Sloppy Joes…….yep, that is one of the first things I think about when I hear someone mention the Comers Rock Community Club.
When I was young the Comers Rock Community Club met the third Friday night of every month in the old Comers Rock Schoolhouse. Everyone would bring potluck and the grown ups would have a community meeting after supper and then sit around and socialize for a while before cleaning up and going home. That is where the sloppy joes come in, mom would always fix them for the monthly community club meetings and I loved them!
But as a little girl, community club nights were for getting together with my friends, eating, playing in the creek when it was warm enough and playing “pretend” on the stage in the old school building when it wasn’t. Sometimes we would eat in the picnic shelter below the clubhouse where someone would cook hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. The men would play horseshoes or sometimes we could get a pretty good game of softball going and everyone played from the oldest to the youngest. Age didn’t matter and we had fun!
I can remember that at that time the Fourth of July was always a big project for the community club. Heck, the Fourth of July was huge in Independence when I was growing up and so much fun! The adults worked hard designing a float for the parade hoping for that first place trophy. The men also built a small wooden stand so they could sell hotdogs and baked goods down on the Independence High School parking lot.
After the 10 AM parade on the morning of the 4th, we would all hurry down to the high school to start selling food. The stage was set up in front of the school entrance for the music and all kinds of contests. I can remember my Nanny making “granny” dresses for my mom and me. They were long skirts with matching blouses complete with old timey bonnets made especially for the “Granny Contest”. Yep, you heard right. Oh and my outfit also came with little round wire glasses that sat on the end of my nose. The best granny outfit won a trophy in both youth and adult categories. And trust me, wearing that get up on the Fourth of July when it was 90 degrees made my little wire rimmed glasses want to keep sliding right off my little sweaty nose!
The men had contests too. I can remember men in the community would start to grow their beards a couple of months before July to see who could come away with the “Best (Or longest, I can’t remember) Beard” trophy. I can still remember being a little scared or shy of some of the men that I wasn’t used to seeing sporting a big beard.
I can remember one year, I think it was 1976, that we went all out on the float. The men built a big stand up frame with chicken wire inside it and it was the women and kid’s job to stuff every hole in that wire with a little piece of newspaper. Then someone spray painted the Liberty Bell, I think, on the newspaper and it looked really good! The frame had sparklers placed around it plus the ones of us riding the float would also have sparklers that would be lit right before we passed the judges stand in front of the courthouse. Did we sing something? Maybe, I can’t remember. It was a great float and a pretty good plan except for one thing……..it rained. So wet drippy newspaper, wet drippy sparklers, and wet drippy people made for no winning float trophy that year.
The Community Club would also have game nights, male beauty pageants, old time box suppers, talent shows and lots of other fun activities. But times have changed and those third Friday night club meetings are a thing of the past. These days the Community Club proudly hosts the Comers Rock Theatre Group made up of local actors that put on wonderful dinner plays in the old schoolhouse throughout the year.
Looking back, the one thing that will always stick in my mind when I was growing up is the camaraderie and fun that everyone had with each other no matter what we were doing and no matter their age. To me, everyone was ageless and we were a community.