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How I Miss Rural Box Suppers

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.


The location of this memorable event is found in the 1940’s, 50’s and a few of the early years of the 60’s. If you are my age (68 and not ashamed of it!), then you need to sit down, get a cup of coffee or iced tea and remember those exciting Box Suppers brought so much happiness to the single school students and those single folk who attended this event. No age limit. It was all fun.

In simplest terms, a box supper was when a bevy of young girls (who didn’t know how to cook) their momma’s would cook the girls some delicious fried chicken, biscuits, cake or pie, and other tasty items. This did not start-out as a picnic but as it evolved, it just ended up that way for the young girls and boys’ delight.

Box suppers worked like this: the pretty girls who submitted their suppers to a fair and level-minded judge or committee, would hold the supper up at a chosen time when the early fellowship was over and he would tell the girl’s name on the box supper and the bidding began. The ulterior motive was so sweet because the romantic-minded boys who had saved-up the money to bid on the supper who he loved in a quiet nature. The highest bid won. And the excited girls would take their suppers and lucky beau’s to a quiet place for him to eat the delicious food.

Of course, there was a bit of kissing and hand-holding to further solidify their budding romance. But the poor guys who wanted to bid for the girl who also loved her, was left out in the cold, but the judge was quick to offer these guys some warm consolation. Honestly speaking, no matter how much the guys were consoled, that did not change the pain of losing his girl and supper to a rival.


(Information for above photo)

Mrs. Marie R. Turner, and David Donoho at a pie and box supper. Many parents and young people from the school and nearby communities attend the pie and box supper given by the school to raise money for additional repairs and supplies.

You might think, as I once did, that box suppers were nothing but a waste of time. But this was never proven or even written in any local newspaper. I grew-up during the years of box suppers and I can tell you that when a box supper was going to be held, you could feel the excitement in their words and eyes. It was similar to being Christmas twice a year.

In my younger days box suppers were held in one place: New Home School, that I have written about in the past. This two-room school house had plenty of room for everyone to enjoy that very special night. Even my mom urged me, although I was a kid, to let her and dad take us to one of these wonderful events, but in those years, I was happier to just stay hidden underneath a bed.

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I would like to tell you that box suppers were designed by nice little elves who made the boxes and anointed them with star dust, but there were a few times that the couples who “claimed” each other, suddenly broke-up when the boyfriend’s main rival had more money to bid on the girl’s box of goodies, which made the real boyfriend angry and it was not long until a fist-fight ensued.

Of course not every couple who hit trouble eventually broke-up because they did kiss and make-up and the fight was forgotten. The couples who did not stay together were sworn enemies. I find this example very strange because if the boy’s rival won his girlfriend’s box of goodies, the rival and girl did not marry later on because the girl and boy’s love was solid. Yes, these sad and good memories were great to talk about during those bitterly cold winter nights sitting near their fireplace.

A fist-fight and a tragic break-up all because of a few pieces of fried chicken and a chocolate cake? Sure. Did I tell you that the monies made from the box suppers went to help the school (where the box suppers were held) buy supplies to help the students whose parents could not afford pencils, paper and other needed-supplies.

This, folks, did have its dark time. Some people lived in poverty conditions and did not have work. I can tell you, and this comes from a personal testimony, “these” people did not live in poverty forever. No. As time went by, these same families did have money to plant a few rows of corn or beans and they sold them as produce or bartered them for flour, meal, meat, coffee and milk.

I know that the times I lived in were not all rose and butterflies, but I have always believed that there was something magical about the box suppers which some idiotic-thinkers said were a waste of time.

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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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