Forget the snow, it’s pancake time

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 12, 2012

On the second Sunday in February, when the weather turns cold and treacherous, there is only way thing to do. Head out to the annual Rotary Club pancake breakfast in Ironton.

And that’s what people did on Saturday, waiting in line in the frigid temperatures at the AEP building on South Third Street before the doors opened at 7 a.m.

After that, there was a steady stream of pancake lovers and community supporters in and out of the makeshift dining room through noon.

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It was the first time for the Rev. James H. Stowe Jr., pastor of Quinn Chapel Church, to try out the breakfast, eating a plate of buttermilk pancakes and sausage with his 4-year-old daughter, Shiloh.

“This is awesome,” Stowe said. “It serves to pull the town together and to appreciate each other. It is a day of service and how much we appreciate serving.”

Coming to the breakfast is a longtime tradition for Mary Wilcoxon, who shared a table with her daughter, Rayetta Waldo, and other family members.

“I can’t remember a year that I have missed,” Waldo said. “It is a community tradition. Sometimes you don’t run into people for a long time and you get to see them here.”

Manning the griddles were Darwin Haynes, Jay Zornes and Ray “Doc” Payne, each with his own style of turning out the flapjacks.

Haynes, in a black bow tie and white chef coat, contended timing was everything, cooking his pancakes for no more or less than 70 seconds.

On the other side of the pancake debate was Payne, who took a more intuitive approach, eyeing the breakfast pastries to decide when it was just the right time to flip them over.

Zornes was somewhere in the middle.

No matter the technique, the crowd seemed to wolf down the results since all three men went through pitcher after pitcher of batter throughout the morning.

“The bad weather brings out the people because when it’s cold they don’t have anything else to do,” Haynes said of the nearly 500 orders prepared. “This is the best crowd we’ve had in years.”

Father David Huffman is a relative newcomer to the breakfast and keeps coming back because he admires the work of the Rotarians.

“I know the Rotary and the work they do,” Huffman said. “I support their work.”

All the proceeds from the breakfast go to causes near at home and abroad. Part of the money will support Rotary International whose goal is to end polio throughout the world. And locally the club sponsors annual nursing scholarships at Ohio University Southern and buys dictionaries for all third graders in Lawrence County schools, among other projects.

But, good causes, aside it was knowing the breakfast would be a fun way to spend the morning that brought people out.

“It’s the people,” Dianne Clement said. “It’s good food, but it’s the people who make it special.”