A Very Special Father’s Day (She wanted steamed clams… lots of steamed clams)


Dick & Marge Yard

A Very Special Father’s Day

It truly was a sight to behold and on more than one level. To call it “a family cook-out” would be an understatement to say the least. The story that is about to unfold is one filled with many ingredients; love, humbleness, family and American dream are just a few that come to mind as I write this.

I’m 52 years and I have known of the Yard’s all my life. Marge & Dick Yard are school bus drivers in my community. I am a school bus driver in my community and I came to know Marge & Dick as friends when I started driving bus 18 years ago. Both have long since retired but continue to drive as substitutes nearly every week if not every day. I kind of personally feel that they really don’t have to work so much, but it gives them something to do… And they’re dedicated to what they do. After all they are the ones who are there all the time while the full time drivers are constantly out. They’re both really cool people… they’re what I call “good people.”


Dick approached me a few weeks ago and took me by surprise when he asked if I could cook some food for a small family get-together he was having on Father’s Day. I just never thought he would ask me something like that. He went on to say it was his 85th birthday and his twin sister was coming to visit and he needed catered food so no one would have to cook. Whoa! Hold on here just a minute… 85th birthday, twin sister… I had no idea Dick had a twin sister. I knew he had a sister, but I never knew they were twins. And how could he be turning 85 years old when… was he just 67 years old like few years ago when I started driving bus. Oh… yeah that’s right I’ve been driving for 18 years, gosh how time flies. So as he continues to talk I’m trying to get my head around how important this event is going to be. A man who is fortunate enough to have an 85th birthday on Father’s Day and have all his family, wife, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and twin sister all there at the same time. That right there is more than amazing and how blessed one truly could be. And in good health I might add. Wow! And he is just talking like it’s no big deal. Like I said “humble.”


Richard (Dick) Yard Happy 85th Birthday My Friend

After giving him some basic info, like all good husbands he said “I will talk to Marge about it.” So yes it turned into a full on pig roast. But Marge wasn’t so much worried about the roasted pig as she was the clams. She wanted steamed clams… lots of steamed clams. So of course I did just that, I ordered lots and lots of steamed clams… and butter, don’t forget the butter. Of course there was all the other good side dishes that make any American style family BBQ complete like corn on the cob (with lots of butter), my red skin country potato salad, baked beans with smoked sausage and apples, hamburgers & hot dogs and more.


Munn Smith with her infamous smile.

My wife was excited too, she has heard me talk about a lot of the people I work with over the years and she always wondered when she would get to meet the Yard’s (if ever). Munn was really looking forward to this, being a Thai lady who comes from a very close family and from a village lifestyle where older people are very much respected she loves to see families come together. And as I have stated many times “it is events like this that are the collateral fun of my crazy little catering business.” We get to see all kinds of memories being made right in front of are eye while we work. Kind of “hokie” I know, but true all the same.

So the location of the party was at the oldest son’s house. Just a very beautiful private country setting, actually almost story book like for this special Father’s Day. No not a big palatial upper crust mansion, but rather a beautiful home that was built by a self-employed hard working man who himself is living the American dream.

So the stage is set but… what does Mother Nature have to say about it? The weather was gorgeous so let’s party. Oh but wait… Munn forgot to pack the BBQ sauce. So after Tiny and I made a quick trip back, now all was good.


Twins Dick and his sister Marge on their 85th Birthday

Of course the pig was awesome and just set the mood for the day. To me the pig is just food to eat. However at the same time the roasted pig is what denotes the day as something very special. The smell of the hardwood smoke and pork fat rendering as the day progresses just puts a smell in the air and when guests approach the whole scene it is like casting a magical spell that says “today is very special” and it was special. While Dick and his sister were celebrating twin birthdays Marge was celebrating too. She walked up to me at one point and said “out of the 50 or so people in attendance, only three were not her family. Marge had all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and husband together in one place and all having fun. And that right there is an American dream and a blessed thing. Munn & I were so happy to be there to see it and to cook for them.

Happy birthday Dick and many more my good friend.



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