Just like many peoples’ family Thanksgiving gatherings, there was good food, laughter and some good-natured ribbing during the Williamsport Moose Lodge’s fourth annual community Thanksgiving meal on Sunday.
Graham Blair, 16, ate a piece of chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, known as “wacky cake” by his family.
Asked by a family member if it was as good as the wacky cake made by his mom, Terri Blair, he said, “Yes, it is.”
“How rude,” responded his mother, good-naturedly, from across the table.
Graham said it had been awhile since his mom fixed the cake at home. Terri Blair said she got the hint and would make one later that day.
“The guilt trip has worked,” said Terri Blair, of Keedysville.
Fourteen family members, including the family of Blair and her sister, Gail Bennett, gathered at Williamsport Moose Lodge 2462 off North Conococheague Street to enjoy the lodge’s community meal.
The wacky cake has been a tradition for at least three generations, Bennett said. Bennett said her late mother, Juanita Michael of Halfway, and Michael’s mother, Bessie Ausherman of Williamsport, also made it.
“I have no idea why they call it wacky cake,” said Bennett, 57, of Halfway.
“My brother is a (Moose) member and he said the donation would help feed the needy, and we wanted to help,” Bennett said of the family gathering Sunday at the lodge.
Any monetary donations given during Sunday’s community meal will help provide food for needy families during the 2013 Christmas season, said Frank Weaver, lodge governor.
The lodge already has raised the money to provide several area families with food for the week before Christmas, including a ham and a turkey for each family, Weaver said.
The lodge will provide the food to five families each from Williamsport Elementary, Hickory Elementary, Springfield Middle and Williamsport High schools, and provide food to Holly Place residents, Weaver said.
This is the fourth year the lodge has provided food for families around Christmas, he said.
The lodge fed 183 people Sunday, including 15 people at Holly Place, said Melissa Weaver, the lodge’s recorder. Holly Place is a nonprofit assisted-living facility for low-income seniors.
In addition to the Sunday meals for Holly Place residents, the lodge was going to give Holly Place the leftovers from Sunday’s meal, Frank Weaver said.
Weaver said local groups helped provide Sunday’s meal, and the lodge had so many people volunteer to help Sunday that some volunteers had to be turned away.
Dot Foods donated a dozen 19-pound turkeys, said Clint Rawlings, past governor for the lodge.
Holsum donated the bread, Homewood Retirement Center donated desserts and paper products, and the Young Professionals donated pies, cooked two turkeys and helped carve turkeys Sunday, Frank Weaver said.
Among those enjoying a holiday meal together were Pat and Jack Downin, who live west of Williamsport, and their granddaughter, Nevaeh Silvers, who is almost 3 years old and whose name is “heaven” spelled backward.
Nevaeh and Pat appeared to be taking food from each other’s plates and bowls and putting it on the other’s.
“She likes the mashed potatoes, but no gravy,” Pat said of her granddaughter. And while Nevaeh likes salad, on Sunday she started out sharing some of hers with Pat, or “Mimi,” before testing the three-second rule on some salad that hit the floor.
This was the second year the family was enjoying the holiday meal at the Moose lodge.
Jack Downin is a member of the Mercersburg (Pa.) Moose, but the family came to the local lodge to be with family and other people. They said they were grateful for the local lodge’s hard work and the community meal.
Pat Downin said she still plans to prepare a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday that will include a turkey, as well as pork and sauerkraut, a tradition passed on from her late mother, Louise Stevens.
Stevens used to prepare the turkey, pork and sauerkraut, and a dish called scalloped oysters for her family, which included 10 children, said Pat Downin, who grew up in Clear Spring. Scalloped oysters are baked layers of crackers and oysters with butter and milk, said Downin, the youngest of the 10 children.