Batter Boy: A Pancake Day Reflection

By Rev. Keith Turman | 2023-03-11 | 4 min read

I still have batter on my shoes. I’m struggling to find any motivation to clean them, because I want the memories of “awesome” to linger as long as possible. I love my Pancake Day memories. In the days leading up to my very first Pancake Day six years ago, people kept telling me to hold on to my hat. “Pancake Day is huge.” “Everyone in Haywood County comes to Pancake Day!” I’m pretty sure I responded politely—smiling, nodding my head, sharing their energy and enthusiasm—but I’m also pretty sure that I internally rolled my eyes, and thought to myself, “Okay. Sure. Everyone in Haywood County will come to Pancake Day.” I arrived at the church sometime around 6:00 a.m., and before I could get out of the parking lot, I knew this was going to be a special day. I discovered that the first volunteers had unlocked the doors at 3:00 that morning, that the last volunteers left around midnight, and that everyone in Haywood County decided to show up. It was crazy. And it just got crazier as the years went by. The big day has endured big changes (“Let’s make Pancake Day free!”) and big challenges (“What will we do about the Covid?!”). This year’s Pancake Day Revival, from my vantage point as Batter Boy, was really quite remarkable. Of course it wasn’t a surprise, but somehow, once again, I was surprised.

Haywood County showed up, and consumed five-hundred-thirty pounds of pancake batter containing seventy-two dozen eggs and ten gallons of oil. And the double, triple, even quadruple stacks of fresh off the griddle pancakes were covered in thirteen cases of butter and sixty gallons of syrup. And what happened on the side was stunning—at the edge of the slowly approaching pour of syrup, seven-hundred-twenty pounds of bacon delighted the crowds. We don’t have numbers for the sausage, and I know the sausage lovers are going to push back, but to be completely transparent, a sizeable amount of sausage was left in the pan. This supports my soundly rejected suggestion that we change the name to Bacon Day.

Batter Boy could hardly contain himself, and therefore could hardly fulfill his job of keeping the grill masters stocked with precious batter. I’m pretty sure I’ll be fired next year. But I couldn’t help it. There were so many beautiful people from our community— I’m told over 3,000 people came for pancakes. It was a big year for Haywood County schools—they came from all over, including Central Haywood High School, students from the Alternative Learning Center, EC classes, and the Haywood County Schools Foundation. Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs showed up. And the volunteers! The volunteers were amazing. Over three-hundred-twenty-five people—including Tuscola’s National Honor Society students, ladies’ softball team, and nursing students, friends from ARC of Haywood County, Grace Episcopal Church, and Hights, to name a few—volunteered approximately 1,175 hours.

I just wanted to talk to them all. From my vantage point, and you might agree, our community wanted more than a meal—they wanted community. The joy around our tables was testimony to our deeply rooted need to be together—to rekindle the flames of friendship, to possibly discover some new ones, and to know that we are a part of something really big and really special. The batter on my shoes is a problem. I’ve got to clean them eventually, but they remind me of such an amazing day. One of my favorite Tom Petty songs helps me keep perspective: “It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing. Under my feet baby, grass is growing. Yeah, it’s time to move on, time to get going.” He’s right. I can’t linger too long in the memory. We’ve got to keep moving. I’m not exactly sure what lies ahead for us, but I do know who it involves. They were in our gym on Pancake Day.

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