12 October 2008

Fundraising, Dowell Style

Life in Dowell isn't all amber waves of grain...or should I say combines and corn fields. Sometimes, it's a wicked-fun bunch of people who know how to put on a good time. Case in point. Last night I attended my third annual Dowell Volunteer Fire Department Fundraising Dinner and Auction. Well, I actually skipped the dinner, but attended the auction. I've missed two auctions because the MoBot Systematics Symposium is ALWAYS held on the same weekend, and I generally ended up opting for a dinner on the Hill instead of rushing home for the auction. But research funds being so tight this year, and the symposium topic being on South Africa, I decided to opt for the closer-to-home mind expanding event.

I live two doors from the volunteer fire department. That is a blessing and a curse. If'n my house ever catches on fire, I figure they'll get here pretty darn fast. On the other hand, every time there is a fire, I first hear the air siren alerting the volunteers to come a-runnin', which is quite an abrupt alarm clock if they get a call in the middle of the night. Second then is the truck or ambulance sirens as they streak out of the firehouse. Then again, it isn't any worse or better than the train blasting their whistle as they streak through our intersection in the middle of the night. You get so you don't hear it after a while. When I was a kid, the firehouse in our small town was a small red brick building, hardly any wider than it takes to park 2 fire trucks, with an upper floor of one room where 6 firemen or so had to live, eat, and do their business in tight quarters. My town had about 27,000 people. The Dowell Fire House is an aluminum building that can hold 6 full-size emergency vehicles. The town is 450 strong.

And once a year, they polish up the trucks, pull them out front, set up tables and chairs, and put on a kick-ass barbeque dinner and auction. All the items are donated by local businesses. They have a 50/50 raffle. Whatever proceeds are collected, the winner splits 50/50 with the fire department. The first year I attended the auction, I won the 50/50. It was quite an exciting night! They also raffle a shotgun. I heard the fire chief say that they had raised well over $1200 in the raffle for that gun. Never underestimate the small-town folks to dream big--especially in the vicinity of deer season. Damn, Palin would be proud.

I would guess they had about 120 auction items. Almost every auction package included a baseball cap. I don't know what it is about those caps. There was a joke when you won a package that included a hat, the folks around you pat you on the back and say "welcome to the hat club!"

Small town humor.

I paced myself. I bought a 1/4 sheet cake for $4. I bought 2 pizzas from the local gas station/pizza joint for $10. And then this sad little floral display came up and no one would bid on it. So I bid $2. And then someone bid $3. The auctioneer returns his gaze to me. Begins trash talking. I'm shaking my head no and thinking to myself, thank god someone else outbid me. But now he's like a dog on a bone. Come on, now. You can't win that thing if you won't bid. You know she's gonna bid $5. So I acquiesce. $4. Damn if she didn't give up.


$4 for THIS:And did I mention that it was in a beat up old colander? Good God. How am I gonna re-gift this? Any takers? Please? Well, then, just be that way. But if it shows up on your doorstep one day with a big bow on it, remember it was for a good cause.

Here's the rest of my haul. Grand total: $44.

There were some interesting items up for sale.Everything from a purse to a stereo system. Note there were several bushels of apples for sale.
These are the ladies who cooked dinner for everyone. Well, the guys grilled the meat in the bbq pit in the park, but these ladies did the real work.
I wish I had some software to put an arrow in my pictures. I'd point out the couple that bought about 10 bottles of booze. Guess they are going to have a good year.
Every year someone asks me where I live, if I'm from the area, and I meet one or two new people. Even those who take no interest in me always make small talk. I kinda like Dowell. It grows on you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That sounds like so much fun. You told your story perfectly liz, and what a haul! Four dollars for a collander, by the way, isn't too bad... =>
    can you use the plants for plant biology lectures as props?