When I tell other friends stories about Cheryl (we all tell stories about our life-long friends, right?), "lake eggs" always come up.
For years, my parents owned a cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks. Because they were amazing parents, they let me invite gobs of my friends down for weekends of boating, water skiing, card playing, sunbathing, puzzles, reading, walks, and, best of all, food.
Everyone attending would pair up and furnish all the groceries for one meal. The meals were epic, especially dinners after a long day on the water. I wish I had a picture of their long, drop-leaf table, situated in front of the double windows to catch the breeze, and surrounded by a crowd of laughing, sunburned friends.
On Sunday morning, Cheryl made "lake eggs," scrambled eggs with anything and everything that was left over from the previous meals. We often had the usual additions--onion, peppers, cheese, steak chunks. Sometimes the fare was more exotic. I can recall pinto beans, corn, diced pork chop, eggplant, cabbage. If we had leftover dessert, fruit or alcohol, she'd find a way to concoct a delicious side dish. Cheesecake with powdered chocolate, cinnamon and chile pepper anyone?
Cheryl had a knack for cooking wholesome meals, from scratch, and in large quantities. Her first husband was an actor in a traveling theatre troupe, and she was--you guessed it--the camp cook. The husband didn't last (he was the only one of three I didn't meet during our 30-year friendship), but her love of cooking did.
Honey, you couldn't water ski, but you went out in the boat with us every time and tried. You disliked snow skiing too, but you went on every trip with the gang, bless your heart. Even when I moved away, you came out to Arizona for my 60th birthday.
You shared your daughter with us for her entire youth (hi Christy!), and you loved my kids like your own. And you were never, ever, too busy or too tired to lend me your ear and a tight, for-real hug when I needed it.
Plus, you got up EARLY at the lake to make breakfast and let the rest of us sleep in.
I raise my fork for you in love, girl. Miss you so hard.