Ah, Lenten Thursdays. The day of the week when DIH used to say to herself, "Well, at least I don't have to make dinner tomorrow- we'll go to the Fish Fry!"
The Fish Fry is held every Friday night in Lent in the basement of our parish church. We used to look forward to it. It was cheap, it was fun for kids to eat with their friends, it was a simple way to get your family to go to Stations of the Cross together, which was held immediately after dinner time. The food wasn't bad, either, if you like things of a deep-fried and mayonnaisey nature. All in all not a bad deal.
Alas, DIH must say farewell to all that. They seem to have removed the "fun for kids" element, and once that goes, well, say goodbye to the whole "good deal" thing.
After my happy break in Hawaii we thought it would be fun to hit the Fish Fry. You know, see friends, reconnect with the community, all that jazz. So off we went.
Within a few mintues, it was apparent to us that something was different.
The first thing we noticed was the tables. They felt oddly crowded. Further examination revealed the tables had been staggered, leaving no long, clear aisles between them. It turned out this was done on purpose. "The kids always run throught he ailes amking aracket," the fish authorityes said. "This way they cant' do that. This is the first time we havent' heard them yelling all through dinner."
Fair enough. But then we noticed the nursery was locked up too.
"No kids in the nursery tonight," the fish folk declared. "They use that room as a portal." (By which I think they must have meant "passthrough." If the nursery was a portal then what they needed was an exorcist, not a fish fryer. I hate to think what other worlds my daughter's been visiting when I'm not looking.) "This way they can't run through there, either." "And they always make such a mess," one fish fryer added.
So there were no kids hanging around the children's room watching videos, no kids running the length of the hall, no kids leaving Legos on the floor of the nursery.
Instead there were kids hanging on their parents' elbows, saying that they were finished with their food and they wanted to go home. Now.
This turned the formerly chummy evening into something of a drag, at least for parents. The people without kids could have been perfectly happy, for all I know. Although I must say I didn't notice the place being significantly quieter than it has been on other Friday nights.
Well, DIH predicts further happiness in store for them, because, speaking as a parent, I got the message. The Fish Fry is no place for kids, unless they sit quietly and eat their batter-dipped dinners and leave quietly. Which, as we all know, is exactly the frame of mind every child is in on a Friday night when school is finally out and there are two whole days of freedom in front of them. And you parents whose kids don't behave like Little Lord Freakin' Fauntleroy, well, you're just a bunch of slackers. Get off your lazy butts and make with the etiquette lessons. Otherwise no more fine dining for you.