By SVERRE BAKKE
Last Saturday morning, the Lyle Lions Club marked a milestone in the 20-year history of its first Saturday of the month breakfast program.
"It was 8:15 a.m., as predicted," said club president Martin Huffman, when the club's 30,000th customer entered the Lyle Community Center and purchased breakfast for himself and his wife.
In a brief ceremony commemorating the ocassion, Huffman presented Willis Gholston and his wife, Margie, a gift certificate good for free breakfasts for two for one year.
Mr. Gholston, a resident of Mosier, Ore., was customer no. 67 on this busy Saturday morning that kept the kitchen crew of Huffman (omelets), Betty Tuthill (ham and eggs), Dean Oldenburg (pancakes), Sharon Edwards (mixes) and Rick Denis (busboy/dishwasher) in perpetual motion.
Asked if he and his wife eat here often, Mr. Gholston replied, "Every first Saturday. Haven't missed it for 10 years."
The Lyle Lions Club, formed in 1978, has been serving its popular breakfast--from 7-10:30 a.m. the first Saturday of every month--for twice as long. The menu features pancakes, ham and eggs, omelets and beverage of choice, at very reasonable prices: $5 for adults, $2 for children age 12 and under.
Proceeds support the club's many programs: eyeglasses for the needy, academic scholarships for local high school seniors, Christmas baskets and gifts for those in need, and Tuesday meals for seniors at the community center.
On average, the Lyle Lions serve about 177 breakfasts each Saturday they're open for business, "though we like to hit the 200 mark," said club treasurer Linnea Denis, who keeps a tally of breakfasts sold in her cash box.
The Lions exceeded the 200 goal last month, serving 239 breakfasts on Sept. 2--its best day of 2006 but short of the all-time high of 293 breakfasts served on Sept. 7, 2002.