December 1, 2014
For the fourth Thanksgiving in a row, our family hosted the men of Dare Challenge, a local faith-based drug and alcohol rehab center. Here are a few photos of the merriment.
Sarah was my Official Potato Peeler.
We made labels for each dish/dessert and also wrote each man’s name along with the meaning of each name. That has been so meaningful for the guys each year that we’ve done it.
Once again this year we spilled over into two tables.
The desserts were all provided by people in the church. There was pumpkin cake, flan, a variety of cheese cakes, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie and nanner puddin’. (Which is how you are required to say banana pudding when you reside in the South.)
Here’s the whole spread!
(The reason there is a measuring cup in the left foreground is because someone in the church had made collards and it was decided at the last minute that collards have to have vinegar served with them. Since I was unable produce a lovely, vinegar-serving cruet out of thin air, I put the vinegar in a plastic measuring cup. Classy, huh?)
All the hot dishes were on place mats and the cold salads (broccoli salad, marinated carrots, orange fluff and a relish tray), were further along the counter. I am only including this photo because I wanted you to see that my classy cuisine display skills not only involved putting vinegar in a plastic measuring cup but also neglecting to move out of sight half of a half-rotten banana propped up right behind the otherwise lovely presentation of food.
Because nothing says appetizing Thanksgiving feast like a rotten banana in plain sight. (Er, sorry, nanner.)
When the meal and the laughter and conversations were over, I gave the guys a stern motherly speech that since they were our guests, they were not allowed to even think about doing the dishes.
You can tell how well they listened.
Those guys were better at doing dishes that I am–impressively efficient and a couple of them even sang while they were working.
While the dishes were getting done on one side of the kitchen, I asked another guy to be in charge of putting all the leftovers in containers for them to take with them. We had quite the busy kitchen there for a while!
In addition to the men from the Center, we also had a police cruiser parked out in our drive way and this guy (in uniform) inside the house
Doug and his wife, Misty, don’t have family in the area so we asked them to join us for the meal. Doug was on duty for the whole day and so was just able to come for an hour or so.
(This is a picture from last year at Thanksgiving.)
Doug (who works with a K-9 officer here in Manteo) has been very intentional about building bridges between the police force and places like Dare Challenge where a lot of the guys have had run-ins with law enforcement. It was so heartening to see him hanging out with the guys and hearing one of the men say to him, “I have been in a place before where I was in trouble with you guys but now I just want to say thanks to you for everything you guys do.”
Former law breakers and a policeman (in bullet proof vest, radios, and handcuffs) all sharing a Thanksgiving meal together. It warmed my heart.
Here’s the whole Dare Challenge group.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the earlier years.
This is 2011. The guy’s name on the front row in the white sweatshirt is Bill Godfrey. After he left Dare Challenge, it took him some time to get on his feet and he was homeless for a while, showing up at our church during the weeks when we house and feed the homeless. (Which by the way, we are doing again this week.)
After some time had passed, Bill got a job and an apartment and now do you know what he does now? He serves on the board of Room In the Inn (the homeless ministry our church partners with) and is busy helping other people who are where he used to be. I love stories like that!
This is 2012.
And does anyone remember this kid?
This is Cody.
Two years ago, we heard him speak at the annual fundraising banquet for Dare Challenge. He was so articulate and brave as he told about living with this grandparents because both of his parents were on drugs and unable to care for him. He said he was praying so hard that his dad would one day come to Dare Challenge and get his life straightened out.
His story touched the heart of one of my wonderful readers, Courtney Hurd, and she got busy raising money in honor of Cody to give to Dare Challenge. (Some of you also generously donated.) Courtney also gave Cody several NASCAR items since he loves racing.
Well, you’ll never guess who showed up at our dinner table on Thursday.
He is now a resident of Dare Challenge, working his way through the program and being the very embodiment of an answer to the prayer his young son so earnestly prayed two years ago.
Thrift stores, fuzzy socks
and conversing with my Yorkie
are all on the list of things I love.