For many years in Iowa my dad was the leader of our church "branch," as our little congregation was called. In those days, it was common for congregations of our faith to hold yearly fund raisers to raise money for local church activities. One year, it was decided that our branch would sell refreshments along the route of a well-attended annual summer state-wide bike race.
The church members did much to prepare for the large undertaking. We were a small group so everyone's help was needed. There were signs to make, tables to haul, refreshments to purchase, and a stand to man in anticipation of the hungry and thirsty bikers.
A very cool and shady location along the bike route was selected. With beautifully painted signs posted along the route, tables set up with an array of refreshments, and plenty of beverages on tap, early one Saturday morning, our congregation stood ready to service the athletes.
As the Iowa summer sun rose, we were more than pleased with our selected sunless spot we had nicknamed Shady Grove for the day. The heat and humidity intensified and we were confident our green grass and well treed refreshment stand would be the one selected over any other by the bikers. In fact, we began to worry we might be too successful. Had we purchased enough goods? Would we sell out in only an hour or two and have to pack up early?
Soon the first bikers were spotted. We ran to the edge of the street to see their bikes coasting down the hill before us and swoosh, they flew past our stand and coasted half way up the next hill before they started furiously pedaling again. Unfortunately, they were not the only bikers that day to forgo a rare easy coast halfway up the next hill. And so the day continued with most bikers by-passing Shady Grove nestled, yes among the trees, but also at the valley of two rather sizable hills.
At the close of a long, disappointing day, after everything was cleaned up and accounted for, we realized that our fund raiser had barely broken even. A few extra goods were returned to suppliers, but some perishables were considered a loss. Among those perishables were boxes and boxes of glazed donuts. One of the church members offered a large freezer in which to store the dozens and dozens of donuts.
For the rest of the summer, Sunday afternoons were a little different. After church services concluded, all the children ages 1 - 18 were invited out on the side lawn, where we were greeted with several boxes of freshly-thawed donuts. Taking no regard for being in our Sunday best, we gobbled up the sticky sweet treats with delight.
One Sunday a traveling church authority had come to visit our branch from several miles away. He happened to have brought a couple of his young teen-age sons with him. When services had concluded, like clockwork all the kids went directly outside to await the no longer surprising dispersal of treats.
My dad made a quick appearance to supposedly check on things. The two visiting boys had also made their way outside and stood on the edge of the lawn a bit bewildered at the boxes of donuts lined up and the children freely taking the confections by the handfuls.
Quickly noticing their wide eyes my dad stepped alongside them and offered, "You boys seem a bit surprised. Everything all right?" "Yes sir," they responded. "It's just..." "Then my dad pressed, "Don't they do this at your church?" "No sir," the boys responded slowly shaking their heads, unable to take their eyes off the lawn filled with children and donuts. Not willing to let such easy targets off so easily, my dad continued, "Really? Huh. All the kids here get free refreshments after church every week. Just ask 'em." And then he abandoned the amazed boys and ran off to sneak his own handful of complimentary sugary pastries.