Yes – it’s that time of year again — time for the Lenten Fish Fry! Our parish decided to have our first one a week early (Lent doesn’t officially start until March 9th) – so it was time to spend our Friday evening with friends and family eating everything except meat. For those of you who have never been to a Fish Fry — you need to find a couple in your area and try them out. Every church is different and has different specialities. Some serve only pasta, some actually have shrimp and others have catfish. Our parish, St. John Vianney has a variety — baked haddock and fried whiting for those who really do like fish – and then for those of us who don’t – we have macaroni and cheese, pancakes, tater tots, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I always opt for the non-fish items – I haven’t eaten fish since I was five years old and my Granny Hogan made me clean my first trout! Here it is almost fifty years later and I’m still psychologically traumatized by the whole thing!
It wouldn’t be a Catholic fish fry if there weren’t raffles going on in every corner of the room. We have a raffle for money (spend money to make more), one for decorated payphones (yep – payphones — decorated with your favorite sports team!) and one for sports memorabilia (which in Nebraska means autographed Cornhusker footballs, posters, etc.). However, the one that I spend the most money on is the meat raffle — yes, during Lent we raffle off meat on Fridays – which, of course, we can’t eat on Fridays! I’ve won some nice pork chops, hamburger, ham, wieners — enough to barbecue all summer! They sell the raffle tickets and spin the ‘meat wheel’ and award the prizes every 20-30 minutes! I’ve been known to spend about $50 trying to win that $10 worth of meat!
Of course, there are those who come to a Catholic Fish Fry — because there is unlimited beer and wine — usually just for a small donation. I think we started to serve beer to wash down that FISH – and also to make you spend more money on the raffles!
We always have a good time at the Fish Fry — buying too many raffle tickets trying to win hamburgers for dinner on Sunday, buying lots of baked goods from the youth group who is raising funds for needy families and the very best part of the entire thing is getting to laugh and talk with all of our friends. And what about the fish? Well, I’m giving my share to my husband. I’m going to concentrate on winning those pork chops that just came up in the raffle!