Memories of Working at St. John

By Earline Berger Okruhlik

Earline and daughter, Cheryl, serve fried chicken at St. John's Picnic./Gary E. McKee photo

Earline and daughter, Cheryl, serve fried chicken at St. John's Picnic./Gary E. McKee photo

The flags lining the road on July 4th lead to a small community of St. John on FM 957, approximately five miles southwest of Schulenburg. The church picnic is always held on July 4th, regardless of the day of the week it is on.

My earliest memories of the picnic, held across the road from our someplace, was that as soon as I was able to hold a pitcher full of tea, I was shuttled to the dining floor to help serve. As long as I can remember, my mother, Hattie Berger, always worked in the kitchen. Now that she is deceased and many other parishioners are getting older, I am more than willing to help, along with many other children and grandchildren of the older or deceased parishioners.

Days before the picnic, kitchen responsibilities have always been numerous, including washing and sanitizing all the pots, pans and utensils. Also, peeling potatoes, making many cakes and kolaches were among the preparations. My duties this year along with my daughter, Cheryl, will be serving hot steaming fried chicken in the serving line again as we have done in previous years. My sisters, Carol and Lorine, among others, will scurry around the kitchen to make sure that the containers of homemade stew, potatoes and sauerkraut, etc. are filled at all times.

I can picture it now: my eye glasses are getting fogged up and my plastic gloves are beginning to melt from the steam. My feet are tapping to the sound of The Shiner Hobo Band entertaining the crowd outside under the pavilion.

I enjoy serving the people with a smile coming through the line, recognizing people from far and near. Now as I serve the last piece, I hurry out to the pavilion to listen to the Dujka Brothers play "Grandpa drank too much at the St. John Picnic."

See you at the picnic!