?! Store-bought crusts?! Blasphemy!”
Fall supper pie crust identification – just another one of those small town things.