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Friday, July 1, 2016

Пятница Ponderings: Cafeteria Clam Chowder

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian


I love going out to eat on Fridays. The reason? Most restaurants serve clam chowder on Friday and I absolutely love clam chowder. I understand the Catholic teachings that give us fish Fridays and while I am not Catholic, I love that I reap the benefits.

Last Friday, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room while my mom had her second surgery in three weeks. As I left the surgery prep area after they took her in to the operating room, I walked past the cafeteria and realized it was Friday. And last Friday, that not only meant clam chowder, it meant Cafeteria Clam Chowder and Cafeteria Clam Chowder is the best.

I can just hear you now: "Cafeteria Clam Chowder? No way!" My response is, Cafeteria Clam Chowder is the best because it is a cherished memory.

My father worked at a National Laboratory for 35 years. For the last 11 of those years, I worked at the same Laboratory. The Lab is a large campus, covering a square mile. It is almost its own little city. We worked in different departments and in separate locations on the site. While I lived at home, Daddy and I would often commute into work together. After I was married, I would regularly see him in passing or on some Fridays when he would drive over to my office in a little Cushman cart and take me to lunch at one of the Lab cafeterias. We would always get clam chowder.

How I loved those Fridays when Daddy would peek his head into my office and say, "Let's go get some lunch!" Off we would go to the cafeteria and get clam chowder. We would choose a table and talk while we ate. He would tell me about his latest project or what device he was building. I would tell him about things going on in our division or share the milestones or antics of his grandsons.

After he retired and I was still working, he had site access and would often surprise me on a Friday.

Even then, I knew that those times were special. Now that Daddy is gone, those memories are ones I cherish. How I wished I was sitting in that hospital waiting room with him, eating clam chowder and waiting for word that my Mom's surgery had finished and was successful. How I wish that I could call him up on a Friday and say, "Let's go to lunch!" And then we would talk and eat clam chowder and I could get his advice and learn from his wisdom.

But, how grateful I am for memories and for Cafeteria Clam Chowder that reminds me of precious times with my father.


  1. What a wonderful memory of your dad! I don't think restaurants around here serve clam chowder on Fridays since this is a pretty Protestant part of the country.

    1. I have never been to a restaurant anywhere that didn't serve clam chowder on Fridays. It would be interesting to see if that is the case in your area.

  2. Such a great memory! Clam chowder is one of my favorite cold weather comfort foods...even the canned kind!

    1. If I am anywhere and have the option for clam chowder, I take it. Regardless of the weather!