Sausage is not verboten in Verboort
King City Travel Club makes another pilgrimage to Sausageland
"How about another helping of sauerkraut? More sausage?"
These often-repeated questions came from 450 red-and-blue Dutch-hatted, aproned servers at Verboort's annual festival.
We'd already received - and were still consuming - platefuls of onion-studded green beans and mini-volcanoes of mashed potatoes overflowing with "lava" gravy alongside twin 4-inch lengths of portly sausage sweating beads of juice plus several other accoutrements and an oversized slab of apple- or lemon-meringue pie dessert.
My husband, Lawrence, and I had joined 50 other King City Travel Club members for the hour-long bus trip to the Visitation Catholic Church grounds near Cornelius, Ore., where in a single day, Saturday, Nov. 3, nearly 8,000 attendees were quickly seated and served the meal described above.
Long before the day arrived, volunteers had prepared 18 55-gallon barrels of sauerkraut, 14 tons of sausage and scores of dishpans filled with home-cooked applesauce and hand-grated coleslaw along with countless pots of steaming coffee.
After arriving and dining, our upcoming 4 p.m. bus departure allowed us two hours to roam the area and visit booths, shops and the venerable church itself. Lawrence and I had not planned on craft purchases, but when we exited the displays in the school grounds gymnasium, we left packing souvenirs from the enticing shelves of jelly, vibrant potholders, quilt-auction tickets .
Next to the gym, in a building with an inviting sign, "Take-Home Sausage," I asked the seller, "How do you cook it the way it was served us in the dining room?" "Simmer it 20 minutes in a little water, turn and simmer another 20. Or 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven."
While she wrapped our purchase, I told her, "I'm so impressed by the gigantic Redwoods planted in front of the church. How old are they?"
"I don't know, but I'll ask Ed here."
Smiling Ed left a group of chatting buddies to tell me the trees were planted back in the 1870s via cones brought from California and that the 12 mammoths - planted in four rows of three, half on each side of the walk leading to the church - were named for the Biblical 12 Apostles.
"I'm the one responsible for their care. A while back I had to chop one down after lightning struck it."
"Goodness!" I said. "I hope it was the one named Judas."
He laughed, "No, the original 12 are still in front; the downed one was in back. I can't answer your other questions, but my aunts - the two nuns in the church foyer - know all the history. I suggest you talk to them."
I backtracked and approached the two elderly, rosy-cheeked, black-and-white-clad ladies, asking them about the trees. "Have they ever been increment-bored to confirm their age?" One answered, "No, but I often tell pupils, 'Your assignment today is go count the rings on that cut-down tree trunk.' The total does come to about 130."
"And it probably kept the kids out of mischief for at least one period," I said. She knowingly smiled, which I suspected meant, You and I know that, but the kids didn't.
Other gleaned information concerned the handsome church, built in 1948 after its predecessor, erected in 1887, was destroyed by fire. The earlier church had also served as a post office for local families who shared their garden produce and sausage with parishioners.
This top-notch trip to the Verboort festival was planned by King City Travel Club members Norma and Chuck Spencer - assisted by Lila Harmon - who ably arranged all the details.