Mourning Another Passing: A Voterís Lament
Election Day won’t be the same at the William R. Talley Recreation Center in Frederick this year. For the first time in my memory, Flint Hill United Methodist Church will not be serving up its tasty viands on Election Day.
This isn’t the kind of hope or change we sought for November. 6, 2012.
The bad news was delivered by phone the other day by Noreen Schultz, deputy election director for Frederick County. No doubt she and Director Stuart Harvey consulted on the announcement and saw the urgency of getting out the “word” quickly. It amounts to the 3 A.M. phone message at the White House requiring a call to arms.
As a reminder, you also won’t find food purveyors at the Frederick Senior Center, 1440 Taney Avenue, Frederick, where Early Voting will commence this Saturday and run through November 1, from 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. each day.
Poll workers arrive at the Talley Center, on the corner of Bentz and West Second streets in Frederick, about 6 A.M. and work until well after the polls are closed. They depended on Flint Hill’s affable kitchen and serving crew to keep up the blood sugar, raising money for the church.
Opportunity for workers to eat often depends on the lines of potential voters. Just as in any presidential election year, we expect a busy day. It was not unusual that Flint Hill’s servers would notice the long lines at lunch time, take verbal orders and deliver them with quiet, smiling efficiency.
The south county church has had the “concession” at the old National Guard Armory for as long as I can remember. The church served up such goodies as real sausage and egg sandwiches, also frequently delivered as poll workers hustled to set up equipment and post opening “Zero” reports on the door. Along with the sandwiches were copious cups of real and decaf coffee and cold beverages.
The cluster of tables was a magnet for the "ins" and "outs" of Frederick's political movers and shakers.
Poll workers have salivated at the aromas coming from the kitchen as the legendary bean and vegetable soups were brought to temperature; the hot dogs, ham sandwiches, sometimes barbeque, and always delicious crab cake sandwiches were poised for hungry customers, including Roelke Myers and his Recreation Department staffers.
The pleasurable assault on the senses erased the signature mold, sweat and old atmosphere borne of the refurbished Talley Center’s military past and recreation center activity.
I should mention the availability of a variety of pies wrapped on paper plates. Often these were auctioned in late afternoon, when the luncheon crowd thinned, the soups long gone and coffee reaching that afternoon consistency which some poll workers found a welcome eye opener.
One rarely finds such victuals in local restaurants, which, it appears, try to compete with each other in serving small portions of gourmet food at exorbitant prices. I’ve heard diners tell me they go from the high-end spots to the fast food places.
I don’t mean to recommend you not patronize Frederick’s fine food establishments; it is just that I have always been a comfort food kind of guy, and that’s what Flint Hill always served up at the concession window. Its vegetable soup didn’t skimp on the vegetables and its bean soup was rich and creamy.
Flint Hill’s bill of fare can usually only be found out in the “country,” where Friday night fund raising dinners at churches and civic organizations might earn you the pleasure of fried fish, crabs (hard shell, soft shell, cakes, and soup), country ham, barbeque and chicken dinners. You’ll also be regaled with “sides” that can only come from a farmer’s kitchen.
I have been privileged to speak to church men’s group and civic clubs meeting in rural churches where I was rewarded with dinners you can’t buy on Frederick’s Market Street. I’ve enjoyed such delights as creamed onions from Adamstown to Johnsville. I’ll wager you haven’t had creamed onions “downtown.”
I haven’t gotten any confirmation on reasons why Flint Hill will no longer be hosting the food concession, but we didn’t see any “young folks” working last year. That may be one of the answers. It is a long day for them, too, with few chances for breaks. They may not have been able to round up the crew.
We mourn the passing of another tradition for Westside Frederick voters, especially for the poll workers, who now must bring food from home or nab someone to bring in “takeout” to keep up energy and enthusiasm November 6.
Thanks and an emotional farewell to the Flint Hill crew. Your faithfulness has been appreciated and our senses will miss the pleasure of your groceries.
As for voters, we will see you at Talley, but you’ll have to bring your own coffee. Bring an extra!