VINTON – As the weekend comes to an end, several friends and families in Vinton find themselves at the home of Vince and Evette Bennett on Ashley Court in Vinton. With chairs and tables laid out in a large circle in the garage they laugh, play music, share gossip from the week, make plans for upcoming events, unwind, and eat dinner.
It began several months back when Angie Chewning Lewis got the idea to invite people over to her house for dinner. “I called them up and said ‘come over to my house and we’ll have a Sunday Soup Dinner” she explained. “Of course they asked me ‘What’s a Sunday Soup Dinner?’ and I told them that we’d all make a pot of soup and then bring it over and that’s what we’d have for dinner.”
While it began with soup, this ‘Sunday Soup Club’ has evolved beyond just soup. First they began meeting at the Bennett’s house because there was more room for everyone, and the group was growing with more families and friends coming along. Then, the menu changed. Instead of just soup, Lewis and Tammy Halliwill pick a theme for each week’s meal. So far they’ve done soup, Mexican, pizza & pasta/Italian, and even an ‘appetizers’ night. Soon they will be having a ‘wings’ night.
As they gathered in the kitchen, fixing plates this week’s various casserole dishes, Tammy Halliwill commented on everyone coming together. “I love it, my kids love it” she said. She, her husband Don, and their children Jack and Wills try to make it every week. “If we have a conflict and can’t make it, my kids get really upset” she said. “I think it good for them. It’s good for us. It’s good for the soul.”
“It’s a great way to end our weekend, with food and family and socializing,” agreed Evette Bennett who was also in the kitchen fixing plates. The women laughed and noted that Vince Bennett never has to fix food for himself. “You just watch,” said Halliwill, “he sits down and food and drinks just appear. It’s like that everywhere.” “It’s like ‘here I am, now feed me” chimed in Vince’s wife Evette with a laugh. She and her husband have five children: Nick, Joey, Jordan, Maggie, and Mason. Their German Shepard, Isis, happily mingled amongst the people, seeking out a nibble of food whenever possible.
Also there for the evening were Greg Boitnott and Angie Chewning Lewis with her two children Abby and Drake; Angie’s mother Bootie Bell Chewning; Roxanna Price, whose husband Rodney own’s Bob’s in Vinton, and her daughter Toni Vest; Shannon Gray; Julie Whorley and her daughter Meagan; Mark Steagall; and George Martin. The children ran around, playing first out front where the adults had a small fire going to warm the chilly night air, then playing out back on the trampoline. The adults mingled about, wandering if the evening would include Mark playing his guitar and singing.
Bootie commented on the fact that, as young girls, Angie and Tammy had lived only houses away from each other. Though both had moved away from Vinton during some part of their lives, they were both back now with their families. “It’s helped friendships resume,” commented Bootie of the weekly gathering.
Story by Carrie E. Cox