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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thanksgiving in PEP, Texas

Pep, Texas is a very small town located about 50 miles west of Lubbock, northwest of Levelland, TX. The path to Pep is on State Highway 114 and then Farm to Market 303. On this beautiful Thanksgiving day, with temperatures in the high 30s, we headed out on our journey. Passing through the bounties of this part of Texas, Cotton waiting to be harvested and cotton in big modules, stripped from the plants and waiting to be hauled to the gin, Cattle, Oil and some occasional Sorghum thrown in for a change of color.
Cotton Modules ready to go to the Gin

Cotton Seed Oil Plant
Cotton waiting to be stripped and oil wells
Cotton Module press on the move to another field
Loose Cotton Hauler
 Of course we passed the other parts of Texas in this trip also. The fields of brown grass, sage bush, and mesquite brush, run down and abandon homes, businesses, lone windmills, abandon cattle watering troughs and run down fences.
Abandon Business

This is a land of dreams as big as the Texas skies and dreams that can get dashed into the brown and arid land.
OK, so why are we going to Pep, Texas?

Well, for the last 15 years we have been told to visit Pep on Thanksgiving and partake of the wonderful dinner that is provided by the Catholic Church (St. Philip Neri Hall).
St. Philip Church
 From the Handbook of Texas on-line (William R. Hunt) "The site was part of the Yellow House Ranch of the XIT Ranch. It passed to the Littlefield estate and was then sold by the Yellow House Land Company in 1924. Much of this farmland was sold to Germans interested in establishing a Catholic colony, which they originally named Ledwig for Rev. Francis Ledwig, their pastor. In 1936, reportedly the name Ledwig did not suit the post office department, and Pep was chosen as the town's new name, to reflect an admired characteristic of its residents." Pep had a population of 35 in 2000. Now the population is two (2), and I believe that they both live in a residence at the church. The town consists of a school, Post Office and the church. We were warned to get there early. In a period of three (3) hours (11AM to 2PM) they feed a thousand people or more (about 1,200 in 2014). In addition you can get great German sausage, Breakfast Sausage, home made bread and sauerkraut.  They have been doing this for about 69 years. It started as the annual church Thanksgiving dinner and has emerged as a major fund raiser fr the church.
We were told to arrive early. We did, by arriving at 10:10 A.M. There were already 30 people ahead of us. We passed the time talking to others in line, buying bread, sausage and sauerkraut and trying to stay warm in the mid 30 degree temperature, with a 15 mile an hour wind.
People waiting to enter - 10 minutes before doors open.

The meal is served buffet style, with three serving lines.
Two of the buffet lines

You had a choice of dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, sauerkraut, turkey, German sausage, bread and your choice of about seven different kinds of desserts. A large sign is posted in several places that state "Take as much as you want, but eat everything that you take." The food was terrific and abiding by the signs was very hard to do. If anyone leaves there hungry, it is their own fault.

We did not leave hungry. We left with sausage, bread and sauerkraut and a wonderful memory. Another thing to check off the list. So, if you find yourself on the Plains of Texas on Thanksgiving, be assured that you can get a great Thanksgiving dinner for $10. But, get there early.

Texas Handbook On-line