Why I Love Watergate Salad

Is it the marshmallows or the memories?

Andy Spears
4 min readMar 11


Photo by Jennifer Lim-Tamkican on Unsplash

The red brick church sat facing the winding road, a steeple and white cross on top.

If you are standing on the road, looking at the church entrance, you see a small pond to the left and as your eyes go up the steep hill, you see an old stone building.

That building: The original church — a couple hundred years old. Holds maybe 50 people on wooden benches. When it was THE church in this tiny community, the winter services were heated by two fireplaces on either side of the pulpit.

In summer, the windows might have been cracked and you just had to sit there and sweat.

The centerpiece now, though, was the red brick “modern” church at the top of the hill — to the right of the old stone building.

Leading up the hill was a gravel driveway that led to a circle of gravel just in front of the stairs leading to the church doors.

Parishioners parked on well-worn grass around the circle.

On the first Sunday of every month, all the parking spaces at the top of the hill were taken and late comers would have to park on the incline and walk in the grass to reach the top of the hill.

That’s because every first Sunday, this church held “dinner on the grounds.”

The red brick building held a secret.

While walking through the front doors, the room appeared to have capacity for about 150 people in polished wooden pews. There was a door on the right of the pulpit that led to a pastor’s study. To the left, a place for the piano player to prepare.

The hillside building, though, also held a full basement. This area had about four rooms dedicated to Sunday School and a big, open area that included a full kitchen.

The floor was polished concrete.

On those first Sundays, folding tables and chairs would be placed in the basement and food would be prepared and also brought in.

About midway through the service on a first Sunday your mind would wander to the scent detected by your nose — the smell of fried chicken and meatloaf and various veggies cooking downstairs.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .