You have to be "somebody" and a personal friend of Mrs. Mary L. (May) Hitchcock to be able to buy a ticket to the annual Ladies Aid Society turkey supper in Windsor.

The feast has been an important Berkshire rural social event for more than 30 years. The tickets are so hard to come by that, if you are on the favored list, your friends ask if you can use your influence to obtain one for them.

The food is fabulous and served family-style. You can eat as much as you can hold of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, turnip, cranberry sauce, and boiled onions. As fast as the serving dishes are emptied, they are refilled. When the plates are cleared, with the admonition "save your fork," homemade pies and quantities of coffee follow.

Doctors, lawyers, undertakers, judges and politicians (mostly Republican) attend. Mrs. Hitchcock has been chairman of the Windsor Republican Committee ever since her father died more than 20 years ago. He had been the chairman for years before that.

However, it hasn't been the food alone, nor the interesting people you meet, which has filled the hall to its capacity of 125 (this includes the stage where tables are also set up) year after year.

Mrs. Hitchcock, who says "I'm only 86," pushes the tickets. She sold every one of them this year and has done so in the past.

Until this year, the supper was held twice, on successive weeks. This year, only one was held. Mrs. Hitchcock impressed people who bought tickets on how few were available and what a privilege it was to be allowed to buy them.

"Silvio Conte bought 10," she'll tell you. "Jack Fitzpatrick (Republican senator of Stockbridge) took four of them."

For a couple of years, the group tried serving a smorgasbord. It didn't work.

"One year we had too much food, the other not enough," May said. "One man told me he didn't like it, that men prefer being waited on."

That did it. They returned to the sit-down meal. Mrs. Hitchcock is the major-domo.

It's always cold in Windsor the night of the supper. No matter, the crowd must stand outside until May admits them, "promptly at 6:30."

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.