Times have changed, according to members of the First United Methodist Church in Portales, who reminisced Tuesday morning about turkey dinners past as they de-boned turkeys in preparation for the 59th annual Turkey Dinner and Bazaar on Thursday.
As 3-month-old Korbin Mosier sat in his stroller in the church kitchen, his great grandmother, Sharon Cissell, laughed with fellow church members.
The church's annual dinner has been coordinated and co-coordinated by Cissell and Mosier's family for years with the current head coordinator being Shelly Atwood, Cissell's daughter and Korbin's grandmother.
First Untied Methodist Church member Charles Chambers, left, and Cannon Air Force Base Senior Airman Aldrin Zaremba chop turkey Tuesday afternoon in preparation for the church's annual turkey dinner on Thursday. Zaremba said he found out about the dinner from his squadron (weapons) and wanted to build more character in himself by volunteering. He said he was enjoying every minute of helping.
Included in the turkey preparations and reminiscing were also Atwood's son and Korbin's father, Todd Mosier.
"One of the things that I remember was when we had to cook the dressing, we used to have to run an extension cord up to the third floor from the basement, because we didn't have enough electricity," said Atwood, event chair and church member, of when the event was held in the basement of the old church building.
The event is now held in the kitchen of the current church building in the same location, the corner of Second Street and South Avenue C.
"When we used to make tea at the other church, we'd have to run the outside hose through the window to fill the five-gallon jugs," Atwood said.
"And it was the best tea you've ever had and it didn't kill anybody, so you know it's safe to drink through the water hose," added Cissell jokingly to a room full of laughter.
Other aspects of past turkey dinners the room full of 40-plus-year dinner veterans reminisced about were the fact that they used to pick their own green beans and sweet potatoes rather than buy them from the store, used to have to use glass dinner plates instead of paper, and used to have to type up the tickets and print them from a mimeograph, whereas now, they have them printed at professionally.
How times have changed was the theme of the morning conversations, but one thing church members made evident is that the feeling behind the dinner remains the same each year.
"I come because it's a family affair," said Charles Chambers as he helped set up tables with auction items for the event. "I enjoy doing it. The church is your family. It makes you feel good to be involved and help."
"Just like I've said over and over, this is a community event," Atwood added. "It's not just a Methodist event. Everyone comes and gets involved. It brings people together."
What: 59th annual Turkey Dinner and Bazaar
When: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: First United Methodist Church in Portales
Cost: $8 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under with to-go orders availabl
First United Methodist Church members who have been involved with the dinner for more than 40 years:
Marvin and Beverly Baugh
Vern and Ida Lou Witten
Harry and Panzy Jordan
Gail and Sharon Cissell