Tricounty News

Memories of a special community event

After all, when you come to an all-you-can-eat fish fry, you want to eat A LOT of fish.

After our work shift was done, my friends and I would disperse to partake in some of the activities offered at the fish fry, such as bingo or some of the kid’s games offered.

I also remember what I smelled like when I left the tiny school to head home. I smelled like a giant fried fish. In some of those early years, the fish was actually fried inside the school’s tiny kitchen. Anyone who stayed in the building for any time would be saturated in the odor. It’s one thing to inhale the fried-fish smell when you are hungry and enter the building. It gets your taste buds going. But it’s not a smell you want to take home with you and wake up to the next day.

Speaking of the next day, the Saturday after the fish fry was almost as fun for me as the event itself.

That was clean-up day at the school. I remember tagging along with my father to help put away the tables and chairs and get the school ready for business the following Monday.

My best friend at the time, Larry Schneider, would do the same.

Larry and I were too young to do a lot of the “heavy lifting.” We did odd jobs to help out. But mostly we ran around the school like we owned the place. During the school day there was no running allowed in the hallways. The Benedictine Sisters who were our teachers were fairly strict about enforcing that rule. Our dads, however, didn’t care. We would look for treasures as well. You never knew when you’d find a nickel, a dime, or a quarter that had been dropped on the floor. Oh, and the pop dispensers were still hooked up and we as “workers” were entitled to wet our whistles in case our throats were parched. Young boys running around a school can build up quite the thirst.

It was always a bit sad when at the end of the morning, the clean-up was done and I’d climb into my dad’s Ford pickup and Larry into his dad’s Chevy. Each would be pointed in a different direction as we’d head to our family farms.

The fish fry would be over for the year. Our morning of having unsupervised fun in our school had ended. And on Monday, we’d be back to being students who had to follow rules and study.