Monday, September 5, 2011

The Mystery Couple--Identified!

Hey, folks, the Internet has been very, very nifty this week! You know my recent post about those two old pictures from my parents’ slide collection? (Here’s the link.)

A review of the story: My dad was walking around in Westphalia with a group of graduate students, surveying the German elements of the town, and by chance they saw a newlywed couple riding out of the church’s lot, not in a limousine, but on the back of a manure wagon, pulled by a farm tractor. (If you saw such a thing, you’d take a picture, too!)

I’d never heard of this strange custom, so I posted it on my blog, figuring someone could help explain it.

I also figured that it wouldn’t be long before someone would identify the couple for me, since we knew the place and the year (Westphalia, 1964), and, judging by the trees, that it was around the middle of October.

And sure enough! You all delivered, and the couple was identified! Elmer and Rita Bax—and they’re still in Westphalia!

So naturally, it made my day when I received the following message from Rita herself:

My sister sent me an e-mail from Albuquerque, New Mexico, showing me the [blog] “Spreading Joy in Westphalia, Missouri.” Yes it is Elmer and Rita Bax.

We were married October 17, 1964. It was 90 degrees that day. I was raised on a farm. So the manure wagon and tractor was our ride from the church to the K of C hall down the street. The hall is now Hilke Millard Funeral Home.

We live in Westphalia [and] . . . I will be cutting pies at the fall supper like you said.

I laughed when I saw the pictures. I had forgotten about the ride. I passed the information to our five boys so they could enjoy it too.

Our neighbor Paul Crede was driving the tractor. I called him so he could see it. I was 18 years old when I got married. Elmer was 22.

I will be reading your Opulent Opossum in the future. We enjoyed the pictures and article. . . .

Thank you for the memories.

Elmer and Rita

Well, there’s nothing much I can add to that, except that I’m definitely going to the Westphalia fall supper so I can meet the Baxes!

(And enjoy some of that pie Rita will be slicing!)


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Elmer and Rita usually cook our christmas dinner for the electric Coop. Their fried chicken is awesome!! I will havae to ask for pies next time!
Small world isn't it?

Julianna Schroeder said...

Okay: So you are saying that the Baxes have the incredible Westphalia fried chicken recipe?? Ohmygosh, it is the best.

Here is what my mom says when she goes to most church picnics: "Well, their chicken was pretty good, but it's still not as good as *Westphalia's.*" My mom is a fine connoisseur of local fried chicken.

Seriously, ask her sometime: "Which church has the best fried chicken?" She'll say "Westphalia"!


whalechaser said...

This is starting to sound like a road trip. Where and when is this shindig?
Fried Chicken and Pie; I ask you what could be better?

Julianna Schroeder said...

Hey, Whale--The fall supper at Westphalia, Mo. (southeast of Jefferson City) is on Oct. 16, at the St. Joseph Catholic Church. (If you can find the town, you will not have any trouble finding the church!)

I hate to disappoint you, but Labor Day pretty much marks the end of the "summer picnics" (almost always featuring fried chicken) and the beginning of the "fall suppers" (which almost always feature freshly made whole-hog sausage instead). Luckily, the fall suppers usually have better weather, prettier scenery, bluer skies, and I for one prefer the sausage to the chicken! The homemade pies occur at all the church suppers, donated by the families of the parish. Below is a link to the Catholic Missourian's 2011 list of parish fund-raisers.

I've blogged about several of these; if you click on the "church suppers" label at the bottom of one of my posts, you'll get all those posts to come up. Frankenstein, Bonnot's Mill (there's a B&B at the latter), Taos, Cuba, Rich Fountain.... You could really impress your friends when you tell them you went to visit Frankenstein!

You have to let me know if you're heading up this-a-way so I can arrange to meet you! (Note: mid-October is usually the best time for fall color here in Central Mo.--though this year it might be wonky due to the summer's peculiarities.)


kim wade said...

This made my wedding photographer's heart smile.

Oh, and fnor more wedding bliss in westphalia, here Is the link to a blog post of a wedding we shot in Rich Fountain Missouri (the reception, and shots of couple and wedding party in shed-type thing) were all in Westphalia:

Julianna Schroeder said...

Rich Fountain's a beautiful town. We were there for a church supper a few years ago, and I talked to a teenager about how really cool it is that her church has such an incredible tradition, with everyone pitching in--the kids busing tables, the elders selling meal tickets, etc. I said "a lot of places don't have these anymore; they say 'the younger generation just lost interest.'"

To this, the girl replied, "Oh, no; that won't happen to us. We'll ALWAYS have these suppers." Which is just the right attitude, I think!

By the way, Rich Fountain's fall supper this year is on Oct. 23, thus a possible birthday trip for me!

Re: your wedding photos--awesome, as usual!--So how the heck do you get such great photos in those shadowy church sanctuaries??