Editor's note: This is one of several stories in the E-T's Horizons 2012 special section, which can be found inside Sunday's print edition. For more stories like this, check out the rest of the section online under news.
In an age when texting and emails are supplanting the friendly cup of coffee with a friend, Morgan Mill has managed to hold onto its community spirit. And that esprit de corps is alive and well each second Saturday of the month when the community center is teeming with both convivial conversation and the alluring smells of breakfast fare. There isn’t a calorie counter in sight, so patrons are encouraged to forget their diets and cholesterol counts and enjoy themselves while feasting on a plateful of bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy.
Retired from the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, Dr. Ken Stokes is a regular at the monthly events. He explained the community breakfast’s origins.
“It started about four or five years ago,” he said. “We built the center and a fellow suggested we have a recurring community breakfast to pay the expenses like insurance and to keep the center going. It was a success from the very start. Good for the bank account, but it is a tremendous social event.”
Sandy and John Sandstrom are the resident Belgium waffle experts. Their popular treats are a crowd pleaser, but only every third month, when they typically make over one hundred waffles. Sandy willingly divulges their secret to making such fluffy delicacies.
“We separate the egg whites from the yolk,” Sandy said. “When they are stiff, we fold them into the batter.”
Aside from delicious food, the Morgan Mill citizenry is a warm and inviting crowd. According to Stokes, no one can leave until every table has been visited.
“The process of coming and visiting is more important than eating,” he said.
Stokes credits beloved 92 year old Verbie Burns, who is described as a rock to the community, as the initiator of Morgan Mill’s welcoming spirit.
“She has always been open to new people. And we’ve all learned that from Verbie,” Stokes said.
“I’ve probably been around here longer than anyone else,” she admitted, which definitely qualifies her as the town’s true doyenne.
The social occasion attracts people from outside the city limits as well. Former residents of Arlington, Judy and Fred Warden, were visiting from Bluff Dale.
“We love it,” Fred said when asked about his take on the breakfast get-together. “It’s a lot of fun to meet folks from Bluff Dale. There’s definitely a Bluff Dale presence here. Seems we will drive clear to anywhere to get food.”
And while citizens of Morgan Mill certainly like to eat together, there’s no slack in the “work together” ethic, either. With Roscoe Davis at the helm of the project for the last few years, there is seldom a shortage of people willing to help out when it’s their turn.
The kitchen is a hum of activity with Anna Babinszki and Sonja Reagan pulling their shift in the background and Mike Tucker standing ready to lend a hand.
The camaraderie doesn’t stop in the community center with its once a month breakfasts. The school is an integral part of Morgan Mill’s success as it continues to grow with newcomers who are attracted to the one-of-a-kind town.
“This community is unique,” Stokes said. “The school is the glue factory that keeps everything together. People are involved in the local schools. It makes the perfect transition place for new people and helps them to become part of the community.”
Morgan Mill Volunteer firefighter, Gary Key, echoes his friend’s sentiment.
“It’s just a special place for people of all generations to come together—both old timers and newcomers to the community,” he said.