Friday, August 15, 2008

Bethel Community Club--An Open Letter to Non-Members

Note: Welcome to Guest Writer, CADH8! She knows of my continuing interest in the doings of people of central Tennessee and has graciously sent this open letter to non-members. The open roads running south along Leiper's Creek epitomize charm. But it's the people who live there that make this community a wonderful place to live or visit. They are gracious, friendly, and never lacking in kind hospitality.

Thanks for your letter CADH8!

To all non-club members:

cc: Bethel Community Club members

Dear folks,

I am writing this letter to extend an invitation of membership to our club, the Bethel Community Club. We meet on the first Monday of every month, right here in historic Bethel, TN.

Bethel is a small corner of the world, just south of Leiper's Fork, although please don't think we are a simple extension of that burgh. (Make such an association in the presence of Garfield, or worse, his wife Doris, and you will receive a scolding the likes of which you have never experienced.) No, we are a place in our own right. Newly posted signs mark both edges of this unincorporated town, thanks to Reece, who had some connections that helped to provide this distinction.

Settled in the early 19th century, or perhaps before, there has only been electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing in many local homes for perhaps the past 50 years. Many a club member knows what it means to kill his own food and then chop the wood to cook it with while his wife hauls the water to cook it in. But we are moving into the 20th century, although we understand that everyone else has now moved on into the 21st. No matter, we won’t let ourselves be rushed.

We are a right vibrant club, although the average age of members is probably around 70. It is not required that you live in Bethel to be a member, but it is suggested, for where else would you rather live after all? The only membership requirements are that you pay your dues and do your part, which means helping with the annual Fish fry and Homecoming events.

Inflation reaches all areas, sadly, and dues have doubled in the past year! We had to raise our fee from $5 per family per year to a full $10. And on top of that, even members must pay to rent the building now...a steep $25 per day. However, it is $50 for non-members, so you can see the benefits of joining.

Founded in the 80s, (that’s 1980’s) many of the original members still direct this group and attend every function. Many former members are not members of this world any longer, for if they were, we know they would still be present club meetings and bringing covered dishes to the functions. As stated above, the main functions of the club are holding an annual fish fry and an annual homecoming. Club members cook lots of pies and other food items in preparation. There is often something raffled off (although some in the community refuse to participate as such activities smack of gambling) for the sake of building club coffers. At homecoming there is a train ride and horse shoe competition. All proceeds go to the club that in turn tries to help the community as needs arise.

You could not ask for a better group of people than our members. And you don’t have to do much for them to win their hearts forever--just be a willing worker with a love for this place. Do this and you will have all of Bethel at your side if ever you find yourself in need. Why just this month we are giving a benefit for a local couple who have hit hard times. We will spend the day selling BBQ plates, pies, glasses of tea, and chances on a shotgun, and auctioning off all sorts of items in the hopes of making their lives a bit easier. Everyone will do their part. I am making 2 pies, myself. What will you do?

Well, time for me to close, ya’ll. We hope to see you soon down at the club.

Your friend and neighbor,


P.S. Come on down Leipers Creek Road. Watch for Nett's Country Store and Deli on the right. Turn in there and bear left. You'll see the club straight on.

Or, you can take the scenic route and go down the Natchez Trace Parkway and get off on Hwy. 7 in Fly (where you might want to look out for such famous people as Nicole Kidman or Keith Urban when they aren't off to Australia), then come up Leipers Creek that way.


cadh 8 said...

I love how this turned out. THe slide show was great...Really let you focus on some of the details of the pictures that you miss when you look at the whole thing.

Very cool.

Hope it will bring lots of visitors to Bethel. Soon we hope to have a historic marker at our club, but Reece is still trying to pull enough strings to get that done. But it really would be a distinction then!

brd said...

I was pleased with the slideshow, also. However, I was hoping the stern sign on the upright piano behind Ms. Doris were more readable: Cakes for Cake Walk!!! In other words, "There is plenty of food on the table. Don't you go cutting into the Cake Walk prize stash!"

Thanks so much for the invitation. I sure will be coming to the doings the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.