Media Archive

Milo couple serves up holiday cheer with all the fixings

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 51, December 18, 2002

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Freda and Everett Cook ready for annual Christmas feast

MILO The holidays, for many, offer precious time - out of a hectic year - to share with family.

It is a time of giving and loving, creating memories and reflecting on histories.

For some, it is a time of loneliness.

For Freda and Everett Cook, it is a goal to combat that loneliness with a shared dinner for all who may come.

The Cooks, as their last name implies, are big on cooking. When they're not running The Hitching Post bed and breakfast in town, they're catering dinners for local groups and organizations.

This is their fifth year cooking up a feast, free of charge, which will be served at noon on Christmas, at the Milo Town Hall.

It is their gift to the community.

Freda Cook, on Monday, was in her kitchen, baking cookies and pies, while reflecting on their fifth annual Christmas dinner.

"It's just like having company for dinner," she said, with a knowing nod. She said that it takes little effort to prepare the dinner for 70 plus people, because so many volunteer to help out.

It has become a community effort. The Key Club from Penquis Valley High School in Milo will serve this year. Many come to help cook, eat or provide company and good conversation, Freda said.

In fact, the dinner costs nothing for the Cooks, because donations come in from the community monetary donations, turkeys and more. Any money leftover will be gifted to a family or perhaps an organization in need, Freda said.

Last year 75 people attended the dinner in the dining area downstairs at the town hall, she said. Each year, more people seem
to hear about the dinner and show up. The goal this year is to serve 100.

Freda said that they started the dinner more than 10 years ago, but that it began as a Thanksgiving feast. She said that many people do for those who are alone on Thanksgiving, however, so the dinner was moved to Christmas.

It is fast becoming a holiday tradition in a town that hasn't had the best of luck, lately.

"We have people who look forward to this," she said. "It starts the first of December people start asking, 'Are you having the dinner this year?"' It's refreshing to see the smiles on their face when you say, 'yes.'"

She said the dinner is as much a way for the Cooks to spend time with others, as their five children have grown and some moved out of state.

This year, the menu will feature turkey and all the fixings, as well as frozen desserts. Freda, like so many others, said she can't wait.

"It's therapy," she said. "We get to enjoy the day with friends and neighbors and then, later, pass out because we're so tired. But, it's a good tired."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.