Memories of the Morris MCC Relief Sale

Are you a bad Mennonite?

I suppose the criteria for what makes one a “bad Menno” might be somewhat open to interpretation, especially given the numerous fractures of the group over the past 500 years. What makes you a bad Mennonite to one group, might make you an awesome Mennonite in another.

For example, me. I gamely call myself a Mennonite these days… even though there’s a helluva lotta stuff I don’t know about Mennonites.  Like the Morris MCC Relief Sale. I had no idea about this sale until I met my friend Tracy. Tracy was all about this sale. She even organized a vereniki station, commandeering an entire machine shed full of tables and volunteers. Naturally if you knew Tracy, you knew she’d strive to enlist you. I was able to help out twice before the final Sale in 2014.

I’d been to the Morris Stampede Grounds before… for the actual Morris Stampede. But never for the MCC Sale, which I learned was a pretty big deal. The MCC hosts several Relief Sales throughout the year, in various parts of Manitoba, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. The funds raised goes to support the MCC’s work in peace, relief, and development around the world.

I arrived with enough time to quickly explore the grounds, before my shift began. I was wowed by all the foodstuffs in the tents — tonnes of pulses and lentils in bulk, beautiful garden produce, meat, you name it. The parking lot was jam-packed, and people poured through the grounds. There was music, there were auctions, there was activity in every direction. Inside there was baking for sale, and crafts, and all manner of sales taking place. After a quick tantalizing tour, I had to get to my station, throw on my apron and name tag, and get to work doling out farmer sausage and listening to Tracy. The lines went straight out the door.

I was delighted to have discovered this sale! And then, suddenly, the announcement that the Morris MCC Sale had breathed its last. It sucks to only just discover something, only to find out it’s being canceled. Fewer and fewer people were coming out and spending, meanwhile the work it took to put on the event remained intense, as the volunteers increased in age, not enough youngsters were stepping in. If only there were more Tracys.