Technically, something has to happen twice to be called annual, so this was the year Johnson City’s Community Potluck Thanksgiving Feast became an official annual event. About 200 people showed up at the First United Methodist Church to enjoy turkey and dressings and tables full of side dishes prepared by volunteer cooks from the community. People who were there last year were back again, declaring it was better than a family gathering because there were so many more people Not that families were lacking; one brought more than a dozen members, and a couple of others had head-counts close behind them. Their hostesses said it was far easier than trying to cook for the crowd, and much less clean-up. The crowd also meant those spending the holiday alone weren’t alone. “An event like this brings the community together,” said Pastor Lee Romero, “introducing people to neighbors they didn’t know they had, building a sense of connectedness.” Romero was connected in more ways than one. By the time he had finished his own meal, the mashed potato supply was running short, so he and daughter Amy went next door to the parsonage and made 18 pounds of mashed potatoes to finish the day. “You never know what’s coming with potluck,” Romero explained. “Last year we had a surplus of potatoes; this year, cooks remembered that and everyone brought something else. That’s what keeps it interesting.” Planning already has begun for next year. “We need to capture all the suggestions quickly, before people forget what they were going to tell us,” said Betty McNallen, one of the organizers. Take-out worked as well this time as it had last year, and this was the year they hit on a successful setup for drinks and desserts. “If we keep making improvements to the operation every year,” added fellow planner Sheila Barnette, “eventually we’ll have everything running perfectly. Maybe.” Step by step. This year they made it an official annual event; next year...closer to that ephemeral perfection.