In addition to all the other consequences of Quinland being gone (an empty space in our little family, a lonely dog, and a lot less laundry), I was really missing all of Q’s friends. Some had gone away to college, some are going to school here in Portland, others are still in high school, but without Quinland to pull them into our orbit, I was afraid we’d lose touch.
You see, we have been blessed to have a huge bunch of young people in our lives — and our home — over the years. These kids are amazing. They are smart and kind and funny and thoughtful and loud and creative and just basically awesome. However, they are getting a little too old to be called “kids,” so I decided they needed a new name.
The term kid comes, of course, from young goats, so I decided we needed another baby-animal name. Puppies? Kittens? Lambs? (Picture me as an elderly British woman.) These all seemed too babyish. Cubs? Calves? Goslings? No, no, no… Then I remembered when we raised salmon in my classroom back in days of yore. The eggs hatch into creepy-looking alevin, and then develop into little fry. That was it! Same meaning, but without the same juvenile connotation. (And besides, this is the Pacific Northwest! We love salmon!) Although Quinland might have preferred joeys, the Young People I Love are now officially called Fry.
The criteria for becoming one of the Fry are simple:
- come over to our house; and
- want to be a Fry.
However, determining who the Fry are is more difficult. One does not want to assume that just because a young person comes over to the house that they have any interest in Frydom, nor do I want to conscript unwitting youth into the whole Fry movement, so there’s a pretty loose roster.
I decided that I wanted to have a regular get-together with the Fry even while Quinland is not here, so I instituted monthly Fry Day nights. In September, we just hung out and ate food and talked (and talked and talked). In October, we did all of that and also carved pumpkins and decorated for Halloween. In November, we saw Pride and Prejudice performed at the local community college, followed by birthday cake for me at the house afterward. (I’m not so humble that I won’t orchestrate my own birthday celebration.) It’s been a revolving group of people so far, and some have brought friends. (Ooo! More Fry!)
(Mid-December through mid-January, we had a veritable Fry Fest, because where Quinland goes, adventure follows. The house was filled with Fry galore; it was as if Q had never been gone.)
David just asked when we were going to do the February Fry Day night. It needs to be soon. I miss these people terribly and getting filled-in on their lives is such a treat. I suppose it’s a mini-reunion of sorts for them, as well; as they each establish their own after-graduation lives, their paths may cross less and less often.
The only thing that could make it better, of course, would be to have Quinland there with us all. (Q agrees. He was especially salty about us carving pumpkins without him. Quinland loves Halloween.)
But we end up talking about him endlessly, and that fills up the empty space in the house and in my heart, just a little.
Thanks, Fry. You know I love you. (And Q, you know we all miss you!)