Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Well, the chili cook-off was a huge success again this year. We finally reached a long-held goal which was to have 100 teams register. We worry every year about the weather which can be iffy by the third week in October. This year was unseasonably cold but it didn't seem to stop people from coming.

We worried about the economy this year too and whether it would keep people home but actually, the chili cook-off is a bargain - $5.00 for an afternoon of family entertainment - 100 chilis to taste (if anyone is brave enough to try them all), the creativity of the showmanship contestants, music, the chance of winning prizes and at the heart of it all, the fun of running into friends you may not see often.

For the most part, our committee has consisted of the same people for its entire existence. The cook-off was the brain child of Bill Gerding and Steve Bowman. They conscripted the rest of us to come along for the ride and it has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations. It is now the largest chili cook-off east of the Mississippi. In little old Wabash, Indiana!

There is a moral to the story of the cook off and that is you can do good and have fun at the same time and that starts with the committee itself. We meet in the back room of the Market Street Grill where we drink and/or smoke as we choose. We don't go by Roberts Rules of Order, in fact, we don't have much order at all. People jump in, interrupt, make fun of one another, throw in their thoughts as they please. Sometimes, we joke and laugh, losing our train of thought so that we have to go back and start over.

Somehow, in spite of what might seem like disorganization to those who run a tighter ship in so far as committee meetings go, we get everything done. It all comes together on time. Everyone does their part. Cook-off day dawns and the trains run on time.

I've have been on many boards in my years in government and attended meeting to numerous to count. Recently, I've resigned from all of them. I've done my part. Time to hand the reins over to the younger generation. No more City Council meetings or Board of Zoning Appeals or AACTION or Domestic Violence Task Force or Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs or Animal Control Board or..... all with their very formal Agendas and Minutes and Rules and Regulations. The only one I've stayed with is the Chili Cook-off Committee because it's more like play than work which proves, again, that it is possible to do good and have fun all at the same time if you have the right people.

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