I shouldn’t have had that big bowl of oatmeal Sunday morning.

That thought occurred to me again and again as I covered two events, first the annual Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast and then the Souper Bowl event at the Waunakee Public Library.

At the fire station, hundreds devoured freshly made pancakes hot off the griddle with sausages, eggs and more, while taking some time to warm up during the chilly morning. Families toured the equipment – a police squad car, and ambulance and, of course, fire trucks.

Although my primary interest was getting some nice pictures for the paper, several times, I was encouraged to eat.

“Come for pictures, stay for breakfast,” one firefighter urged.

But that big bowl of oatmeal still weighed heavily in my belly.

My next stop was at the Waunakee Public Library where the Friends group’s first Souper Bowl was just getting underway. Friends members were arranging Nesco roasters and Crock-Pots, each filled with different flavors of soups, with everything from spiced lentil to cream of broccoli and seafood chowder.

As I set to photographing the event, where community members loaded their trays with salads, desserts and drinks before picking out their soup, I felt one strong desire. I had to own one of those bowls, uniquely handcrafted by a Waunakee High School student.

And so this time, I did come for the pictures and stayed for the bowl, and then I noticed a soup I rarely see – crab bisque.

I paid the cost and picked out a bright orange bowl, imagining how cheerful it would look on my kitchen counter holding fruit or candy, and headed for the bisque.

And while I slurped my soup down, forgoing the salad and dessert because, yes, that oatmeal, I reflected on all the volunteers in Waunakee who made both events happen – the firefighters and their families who opened the station doors and cooked breakfast for the community, the Friends of the Library who traveled to all of the restaurants to pick up the donated food, and who arranged the tables with little autumn decorations, and even the library director, who agonized a little at the thought of soup slopping on the brand new carpet.

I thought of their labor of love for this community of Waunakee. And I felt thankful to play my small part.

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