Doing nothing is the spirit of Loafer’s Week
The annual Auxvasse Loafer's Week celebrates its 54th anniversary this year. The event is held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., March 24-29, at the Auxvasse Community Hall. "Loafer's is a social week for us. It's just fun," said Auxvasse native and event coordinator Donal Knipp.
Ernest Slater (deceased 1967) owned the town elevator and founded the Auxvasse Loafers Week, after bringing the idea from Laddonia. "It started in February," Knipp said. "That's the time of the year that farmers aren't in the fields yet, so he had a day at the elevator for the farmers and seed representatives to talk and take orders. They called it Loafer's Day. Peanuts and coffee were served and people played cards and visited. They could stay all day. It went on like that for several years, then they decided to move it into the community hall to serve ham sandwiches. It eventually grew into different groups fixing a meal.
"Over the years, it's grown into a week long event, in which a different group in the area helps to serve a different meal every day. It traditionally began on Washington's Day, but we moved it a month in hopes of better weather."
Monday, the Auxvasse Presbyterian Church offered pulled pork sandwiches, with potato salad, cole slaw and baked beans. Tuesday, the Auxvasse Senior Center served ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and cole slaw. Wednesday, roast pork, scalloped potatoes, green beans and rolls were served by the Mexico Go Gitters. Thursday, the Auxvasse Community center served turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, slaw and desert. The event is closed today, but will reopen Saturday, from 7 a.m. to noon, for the Auxvasse Lions Club to serve a pancake, bacon and sausage breakfast. Free coffee, ice tea and peanuts have been served all week.
Knipp said the event was well attended as of noon on Tuesday and Thursday is usually the most attended meal, but overall attendance is down in recent years. "We used to have an awful lot of people come back for this, who grew up here and left to find work. The food and visiting are the main attractions. Very few people play cards anymore, but go back 50 years ago, there'd be people sitting around playing cards all day. In the past, the ladies would play canasta and most of the men played pitch. I don't think a lot of people play cards anymore. When I was a kid, we played at home, but we didn't have a TV set yet. Our kids play video games. I don't play video games, but I love looking things up on the computer. It's wonderful, but that has affected people coming and playing cards and dominoes. I don't think anybody played dominoes at all last year."
Long-time loafers J.C. Rountree and Homer Spradlin remember the card games. The men are retired farmers who currently rent out their land.
"We've been coming since before it started" as an annual event, Rountree said. "The elevator started this for the farmers to eat and play cards,"
"Operations have gotten so big farmers don't have time to play cards anymore," said Spradlin.
Rountree concluded, "Now, we are busy doing nothing," which is truly in the spirit of Loafer's Week.