Dining-In strengthens bonds, welcomes new spouses

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A decades-old tradition brought together more than 110 spouses of the Iceman Team in an atmosphere of camaraderie, fellowship and social rapport March 3 at the Yukon Club.

The Munsters, the Royal family, and the Adam's Family were just a few of the "Famous Families" present for the themed 2007 Spouses Dining-In.

"All the groups did an awesome job this year and were really creative with their "famous families" tables, desserts, costumes, and skits," said Jenny Wieland, Dining-In coordinator.

"The emphasis is always that spouses here at Eielson get together, get to know each other better and extend a welcoming hand to spouses who are new to the base or perhaps just new to the spouses Dining-In experience."

Building a better bond and welcoming new spouses is how the tradition of the Dining-In began back in the 1930s, said Mrs. Wieland.

"The Spouses Dining-In is meant to break up the often dreary months between the holidays and spring break-up," she said. "Spouses get a chance to work together to decorate tables, outfit themselves, create a dessert, and possibly even provide a skit as entertainment for attendees."

One of the main highlights of the evening was the infamous grog bowl challenges. The grog bowl typically contains different foods and drinks. It may be unsavory looking, but it is not undrinkable.

"There are many rules at a Dining-In and anyone caught breaking one of the rules would be forced to drink from the grog bowl," said Mrs. Wieland. "It's quite humorous watching them perform the grog bowl challenges."

"I personally enjoyed the skits performed by the VonTrapp family and the Munster family," she added. "The entertainment value was well worth the effort."

Famous Families who went above and beyond were recognized in six different categories. The Hatfield and McCoy families were recognized for Best Table; the Addams Family for Best Costumes; the Ewing family for Best Dessert; the Chief's Wives for Best Skit. The Griswold family took the Best Poster (scrapbook page) award and the Beverly Hillbillies won the Family Feud Game.

"This year's Dining-In was quadruple spectacular," said participant Suzie Crosby. "The table decorations, the costumes, the desserts, and the venue were all well executed with great attention to detail. All in all, a great experience with an awesome group of spouses; nothing but fun and camaraderie. I loved it."