Green Wizardries, Community Coming Together by Maxine Rogers
I went to the Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast this morning with my husband and some friends. It was a very wholesome family event and for a good cause. All the proceeds go to the new training facility and we are jolly lucky to have such an excellent team training volunteers on Denman to such high and useful standards.
We were warned by a source from inside the Fire Department to come even a little early as they expected to be swamped. We arrived at just 9 a.m. and there was already a bit of a lineup.
A number of handsome fellows were serving coffee to people in the lineup. I got the ever-elegant Evan Penner coming over to serve my coffee, pour in the cream and stir it for me. I ask you, where else do you get service like that?
We saw the friends we intended to meet for breakfast some way behind us in the line up and waved. I went over to chat with them and the atmosphere was festive. Everyone was being friendly. One woman stopped by to say she liked my articles and was even thinking of trying to make some of the natural products I have been talking about.
We sipped our coffees and soon reached the cash desk where a harried, but competent, volunteer took our order. We had mini breakfasts for $10. Breakfast is a special occasion for me as I gave up eating breakfast some years ago. When a person gets older, they don’t need so much food.
The volunteers gave us little packets of tickets for the raffle. They gave out five tickets to mini -breakfast people and ten tickets to the full-breakfast people. The word on the street is they printed 8,000 tickets but were out by 10 a.m. and had to print more. This event gets more popular each year and I think they are soon going to have to set up a proper field kitchen as the facilities at the Fire Hall are stretched to the max.
Now, I am allergic to wheat and was standing in the line for the gluten-free pancakes. They were slow in coming so we waited and watched the many happy volunteers mixing up batter, frying things and scuttling about with huge bowls of whipped cream and blueberries. It soon became apparent that they dedicated grill for GF stuff had blown a fuse and they couldn’t get it going. The firefighters said to go sit down and they would make the pancakes and come out with a platter of cakes and we should just raise a hand to be served.
We sat at a table with some old friends and two of the people who we had intended to meet. I had seen the other fellow in the line up but after that, lost track of him. He had arrived at 10 past 9 and the conga line was already back in the trees when he arrived.
A man stopped by our table and told a story of how much he loved this breakfast tradition. One year, he had been to a raucous high-school reunion in Victoria and got up the next morning at 4 a.m. to make it back here for the Fireman’s Breakfast. That is dedication.
We sat and chatted and the subject of Covid 19 came up but no one was aggressive. Everyone was willing to listen to other people’s reasoning. I think people must, by now, have noticed that their unvaxed neighbours remain stubbornly healthy. In any case, the vaxed and the unvaxed sat down at the same table and ate a simple meal together. That sort of things heals community divisions.
My husband wandered off to see if he could locate a pancake for me. One of the volunteers had set up a propane-powered griddle and was trying to cook pancakes on that. Some of the ladies waiting for cakes put their hands over the griddle and explained it was not working because it was not hot. The, now slightly harried, volunteer sent a man off to get a portable electric generator from one of the fire trucks. Some things are just not meant to be but I appreciated the really-determined efforts to cook for us glutards.
We left the event about 10 am and walked back past the huge line up to our car. I heard the Firefighters cooked heroically, running out of bacon towards the end and sometimes, they ran short of coffee even though they had 3 urns on the go. They served a huge amount of people and it was another record-breaking year for the event.