Fall Supper

I went to a Fall Supper in the Community Hall of Dominion City one Sunday evening a few years back.

Dominion City is not a city at all. It’s a village of barely 500 people on the Canadian prairie a dozen miles north of the Canada-US border, a farming community with just a few recreational facilities and several small struggling businesses.

It has two tourist attractions. One is the old Anglican Church turned into a museum.

The second is the statue of a huge sturgeon, a large fish of an ancient and today endangered species, as the story goes, caught in the Roseau River in 1903. It is said to have been 15 feet long, weighing 406 pounds!


Anyway, back to the Community Hall. Fall Suppers are a prairie phenomenon where you get a 10-course meal for 10 or 12 bucks.
It’s an on-going debate what these suppers are called. They take place in fall, that’s for sure. Hence the name.
But some people call them “Fowl Suppers” because the main dish is turkey.

“Foul” others say, remembering their visits to turkey farms, holding their noses.

So what’s it to be?

“Fall Supper” sounds best.

These extraordinary home-cooked country meals are rural events that take place in community halls where people gather for social evenings, good food and renewed acquaintances. They’re a draw for urban folk who find them a good reason to get out of the city. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than an excursion to the town where your relatives still reside.

There are Fall Suppers in the city too, of course, but there is a mysterious, compelling aura in a country town where you catch up on the latest family news with your country cousins.

If you go there alone, it takes no time until one of the ladies serving you takes note that you’re from out of town. “So where are you from?” she asks. “What do you do? How’s the food? Are you enjoying yourself?”

The food you’re served is the best – turkey done to a golden turn, mashed potatoes with gravy, creamy coleslaw and the world’s greatest assortment of homemade pies that are better than that famous dessert called Sex in a Pan. It’s really Six in a Pan because it has six layers, but it’s so good it has become known to be better than sex!

The women who put together these Fall Suppers are the world’s greatest organizers, wearing white aprons and brushing the hair from their eyes as they flirt with you while serving up huge platters of steaming vegetables and mounds of meat. Everything appears piping hot at just the right time for hundreds of hungry people.

The women’s husbands are relegated to the back kitchen to cut up the turkeys while the women smile at each other and secretly laugh at the guys who take their winks seriously. Life is like that for the women of Dominion City, who wear a sly smile that makes you want to believe anything they say.

You don’t believe a 400-pound sturgeon was caught in the Roseau River? Well, there’s a statue of that big old fish right in the middle of town. That’s proof enough, the women say.


The fish story smells a bit, a tale as tall as the name of the town itself. A 400-pound fish caught in a river barely wide enough to canoe in places?

A hamlet calling itself a city?

“Strike Two!”

However, the third pitch is hit with a crack and the ball goes way over the fence – a homer!

That dinner a few years back was the best I ever had. To top it off, a pretty lady from town, whose husband was in the back cutting up a turkey, winked as she picked up a healthy wedge of homemade apple pie and held it out.

“Better than Sex In A Pan,” she said.

I didn’t dare wink back!

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