50-year Tanyard tradition ends

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Features Editor

All things must come to an end – even good things.

One of those good things has come to an end and many folks will go "craving" this weekend because of it.

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After 50 years, the Tanyard Community Club is calling quits to its annual barbecue that brought about 50,000 fine pork connoisseurs from east, west, north and south to the small community over the years.

It’s not that the club members wanted to hang up their aprons, "We just about had to," said Gladys Hussey, one of two original members of the community club. "We are all getting older and it’s just about more than we can do. Cooking barbecue and all the trimmings for up to a thousand folks is a lot of hard work. So, we talked about it and decided we had better put the barbecue on the back burner for now."

In so saying, Hussey left the kitchen door open to the possibility that there might be special times when the club would put butts on the grill again. However, the traditional annual barbecue will probably never be again.

"We have a lot of good help from young people whose families were among the 15 or so who started the barbecue in 1950," she said. "But, I’m not sure if they could put on a barbecue this big from start to finish. Maybe they can. I hope to see the tradition start again with a new generation."

The Tanyard barbecue started as an attempt to raise money to build a community clubhouse and it was so popular and so much fun and provided such good fellowship that no one wanted it to end.

Joe Brabham and Hussey are the only two club members who have been a part of the tradition from the beginning until what is now the end.

"We both hate to see a tradition end, but let’s just say it was time," Hussey said.

The first Tanyard barbecue was actually held at the old Perote schoolhouse, but there were more people in Tanyard, so the community center was built there.

"At our first barbecue, the plates were a dollar each," Hussey said. "When food prices have gone up, we’ve had to go up, but the most we ever charged was five dollars a plate."

And for five bucks, the barbecue was a bargain.

The men in the community gathered on Friday night and started cooking the best pork shoulders money could buy.

The women started cooking pork and chicken, peeling potatoes and onions and, when they were finished they had concocted the best "camp stew" that has ever been made.

"People called it camp stew but it’s really not," Hussey said. "It’s more of a hash. We don’t have peas and corn and things like that in it. It’s just meat and potatoes and it’s different and it’s good."

In fact, the hash is so good that the Tanyard Community Club could guarantee it if they wanted to do so. The whole Tanyard barbecue was a guarantee of goodness – made from scratch goodness.

"We made it all, except the light bread," Hussey said. "Everything is homemade – the hash, the potato salad and all the cakes. We have always prided ourselves in having a barbecue that people will want to come back to year and year."

And, it worked like a charm for 50 years, and, if the club cooked on Saturday, there would be a line of cars a mile long with folks chomping at the bits to get a-hold of that pork and trimmings.

As it is, there will probably be a lot of folks at home Saturday night, eating pork ‘n beans and dreaming of Tanyard and a 50 year tradition.