It’s Always Better To Break Bread Together

The Write Stuff / Deb Hadachek – Telescope

The problem with trying to control your weight in the winter in Kansas is not the fact that we’re cooped up in our homes and offices all day, every day.

It’s all those darned community pancake fund-raisers, which help keep very good causes going: fire departments and churches and youth activities.

Sometimes you get soup, occasionally spaghetti, and during Lent, fried fish (which frankly doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to me).

But almost every weekend, you can find someplace to satisfy a craving for pancakes and sausage and fried eggs.

Pancakes are the great equalizer across all the ethnic groups in the county. Whether you’re Czech or Swede or Dutch or French, a pancake is pretty much a pancake everywhere you go. Extra points to the communities that don’t get stingy with the sausage.

Have you ever wondered why no one stages a salad fundraiser? Or when they do, it involves minimal lettuce, and vat-sized proportions of the “whips”–Miracle Whip andCool Whip?

This week, of course, Cuba is putting on the mother of all fundraising gastronomy events, the Cuba Rock-a-Thon. It’s just one long marathon of all your Mom’s favorite homecooked meals: baked steak and fried chicken and lasagna and burgers and bierocks.

(But, for the record, no pancakes.)

After 44 years of Rock-a-Thons, I just take for granted people know what it is. But every year, I find myself trying to explain Rock-a-Thon to outsiders.

“You do what?” (People rock in rocking chairs 24 hours a day for seven days.)

“Why?” (To raise money.)
“How do you raise money doing that?” (We eat. At least twice a day, sometimes three times.)

“So what’s the purpose of the rocking chairs?” (Duh, it’sRock-a-Thon.)

Originally I think the idea was for people to collect pledges for the number of hours they rocked. But as the story goes, after people rocked all night the first night they were hungry, someone went home and got a skillet and a dozen eggs, and the true mission of Rock-aThon was born.

I suppose they really should have changed the name to Eata-Thon after that first year, but even in Cuba it’s a little hard to admit to an all-out abandonment of calorie counting community-wide for a full week every year.

And our community is pretty wide in terms of the friends who come and join us for meals and entertainment. I won’t make any editorial observations about how much wider the individual populace appears at the end of the event.

Frankly, the concept of Rock-a-Thon probably sounds a little like hell to legions of church women (and increasingly, men) who dread the one annual “supper” their denomination holds each fall or winter. It’s like a church dinner times 15 — all in one week, with a different menu every noon and evening.

On Friday night last year, I sat down to eat supper with a group of the women who volunteer hours and hours of kitchen time during the Rock-a-Thon. I asked them if they look forward to the week after Rock-a-Thon and a chance to rest.

Oh yes, they said. It’s an exhausting week.

Then after a few second pause, one of them looked at another and said: “Are you coming to help tomorrow?”

“Sure,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss it. It’s going to be awfully quiet next week when it’s all over.”

Check out the Cuba Rock-a-Thon events on Facebook

Photo by Jim Richardson –