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Hot Boiled

Peanuts weren't the only things hot and boiled at the Crenshaw County Shrine Club of Alcazar's 34th annual peanut boil held last week.

All the shiners and volunteers that worked during the five-day event braved the heat and the humidity of the summer days as well as the heat generated buy 20, propane-powered boilers to help in the worthy cause.

"It was hot," Crenshaw County Shrine Club Secretary and Treasurer Charles Knox said.

"Monday we had a good breeze and it helped cool it off a bit."

Blue Lodge Mason Glen Mothershed, who has volunteered at what's known as the World's Largest peanut boil for 32 years, had one of the hottest jobs Thursday afternoon when the event began. He could be seen drenched in sweat stirring the hot pots throughout the afternoon.

Although the heat was sometimes unbearable, Mothershed said the children that will benefit from the money raised are what encouraged him to continue on.

"I have a neighbor that was burnt and the way I look at it, I can look at her and it encourages me to come here," he said.

Hazel Worthington, whose husband Parker served as a Shriner for 38 years before his death in 1998, also braved the heat as she volunteered her time to shuffle through the peanuts and pick out the bad ones before they were boiled.

"I'm a Shriner's wife," Worthington said. "He passed away in 1998, but I'm still hanging in there. It's for a good cause."

Thousands of people lined up daily to buy bags of the fresh, hot boiled peanuts. The Shriners sold out several times throughout the event, but customers patiently waited to get a taste.

"I thought it went real good," Knox said. "We had a good sale and we didn't have but just a few bags left over when we got through Monday afternoon. We had a lot of people stopping by. On Monday we didn't have the people returning from Florida that we usually have, but overall we did real well. It was a good sale. We made about $18,000 last year and we're hoping to do as well this year once all expenses are paid."

Knox, who has been a Shriner for 36 years, said the club boiled just over 10 tons of peanuts during the event. He said it all wouldn't have been possible without the help of the volunteers throughout the week.

"We really want to thank the volunteers that came out and helped us," he said. "We're very appreciative of every one of them. We couldn't do it without them. I can't thank them enough.

All-in-all, Knox believes the boil was a success even though a few showers slowed the volunteers down throughout the week.

"Compared to the other years it was good," he said. "Some years we've had the weather close in on us and it's been too wet to get the peanuts out of the fields, so we were done on Saturday."

Preparations for next year's peanut boil will begin in the spring of 2005. Knox said a lot of preparation is required in order for the event run smoothly.

"We'll start preparing for next year in the spring because we have to find someone to grow the peanuts for us," he said. "Mr. Larry Lester has been growing them for us for several years and we still want him to grow them if he's willing."

All proceeds benefited the Shriners Hospitals for children.