I woke up Saturday a little late and hurried to get to the diner before nine. A steady busy morning ensued which made it go by fairly fast. While we labored out front, Jimmy was putting together the makings for the BBQ that we were going to put on in the afternoon for Central Christian School in Redmond.
We did the BBQ for two reasons. First and most important was to help out the school. They had asked us for sandwiches but Jimmy had suggested the BBQ which brings us to the second reason. We wanted to try out our new trailer and see how well it would work for us. I brought the trailer around back and Jimmy and Shelly loaded it up. Everything rode real well and I was quite happy with how smoothly it drove down the highway.
We arrived at the school which is located at the Assembly of God church and began to set up out back. I drove the van behind leaving the trailer in an advantageous place so that we could just leave the BBQ on it and cook from there. Shelly and I set up the tables while Jim joked on how much he loved doing cater jobs because it was the only time that he could tell me what to do.
We set the table up, lit all of the chaffing dishes, and finished just minutes before the first walkers came into sight. Our meal was to be Burgers, Jimmy's Famous BBQ chicken, Macaroni Salad, and his equally popular baked beans. We had two pans of beans and placed one behind the other so that we could just rotate the back to the front when needed. I remember pulling back the rear pan an inch or so to give us room to take off the lid from the front and hang it on the brackets behind the chaffing dishes.
The BBQ started off a little slow and I openly wondered if their count had been off. They had expected around 250 walkers to be served. But most of them were inside the building playing in the carnival that had been set up there. Shelly and I served while Jimmy cooked the burgers on the grill.
We were picking up quite nicely when it happened. For whatever reason, the rear pan came flying off of the table. It landed on it's side spraying baked beans all over the side of my van that had been washed a couple of hours earlier by the "I love Bend" group that had a free car wash on the corner of Purcell and Hwy 20.
The Sterno can popped out and spilt out over the beans catching some of their grease on fire also. I quickly grabbed the pan and placed it over the fire, dousing out most of the flames. Shelly yelled as she caught her foot on fire attempting to put out the rest. Thinking that I had the heat under control, I raised the pan only to find the flames rise again. I dropped the pan again and left it there till I was sure that the fire was out.
One of the walkers sprung to his feet and began serving while we assessed the situation. He yelled for a friend to bring us a flat shovel that was in his rig. We scooped up what we could and then dumped the remainder of the pan into the garbage. I took the pans inside to wash them in the schools kitchen. When I got there, a lady walked in and told me that she would finish my job. "You don't need to", I told her. "Yes, I do", she said, "I am the school administrator and I appreciate what you are doing for us. I will wash the pans and let you get back to your job.". Thanking her, I returned just in time to get the shovel and finish off the sticky mess. I then washed off the side of the van before the gooey mess hardened to make the job much harder.
We thanked the friends who had helped and went on doing our job. The serving went quite well with many coming back for seconds with the BBQ chicken that had become quite popular. Many of them took time to thank us which made the venture even more rewarding. With over 200 served and our job done, we packed up our equipment and returned to the diner around 5 or so.
I drove down to McMens to join Carrie and Jayden who were watching the Oregon/WSU football game that was soundly in Oregon's favor. Jayden was quite proud of the Duck shirt that he had one in a raffle. We enjoyed the rest of the game and I returned to the diner to check on dinner before leaving for home and a much needed rest.
Casey had called earlier so I had decided to stay up as long as I could to see him when he arrived. I nodded off a time or two but after two movies and the clock closing in on midnight, I decided to lock the door and call it a night.
Around 1 or so, Judy woke up with a start. "The doorbell!", she squealed. I had not heard it but believed her as I rolled out of the bed. She was already at the door before I had even had a chance to get to the stairs. It was great seeing Casey and Jess again and I stayed up for an hour or so talking before my body began screaming for rest. I knew it was best to get some rest as Sundays are by far our busiest days so I crawled back under the sheets to get that much needed rest, happy to have my son under my roof once more if not only for a few weeks.