Value of friendship realized through several events

Oregano, sweet green and purple basil will add delicious flavors to a summer egg dish.
By : 
Iris Clark Neumann
Food for the Neighborhood

I'd been looking forward to an all-school reunion for several months. There was lots of hype for the event generated by a Facebook page and a lengthening list of alumni planning to attend.

Although only 10 from my class of 48 were attending, I was excited to see each of them. The school I graduated from ceased to exist in 1990 when West Concord consolidated with Dodge Center and Claremont to form Triton.

A reunion for all West Concord classes is held every five years at a location in Owatonna.

Although a deadline is set to end registration, so food can be ordered, registrations are also taken at the door. Because of this, I was surprised to discover my high school friend, Debbie, was there.

I did not recognize her until she told me her name. Four of my classmates were married to each other and are still married; all four of them attended.

It was not unusual that I graduated with two of my cousins or that many others attending the reunion had siblings or cousins there.

This really struck me while talking to my youngest brother, Neal, who graduated 16 years after I did. Folks stood in clusters, while individuals moved between groups. As I talked to his classmates, I was struck by how they were connected to others I knew — siblings, cousins, or related by marriage.

But when I looked through a directory of alumni, I realized few stayed on and lived their lives in our small town. Of my siblings, my brother, Leon, who passed away in April, had been the only one in our family.

In spite of losing its school, a long list of volunteers created a historical society, which is housed in the “old” school, where I attended my elementary years. The much more modern high school is now a manufacturing facility, but for a number of years, had been a middle school for Triton.

Because of open enrollment, local students today might get on a bus for Kenyon-Wanamingo, Kasson-Mantorville, or Triton schools.

My favorite story from reunion conversations was told by one of my classmates. He mentioned how, in his senior photo, he was wearing a tie borrowed from one classmate and a suit coat from another. He was helped to get “appropriate attire” for the photo from two friends.

“My family could not afford them,” he confided.

This sent me to digging out my 1970 yearbook, to see if I could determine whose tie and whose coat he was wearing. This story, new to me, showed a lasting memory of the value of friendship.

My one regret was not being able to talk to more people. My sister was also there, but we mostly talked to others.

My classmate, Dave, mentioned the most recent loss in my family, my brother-in-law, Ron, who'd died in a motorcycle accident down by Peterson, just a week earlier.

I was touched he'd read Ron's obituary in the newspaper and connected him with me.

His funeral was on Tuesday evening, the same evening as our farmers market. I struggled in deciding how I could do both, but in the end decided I'd do the set-up and ask Laurie, the wife of a vendor, to cover me for a couple of hours.

Following the simple service, led by the Rev. Mark Woodward from Eyota, he mentioned something about it raining in Eyota. Oh no, I thought, but as usual, hoped for the best. The sun had been shining when we opened our afternoon market, although we'd had a rainy morning.

As we drove home from St. Charles to Eyota, we drove into rain. It was not a gentle sprinkle, rather more of a downpour. I noticed water pooling in fields as we neared Eyota.

It was getting close to closing time, but I could see a couple of tents still set up, as we neared the farmers market. Getting out of the car, there was no place to step in my dress sandals, but into several inches of water.

The waterway through the park, normally a mowed grassy space, was gushing like a river. Laurie told me the rain had started about 5:30 p.m. and the storm stalled over Eyota. I felt bad her two hours as my substitute had turned into a drenching nightmare.

I've thought a lot about the sermon Pastor Mark shared for the funeral. Although he lives in the same town as Ron did, he never knew him, but in talking to his two siblings, realized he and Ron had some of the same interests — campfires, splitting wood and an old Ford tractor.

He talked about how Jesus liked getting away to quiet places to regather his strength, he shared several familiar Bible verses, and talked about the importance of friendships. There was no music, just quiet words to strengthen us, as we reflected on our sudden loss caused by an accident.

Then we went home into a storm, but in spite of its intensity, our friendships carried us through as we shared moments, being spared from the downpour by a tent.

A simple recipe of eggs, seasoned by fresh herbs, was shared at an earlier market as the evening's sample. Fresh chopped basil, oregano, parsley or chives, topped by a bit of shredded cheese, is an easy choice for a lunch or supper during the busy summer season.

With all the recent rain and heat, this has been a good year for basil. Either green or purple are a good choice for this recipe. Oregano is also great for seasoning eggs. Add garlic or onion flavor by snipping chives into your eggs. Parsley adds color, but peps up the flavor too.

Eggs 'n Herbs

Olive oil

Several eggs

Choice of chopped fresh herbs: Garlic or onion chives, basil, oregano, or parsley



Shredded cheddar cheese

Using a non-stick coated fry pan, heat about one tablespoon olive oil. Break eggs into a small bowl, add about one tablespoon water for each four eggs. Lightly beat by hand until yolks are broken up and completely mixed with whites. Pour eggs into fry pan. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs of your choice. Add salt and pepper, as desired.

Cook over medium high heat. As eggs harden on the bottom, lift edges and tip fry pan to allow egg mixture to pour underneath. When eggs are firm, but still runny on top, slip a large spatula under the eggs and turn them over. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and lower heat. Sprinkle with additional chopped herbs.

When the cheese melts, the eggs are ready to eat!