Summer is the time for planned reunions, casual get-togethers, and homecomings, be they with schoolmates, family or friends from other areas of our past.
Planned high school reunions on the decade are always interesting. I’ve found the most fascinating people are generally those who moved out of town for awhile, then came back to live, or maybe just to visit for the reunion. They’ve had experiences different from the things they did in high school and in the old home town. They’ve met other people, seen other parts of the country or maybe the world.
Ten-year high school reunions seem to follow a pattern.
My 10th high school reunion was like a continuation of my senior year. People’s priorities were much the same. At 10 years past graduation, my classmates hadn’t really spread their wings. Many of them were much more interested in showing their peers what they’d done and in comparing themselves — and their jobs, spouses, children and lifestyles — with everyone else’s.
More people made it a point to come to the 20th. At the 20th reunion people seemed either happy with their lives or a little desperate. Time was, after all, marching on. With few exceptions, those who’d jumped into marriage right after high school were starting to feel a little restless. Some of the same old cliques from high school took up tables together, but taking up life as they’d known it “back then” was a little more problematical.
The 30th was more mellow. It was a time to reminisce, catch up, and really be interested in people we’d known decades before. It was fascinating to find out where they’d been, what they’d done, who they’d married (if they’d married) and sometimes how many times. Some people looked wonderful and not always the ones you assumed would age well.
My 40th reunion blew by. I was too wrapped up in life and my family 800 miles away from where I lived when I graduated to make it back. Too many old friends had died or just lost interest to make the occasion compelling for me.
We’ll see if the next big ones call for my presence.
In June, my daughter Heather visited with two friends from high school who were passing through central Ohio. She enjoyed seeing both of them and talking over old times. One girlfriend was traveling across the country from her home out west with her children, who now have made the acquaintance of three of my grandchildren. It is, truly, a small world.
My cousin’s daughter’s wedding last month afforded the opportunity for a reunion with family, which I enjoy at every opportunity. There’s one more of the younger cousins who shows signs of taking the plunge some time soon. You can bet I’ll be there.
Once in a while someone with whom I’ve worked will drop into the office to say hello to all of us. That’s a reunion of sorts, too. It’s fun to catch up with people you like and care about, not to mention seeing pictures of the kids who were babies last time we got together.
Take a little time and catch up with friends and family while the nice weather makes travel a pleasure. We’ll be contending with winter again before we know it. If your reunion is a potluck, take some of this along. It’ll assure that when they talk about you, it’ll be to praise your food.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 medium head napa cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
1 cup bean sprouts
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup chow mein noodles (available in 5-ounce canisters)
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.
Flip chicken over, add water, and cover. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5-7 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to carving board and cool slightly.
While chicken cooks, whisk vinegar, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and ginger together in a medium bowl.
Shred cooled chicken and toss with one-third of dressing. Toss cabbage, red pepper, sprouts, and scallions with remaining dressing. Divide salad among individual plates. Arrange chicken over cabbage mixture, sprinkle with chow mein noodles, and serve.
Serves four as an entrée.
This recipe came from “The Best 30-Minute Recipe,” one of the wonderful cookbooks from the America’s Test Kitchen series. These recipes have always been thoroughly tested and are the best they can be.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.