Sunday, December 7, 2014

After Church Memories

When I was a kid, we went to church every Sunday. Unless we were puking, or had pink eye, we were at church. That's the way it was at our house because my dad also happened to be the pastor of the church we went to.

Every Sunday, my sister and I would go to Sunday School, then sit through church, then wait with mom and dad until the church was empty. By that time we were starving. (It never occurred to me or my parents to pack snacks for us for after church. Maybe that's why I'm anal-retentive about having snacks for the kids.) It would feel like forever sometimes, but when we finally did pull out of the parking lot of the Camp Point United Methodist Church, we knew that lunch wasn't very far away.

Every Sunday, we would go out to eat after church. My dad served two churches at the time, and Sundays were a work day for him. The last thing he and mom wanted to do was make lunch after an action-packed morning. Rarely did we ever just go home and make lunch. Our after church fare came most frequently from one of three places; Larry's, The Paloma Restaurant, or Stockyard Inn. (And when I say "Stockyard Inn", I mean it was literally at a place where farmers bought and sold livestock.)

Larry's was always a good choice because out of the three I mentioned, it was the closest to the church. It was two blocks away; so close we could walk there, and sometimes we did. Larry's was where the Sunday School class "The Builders" would meet once a month (or maybe it was every other month. I don't remember, it was a very long time ago.) But they would invite the pastor and his family out to their meeting, and we would enjoy a lunch buffet. After eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes, melon balls, corn, green beans, white bread rolls, and noodles, thick, homemade noodles with chicken, my sister and I would go out in the hallway where the coats were hung and play while the meeting portion of the lunch was held.

Other Sundays, we would go to the Paloma Restaurant. It was two towns down the road on highway 24, which meant it was about a ten minute drive. Paloma had absolutely the best chicken and noodles than any of the other places to eat. It had a home-town menu, just like Larry's, but the crowd there was a little different. It consisted mostly of the folks who lived in Paloma and Coatsburg, the two towns in our school system lying to the west of Camp Point.

That's the Paloma Restaurant hiding behind the bank.

But my favorite place out of the three regular restaurants we chose for our after church fare, was the Stockyard Inn. Lying halfway between Camp Point and Coatsburg, the Stockyard Inn sat all by itself right next to the stalls and paddocks where live stock was bought and sold. Farming was (and still is) a huge industry in this area of Illinois, and this local eatery attracted an after church crowd on Sundays, and an agricultural crowd during the week. The woman who managed it (maybe she owned it too, I don't know), wore her hair in a short beehive. I loved her because after we were all finished eating, she would always bring a treat to the table for my sister and me. Sometimes it was a full-sized Kit-Kat bar, sometimes it was a Tootsie Pop. Whatever sweetness she chose to share with us, we were always grateful. I loved eating there so much that I asked my parents to take me there (and our extended family, since they were all in town ) the night before my confirmation, for dinner .

The road to where the Stockyard Inn used to sit.

Ages and ages have passed since I ate at these beloved establishments. As far as I know, the Paloma Restaurant is still thriving, Larry's changed its name to Marcella's, and the Stockyard Inn closed its doors probably close to a decade ago if not longer.

I thought back to those places last week, as I was sitting at India Palace with my own family after church. Corey and I don't always go out to eat on Sundays, but its more likely to happen on the days we go to church. We mostly end up going to India Palace or Golden Dragon, a far cry from the fried chicken and white dinner rolls of my youth. We are making our own family traditions, and giving the kids their own after church memories.  The one thing that my childhood dining and my childrens' experience have in common is family. Sunday is family day, and we spend it together. Whether we are eating out, or going to a birthday party, or hiking, whatever we do, we share it together. I am glad to chip in a few Fun Dollars every now and then to give some time to my family and some memories to my kids.

Lunch at India Palace- $11.00
Cookie Dough and Glittery Purple Binder at Safeway- $6.00
Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel split with Corey- $5.00
Balance this pay cycle- $0.00
Happy Spending!


  1. The Stockyard inn.... I loved how the lady knew that the dolls left there were always mine :)

  2. Who knew we were making such memories? We were just hungry!! A great lesson in the power of present experiences to make lasting memories. What joy!