When Miranda Morley Shumate found out her soldier son was returning home from Fort Drum, New York, all she wanted was to make him a home-cooked meal. She asked if this would be possible, though there was a little bit of a catch.
“They came back and said, ‘You’re going to have to feed 150 troops, are you ready for this?’ And I said, ‘Oh, that’s a family reunion. That’s a Friday night football game! Oh, I’ve got that!’” Shumate recalled.“We cooked gumbo for 12 hours.”
Afterward, her son Private First Class Morley Setliff and his company feasted on36 gallons of gumbo. The food had to be packed up along with the Mardi Gras-themed utensils and beads.
The soldiers loved the gumbo and felt it was a luxury compared to the food they’d had in the field.
PFC Setliff, who enlisted to honor his WWII veteran great grandfather, was delighted to share a piece of his Southern culture with his soldier brothers. It then took them three days to eat all the gumbo.
“By far one of the best things that has ever happened, sitting there watching my son tell his great grandfather that he wanted to follow in his footsteps and he wanted to have stories to tell,” Miranda said. “My paw paw got emotional and told him that he was very proud of him and knew that’s where he belonged.”