It’s the season of traditions, and in Zearing, Rick Good, owner of R.L. Good Oil Co., is keeping a tradition that started in 1970 alive, well and growing.
Back in 1970, Good explains, he and his brother Bob (who died in 2000) started gathering “the guys” together for a party. Always the first weekend of December, the guys were having so much fun getting together, Good said, that the women thought they should be able to join in.
“So we got into making soups,” Good said, and over the past 43 years, what started as a little party of “the guys” has turned into a massive soup luncheon for hundreds of customers and friends of R.L. Good Oil Co.
At times this past Saturday, the food line wrapped around the inside walls of the Dakin’s Community Center on Zearing’s Main Street. Last year, when it was warmer, the line went down the street a ways, said Good, noting that they served 680 people last year, and this year was looking like it might be more. By Monday, the total was in for this year’s event – 702.
And these large turnouts don’t upset Good. He loves that people come in for the fellowship, soups and other great food that his “crew” starts preparing about a day ahead. “We started at 3 o’clock Friday,” he said of the preparations for the next day’s luncheon.
Jeff Brandt of Zearing, who was enjoying the meal with family, said he looks forward to coming to the soup luncheon every year and likes to try all the chilis – this year there were at least five kinds of chili, plus a number of other kinds of soup, filling 15 roasters.
“I live here in town,” Brandt said, “but there’s a lot of people here I don’t even know. He (Good) does business far and wide.”
Good said, in fact, that there were groups of people at the luncheon from all over the area. While 95 percent of the people attending do business with him, the entire community is invited to attend. “We don’t turn anyone away,” he said. Those attending can sign up for door prizes, too.
Saturday’s cold temperatures made the warm meal a welcome sight to those who attended. From the awesome breads to the ice cream machine for dessert (brought in by Ed Perry of Union), the entire meal was free to those who came.
Good said it is important to note that Firestone and American Tire companies, both out of Des Moines, help him sponsor the big event. Both had representatives on hand Saturday.
Don’t expect this Good tradition to end anytime soon. The Good crew plans to continue serving soup for years to come. “We have a hoot doing it,” Good said.