Tragedy struck Langley Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon when every covered dish at the church’s monthly potluck was a green bean casserole. Stunned onlookers watched in horror as family after family arrived with the same popular side dish in tow. By the time grace was said over the meal, there were over twenty-five green bean casseroles lining the buffet table with no meat dish in sight.
Marilyn Perkins, supervisor of the Langley Baptist potluck, recalls the terror of witnessing the casseroles flooding in. “I’ve heard scary stories from other churches about excess hominy, but you never think it’s going to happen to your church,” she said in tears. “All I could think at the time was, Why us, Lord… why us?”
Repercussions from the church disaster were felt throughout the community as area grocers reported a shortage of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and French’s French Fried Onions.
A few brave church members weathered the green bean avalanche by using large amounts of sweet tea to wash it down, while others, dazed and hungry, fled to their homes. A small faction of survivors, led by Jim Fairbanks, found shelter at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. “Deacon Fairbanks was quick-thinking and saved my life,” said Anita West. “Just when I was about to go down, he threw me a Happy Meal. I was able to cling to that until help arrived.”
Deacon Fairbanks, however, shrugged off Mrs. West’s praise. “The real hero was Frank Woodburn, who tripped while helping other members cross the parking lot to the golden arches. I’ll never forget him lying there on the concrete, refusing my outstretched hand and screaming, ‘Save yourself!’ Now that’s a true hero. Frank will be missed.”