The gravy ladle has been passed.



Lisa Ross, Stockton, Mo., will assume her mother’s seat on the committee that plans the annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Among her other duties for the meal, Beth Bradrick has prepared the gravy.

The gravy ladle has been passed.

Lisa Ross, Stockton, Mo., will assume her mother’s seat on the committee that plans the annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Among her other duties for the meal, Beth Bradrick has prepared the gravy.

“I don’t know how long I’ve been making gravy,” Bradrick said. “I don’t even know how I got that job.”

“Now I’ll be the gravy witch,” said Ross, who was wearing a Halloween dress.

The committee held its annual planning meeting Saturday at Otto’s Cafe to lay out who’s doing what. Since the routine has become established over the years, the entire group probably won’t need to gather again until Thanksgiving, which is Nov. 24. Serving will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two other new members joining the committee are Jeanny Meadows and Carolynn Burns, both of Pittsburg.

Students in the National Honor Society usually volunteer for the meal, and Meadows said she began volunteering when her son was in the society. She has several nieces who are now volunteering with her.

“It started out with just me, then my niece called and asked what I was doing,” Meadows said. “Now she’s graduated from college, but her younger sister is helping, and now my other two nieces don’t want to be left out.”

All this volunteering doesn’t interfere with her family Thanksgiving plans.

“Friday is our big day,” Meadows said, “and we always enjoy the day more knowing that we helped somebody else.”

“I helped last year,” Burns said. “Lisa invited me to come up, I brought my grandson and loved it.”

Longtime members include Carolyn Lamborn, Kathy Sanley, Lance Davis and Diana Kerle.

Lamborn has been in it from the time the meal was started by Laura McCormick and the late Carol Jemison and served in the St. John Lutheran basement, located at the bottom of a fairly steep staircase that posed a real challenge to anyone with mobility issues.

“I’m thinking we started in 1982,” she said. “The first year we had 400, and last year we had about 600. I was cooking green beans and I had an electric skillet with a cookie sheet on it, and a roaster on top of that.”

“We’d scrounge around town for roasters and we were blowing fuses right and left,” added Sanley, who has also been involved for many years, though not as many as Lamborn.

Fortunately, the church now has a huge, accessible activity center with a large, very well-equipped kitchen.

“There was no dishwasher in the church basement,” Sanley said. “It was the women who raised the money for the dishwasher in the new center, and the women who raised the money for the larger refrigerator.”

She does much of the coordinating as to how many turkeys are needed  (probably 27), how many pies (about 60), etc.

“I’m the keeper of the spreadsheet,” Sanley said.

She and Lance Davis also usually spend most of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the center kitchen fixing sweet potatoes.

Those wishing to have meals delivered will need to call the church office at 231-4085 by noon Wednesday.

Students in Susie Dalton’s home economics classes at Pittsburg High School will be doing the mashed potatoes again this year.

Numerous volunteers help with the event.

“We’ll have people there by 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day wrapping the silverware,” Sanley said.

“I remember one year that the Pittsburg city manager was there wrapping silverware,” Lamborn said.

Bradrick will probably still be in the middle of all this, and is definitely planning on making cheesecake for dessert.

“I don’t intend to quit,” she said, “but I wanted somebody to take over that I could depend on, and family is about as close as you can get.”

Actually, Ross lives operates Too Much Time Catering in Stockton, located north of Springfield, Mo., and about a 90-minute drive away. But she said that she visits Pittsburg often.

“I do all the pies for Kimmer BBQ on East Fourth in Pittsburg and make deliveries there twice a week, and I can always visit my mom,” she said. “I thank you all for this honor.”