This past Saturday I was down south again, in my home for three years. Gillett. Home of the Friendly People and the Coon Supper. This was my 5th year to cover both the Berry Pre-Coon Supper Reception and the Coon Supper. As always I saw a lot of politicians, former politicians and hopeful politicians. Mainly I saw some great friends I hadn’t seen in a bit! That was probably the best part of the event! I especially loved seeing many of the kids that I attended church with while I lived in Gillett. Seeing these young people starting to really grow up (some even taller than me now!) and still being such respectful and sweet kids was awesome. Just to name a few, Ava Grace Grantham who ALWAYS makes me smile, and who used to make faces at me (which I returned) when I would be sitting in the choir loft. Kara Holzhauer who accepted me into the Gillett family from day one and whose approval made it possible for Ava Grace to accept me as well. (They are besties and have been forever). Trent and Sam Place who always made my day at church when they would come up and give me hugs and thank me for cooking for them (I did this for their family because I love to cook stuffed bell peppers but don’t like to eat them-so I would often make them and take to the Place family-usually when I needed furniture moved I could always count on Seth to be right there if a reward of food was involved - lol). I saw their big brother Parker but didn’t get the chance to speak to him, probably because he has grown a foot and is pushing 6 feet tall! I also missed their sister Sydney, not sure if she was actually at the supper this year. Then there was Ben Place, their cousin, who was attending his first coon supper I believe. I saw several others at a distance so if I have not mentioned you I apologize.

The Berry Pre-Coon Supper reception is always a great mix and mingle for everyone and my only complaint is...well I’m short. When you’re in a room where everyone is standing and visiting and you are 4’10 ¾” it’s a little rough hitting everyone at mid-chest level. I’m thinking I will borrow Sheriff Brown’s girls stilts for next years event! I love seeing so many people that I only see at this event but it’s nice catching up on how their lives have changed each year.

The Coon Supper entertainment this year was super top notch! Not only did Miss Arkansas Maggie Benton entertain with “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” but Rep. Rick Crawford and his band Triple Nickel were over the top. Who knew Crawford could play and sing like that? WOW! Of course I will say my favorite song was done without him but it was still rocking-the song was “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison, but this band covered it great!

When so many “Annual” events get less popular each year until they fade away, the Coon Supper continues to grow and sells out each year. Even Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Sen. John Boozman made comments in their addresses to the crowd about this amazing event. It is a real community effort with the men doing the cooking of the meat and the women in the community cooking the side dishes and desserts. As many of you know, I waitressed for 15 years and I can’t imagine waiting on 700 people at one event! I think the biggest group I ever waited on (with help from my daughter, Bethany) was close to 60 Arkansas electric linemen after one of the ice storms in the state. That was a work out!

So, to all my friends I got to see over the weekend much love goes out to you and I’ll see you next year!!

Until next time...