In this town, it’s the time of ye to gather fish fry memories
My wife and I met almost 40 years ago. She was from greater Rochester. I was living in Dunkirk, in a house my parents rented. We both attended SUNY Fredonia, at a time when it was not so typical for students who lived on campus to date students who lived nearby, a nice way of describing a classic college town divide. There was a natural gap between the kids in the dorms and those of us who were self-described “townies.” They ate at dining halls and built their lives around the campus. We drove, walked or hitched to school and then left it at day’s end. They had friends within their universe and we had friends in ours, and sometimes it all seemed galaxies apart.
Yet a beer-battered bridge soon opened between those worlds, one that my wife and I still join many of you in honoring, during Lent and all year long.
Not long after we met by chance at a picnic, during those early conversations when you talk about everything and anything, I learned from this young woman by the name of Nora Butler – raised in some faraway place called Irondequoit – how a memorable part of her childhood, near Rochester, was going out for fish on Friday.
Boom. There it was, a point of instant communion in every way that mattered. In Dunkirk, as in Buffalo or in West Seneca or in Cheektowaga – really, as in virtually every neighborhood in Western New York – if someone says, “You want to get fish tonight?” you know exactly what it means.