Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: It’s Not About the Hoagies #SOL19 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: It’s Not About the Hoagies #SOL19 #TWTBlog

Hey, there’s Subway.  We could stop there for lunch.


Yeah.  Why, do you not like Subway?

It’s fine. I just didn’t take you for a Subway kind of person. Hoagies don’t come to mind when I think of you.

I laugh.  She isn’t wrong.  I am more of a salad person.  The thing is, my attachment to Subway has little to do with the hoagies.

Friday nights in the summer meant boat night with my dad.  I would wait in the driveway, pacing, until I saw his car pull in the driveway.  I knew as soon as he put that briefcase down and changed his clothes, our night would begin.  Just the two of us for the night.

You see, my dad bought a boat.  No one in my family liked the boat except me.  In retrospect I am not even sure my dad liked the boat and I think I may have liked spending time with my dad on the boat more than I actually liked the boat.  He, however, was determined to make this boat a part of our lives.  This is how the Friday Boat Night tradition began … I was his only hope.

First stop on boat night was always Subway.  I remember ordering my sandwich exactly how I wanted it – extra, extra pickles and black olives.  I chose my chips carefully each time, a dessert and a soda.  It felt so extravagant.  Then we made our way to the boat.  Sleeping bags, pillows, food and our radio in hand.  It was all we needed.

Once we settled in, we set out for a sunset ride on the lake.  My dad would let me drive and urge me to go faster and faster.  I can still feel the wind blowing through my hair and hear my shouts of glee as the boat leaped over the wakes and waves.  My dad would take over the wheel and pick the perfect spot to throw down anchor.  We set up dinner and ate as we watched the display of colors unveil with the setting of the sun.  The peace and tranquility bonded us.  Words were not needed, but I knew this was my time.  My time to share my hopes, my worries, my plans and my life.  Some nights he shared his as well.  He was totally mine for those 45 minutes.  I could pace our conversation with the sun slowly dipping into the horizon. 

As the stars slowly emerged, we pulled up anchor and made our way back to the dock.  Sleeping bags zipped and the Yankees (or the Mets) playing on the radio.  I drifted off to sleep to the familiar sounds of baseball as I counted the stars and anticipated my forty-five minutes on the  horizon.

I guess I’m not a hoagie person.  Subway just brings back memories … it must be the extra pickles.


Some things are too precious to explain.


Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here

  • Avatar
    Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 10:49h, 24 March Reply

    You could use this as a powerful mentor next with students– there are so many powerful craft moves that could be noticed and noted– setting, reflection, tense shifts, details. It’s funny you brought up the pickles at the end again because that was the part I read over as I read your piece the first time. I was surprised at the extra, extra pickles!

    Your dad was a special person with a lot to remind us of parenting.

  • Avatar
    Susan Kennedy
    Posted at 10:54h, 24 March Reply

    One on one time with some one special is the most precious gift. Thanks for sharing. Haven’t had a subway in a long time but I join you in extra pickles and black olives.

  • Avatar
    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 11:06h, 24 March Reply

    Precious memories with your dad on that boat–Food from Subway spurs this reflection. Food, scents, songs–I am sometimes startled by a clear memory when I’m listening to music. It’s not just the tune, it’s the pickles.

  • Avatar
    Paula Bourque
    Posted at 11:20h, 24 March Reply

    Oh man, that sounds amazing. I love that you have such precious memories of time with your dad and that something as simple as stopping by subway for a sandwich can trigger them with such poignancy. Here’s to extra pickles, and extra special memories with loved ones! I hope my kids will find some of our traditions and family times as memorable one day. This was beautiful.

  • Avatar
    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 11:51h, 24 March Reply

    Great piece to help kids find those little things – a small detail, a place – that can blossom into a piece of writing. I loved the explanation about boat night and everyone’s feeling about the boat (including your dad). I felt the love between you. The special times you shared together – how wonderful, Clare! Fabulous close – imagery and the senses working together (I heard the sounds of zipping sleeping bags, the Mets on the radio, the stars dotting the sky). Loved this 45-minutes of share time – yours and his. Wow!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 11:54h, 24 March Reply

    Beautiful memories. I liked the bit about maybe even your dad didn’t like the boat… but I’m sure he also cherished his time with you.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 20:24h, 24 March Reply

    Reminds me of two memories – the lots my dad bought at Canadian Shores, about 30 minutes from our home. He never got to build a home there, but we would drive out there to swim in the pool and he would dream of the home he wanted to build. It was precious dad and kid time.
    We had a sandwich shop near the school where I taught. I stopped by often when I worked late, and they could build my sandwich for me from memory.
    Love these words from your post: “Just the two of us for the night.”

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