SOLON— The umbrella snapped open as I exited the car on Main Street, heading toward the fire station and the 50th Annual Firefighter Breakfast. It was a steady rain and the breakfast traffic was light at 6:30 a.m. Despite the fact that eggs, sausage, ham, pancakes and beverages are not my usual breakfast fare, I like attending, being part of the community we have come to call home.
Firefighters tend to be on the bossy side. Given their work, they have to be. For example, I declined a raffle ticket and instead suggested a donation, laying some money on the table. The attendant responded, “here, take a ticket and fill it out inside.” How could I refuse? The hard sell is on the fried eggs, prepared in a pool of enigmatic oil. The cook asked three times if I didn’t want a fried egg with my scrambled. Resisting was hard, but I remained a firm no thank you. Coffee was served in a commemorative ceramic mug which diners could take home if they wished. Mine is in the dishwasher now.
During election years, the breakfast is awash with politicians. Since this is an off year, the only elected official (besides myself) was one of the town council members who was serving pancakes. There was a local businessman making the rounds, talking to people he knew. Otherwise folks were focused on the food and polite conversation. The tables began to fill up by the time I left.
As one of the Big Grove Township Trustees, I am responsible to help manage the fire station budget along with other townships served by the department. The fire station seems to get most of what the captain says they need. Our board only meets when we have to, which is mainly to approve the budget for the fire station and cemeteries, and to attend the quarterly fire station meetings with all of the townships.
Today’s fundraiser is like mad money for the department, which means buying equipment they could use, but for which they don’t have a budget. There are likely enough tax revenues to get the firefighters everything they need without the fundraiser, but the annual breakfast has become a popular community event.
Today’s rain is a hopeful sign that last year’s drought has finished. The annual firefighters breakfast is the unofficial kickoff of summer, and a fun event. It is worth stopping by on a rainy day.