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Sisters Kathy Britt and Gay Lewter stir and dish up chicken stew at Boss Hill's annual stew.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Sisters Kathy Britt and Gay Lewter stir and dish up chicken stew at Boss Hill's annual stew.

Still the Boss
Hill's stew continues to be fun for Limestone County residents

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ELKMONT — Even the animals appeared to have fun at Boss Hill's annual stew.

A horse scratched its itch by rolling on its back in a nearby pasture. A black-and-white dog lapped melted ice water from the troughs that held cold canned drinks.

The two-legged mammals stood in lines marked "chicken stew" and "goat stew" and then ate and sat a spell under the trees and tents. Some, like Kathleen Carr, danced a jig in Hill's driveway as a bluegrass band did some shade tree pickin'.

It was pretty much what folks expected for the first Wednesday in May at Hill's Beulah Road home.

Hill, 84, has held the annual stew for more than 25 years. He doesn't remember exactly when it started but said it began when a Church of Christ preacher and his wife came over for dinner and then that grew into a "bunch of old men" gathering to enjoy stew.

Hill serves anywhere from 400 to more than 1,000. He had 1,500 guests last year, but he wasn't sure how many he served this year among all of the comings and goings. Anyone who knows the way is welcome to dine as long as he writes his name in a spiral-bound notebook at the front of the serving line.

It was thought the 2006 stew would be Hill's last because he had to attend the event in a wheelchair due to heart problems. This year, Hill was on his feet with the ever-present black cap that advertised in white letters he is "Boss."

"I enjoy this too much, so I'll keep doing it as long as I'm able," Hill said. "The defibrillator they put in me last year has gone off a couple of times, but the doc said if it hadn't, I'd be a dead duck."

Retired state Rep. Tommy Carter helped Hill prepare more than 200 pounds of goat and 150 pounds of chicken cooked in black kettles over butane burners and stirred with something akin to a paddle.

Carter reclined in a metal chair under a tent and held court as folks asked him about pending bills in the Legislature or told him about their concerns.

"I got away from Montgomery, but I can't seem to get away from the job," Carter joked.

Hill is one man who doesn't want to get away from his annual job: feeding the masses.

"I enjoy just meeting the people who come," he said. "My memory's kind of bad, so I don't remember some folks, but I'll talk to anybody whether I remember them or not."

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