Rohrersville Ruritan Club serves up oysters, friendship

January 20, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

ROHRERSVILLE - The sign on the narrow road leading back to the old Rohrersville schoolhouse reads "no outlet."

The tone at the Rohrersville Ruritan Club's Oyster Supper inside the schoolhouse, in contrast, was like welcoming arms thrown wide open to its patrons.

It's no wonder that people driving through the tiny town overlook the sign and press on to the genial service and satisfying meal.

Tommy Frazier, 55, of Mount Airy, Md. remembers the first time he traveled about 60 miles to attend one of the fundraisers.


"I saw it advertised and decided to come," Frazier said. "We got lost and couldn't find it. We called on the phone after hours, and these ladies waited for us and served us."

Since that happened nearly 10 years ago, Frazier and his friend, Nelson Grimes of Frederick, Md., have attended the suppers regularly.

"We come all the time," Frazier said at Saturday's supper. "It's definitely worth the trip."

About 350 other people make attending the suppers a priority, too. Bob Tonetti, president of the Rohrersville Ruritan Club, said the fundraisers draw both familiar and new faces each time.

Even 9-year-old Hollee Winders of Hagerstown noted the affable atmosphere.

"The people are really nice," Hollee said.

Hollee, who said she has a penchant for the mashed potatoes at the suppers, attended with her brother, Jarrett, 3, her mother, Misti Winders, and her grandmother, Esther Wolfensberger.

Wolfensberger said she enjoys the suppers for the good food and because she used to go to school in the schoolhouse.

"I like to come back for a walk down memory lane," said Wolfensberger, 70, of Hagerstown.

Beyond the buffet, an overflow crowd sat on metal folding chairs filling two small rooms.

Donald Weicht, 47, of Downsville and his wife, Mary, 48, sat among the group waiting for their numbers to be called for supper.

"Oh, this is worth the wait," Donald Weicht said. "November was the last oyster feed, and I've been waiting for two months. The oysters are real good."

The Weichts said they discovered the suppers about four years ago.

"The people that work here are just wonderful," Mary Weicht said.

Perhaps the bona fide family ties among Ruritan members and volunteers lend to the warm family feeling of the suppers. Near as they can recall, members say the oyster suppers go back at least 30 years.

Ruritan member David Smith, 64, of Boonsboro, and his wife, Gail, remember their daughter, Amy, sitting on a stool drying silverware at a supper when she was about 1 1/2 years old. On Saturday, Amy, 30, stood at the foot of the buffet line serving up oysters.

Cindy Smith, David's sister-in-law, is secretary of the club.

"We have multiple generations here," she said. "The little girls with aprons are our granddaughters. We have a small group, but a lot of volunteers. The ones who aren't really family become family."

The oyster suppers usually are on the third Saturday of October, November, and January through April from 2 to 5 p.m., and bring in between $1,200 and $1,500.

Tonetti said the money raised is used to maintain the old schoolhouse, fund Rohrersville Ruritan Park across the street from the schoolhouse and provide support for local individuals and organizations.

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