Posted by: philipfontana | March 3, 2012


The Story of “Friday Night”!


 The Tease:  Future Pasta Recipes!


     Excuse us for living, but it’s been 40 years since Phil and Geri (that’s us!) started cooking a special meal together each Friday night to celebrate the end of the work week. –First in our apartments and then in our home. Now we are talking 1972, so Phil would pickup a “special bottle” of wine, Ernest & Julio Gallo’s “best,” higher line, for all of $2.07. Geri would be sure there was a single, tall candle on the table for dinner. And Geri and Phil would make their favorite pasta recipe or, as time went on, concoct a new pasta recipe of their own….Candle lit, wine opened, grace said, wine poured, a toast “to Friday Night and us,” and then salad, pasta, and ice cream for dessert.

As the years passed, Friday night dinners continued. It was the rare occurrence that Phil and Geri went out on a Friday night, only if a social obligation demanded it so. Eventually, children came along, three boys to be precise. The boys were fed early on a Friday and put to bed. As they grew up, “Mom and Dad” had the porch of the old house enclosed to serve as a family room with a sofa-bed. On Friday nights the boys could stay up “late” (10:00 pm) and watch TV and sleep “on the porch.” –Pizza at 5:00 and then settle into the porch. Over the years, the boys each went through the stage of visiting Mom and Dad having “Friday Night” around 7:30/8:00 pm and sip a little wine or taste the pasta. As they grew up, only two slept on the porch, then one, then no one. But they always ate early and Phil and Geri continued their Friday Night tradition.


     Things change. Our jobs changed over the years…but the same house! High school years and college years passed for the boys…and into the workplace for them and empty nest for us. But “Friday Night” continued, no, evolved! I stopped cooking with Geri long ago, coming home late from work. I resorted to suggesting ideas for pasta recipes and Geri, the obvious brain and talent in this whole operation, transformed ideas into delicious dishes. Steak was added to the menu for some protein. Happy Hour and favorite music selections blasting on the stereo were introduced in the early 2000’s as an outgrowth of our vacation stays in Dewey Beach, Delaware. A favorite Sauvignon Blanc and Italian hors d’oeuvres were introduced and sing-a-longs, sometimes with printed words, seemed to be a natural, inebriated outgrowth, maybe even an occasional dance.–Friday Night dinner still followed…by now with a favorite Cabernet Sauvignon! Is the picture emerging more clearly here? By now we were retired! And should the social schedule not permit, simply, “Friday Night” was held on Saturday…sometimes Thursday. Necessity calls!

And so, what began as “Friday Night” has developed into a weekly celebration filled with all the elements that make a holiday special. –Good food, drink, music, love and laughter. We look forward to it every week, really! It’s like Christmas Eve once a week. And forgive us when we have the passing thought why others do not do the same or their own version of something special once a week. –even young couples!

All of this led to our scratch notes on no less than 18 or more pasta recipes and ideas, not to mention salads and breads and meats and fish. We jokingly play with two titles for a cook book and sequel: Mortal Sin: Pasta Recipes that are Sinfully Delicious, followed by, Death by Pasta: More Sinfully Delicious Pasta Recipes You Could Die For.

Would you be interested in a pasta recipe or two or three…?

Look for future “PastaPosts” from time to time right here at Excuse Us For Living.

Comments: Share your own once a week or so “something special” tradition! – No, not that!


  1. Hi Phil-
    ahhhh…….memories, and that is what families are all about. I knew you and Geri were the “real deal” and very familiy orientated when I first met you both. Thanks for sharing and yes, I would love a few recipes….

    Here are 2 of mine-
    A past memory: it was April 13th, 1975 and Patrick was just born. A few days later it was our 5th anniversary on April 18th. Jim had me sit down at the table while he prepared LOBSTER…yum! Just as I was about to put a forkful into my mouth, I hear wahhhhhhhh….Patrick was calling his mom for food…lol…oh well….lol….

    When we built our home in Fl 18 yrs, we would have workmen over all week to finish the punch week. I finally said to Jim-no fridays! Thus I started our fri “date days”…we now go out to lunch and see a movie….nothing interferes with that.

    I think as married couples we must create these memories to remember and laugh about……life would be too dull without them!

    • Margaret!!!!!!! My best “customer”! Erin & Any just left…here for tech support from them both…Andy re the blog & Erin er Facebook!
      Great memories & a tradition! Hope baby Patrick let you finish that Lobster! 1975! He is still a youngster!
      And Fridays for lunch & a movie! That’s an excellent idea!!!!
      I agree…memories & laugh & love! I hope the younger generations catch on to this. We can help by example, right?!
      As always, thank you for the interest, comment, & time!

  2. Hi Phil,
    We have fondly listened about Friday night dinners for 39 years. We were blessed and honored to be a part of this tradition last July. A Friday night “pasta fest” of fabulous food, story telling, singing, laughter and wine! But it was more than just a dinner. Years ago you and Geri created……if you will a celebration of simply living and honoring one another’s presence. The best part was your family was watching and we learned so much.
    Phil, so glad you shared this on your blog, your family is still listening…thanks.
    I think we have a couple of recipes!
    Love you ,
    Don & Vin

    • Vin & Don,
      So, so nice words a brother could not buy! I am humbled.
      Glad you have a couple of recipes, because after your too kind words I can now die! Ha!
      But just in case, I’ll live on & after a more serious post, in a week or so I’ll do the first PastaPost!!!! You don’t need any of these recipes.
      Thanks again & again!
      Love, Phil

  3. Ahhh, Phil and Geri,
    Mary Louise and I both can identify with the simple things in life. Just take the time to enjoy them. Your special effort to inject that into the Fontana lifestyle, Wow, we can not agree with you more.
    We have not lived in one place for more than 20 years. But you got to see on a couple of outings that the Pacheecks do enjoy the simple things. Such as the lucky occasion to enjoy one another and fellowship. You are the tops as far as wonderful people and gracious host. One get’s the genuine sense of real love from such great folks. Memories of Winfield, Point Pleasant, now Rehoboth. I can say that I have learned much from such wonderful people. Enjoy the Spring. Let us say a prayer for the folks dealing with natures rath God speed.

    • John & May Louise,
      Oh, John, you said it all so well here for me once again! –The simple things…that’s the mantra for the Pachecos & the Fontanas. And we’ve done that in Rehoboth several times as you indicate & in Montville too now with a “Friday Night” just for you two! And the learning, believe me, is a two way street. I’ve learned so much from you from nature, environmental & energy, gardening, financial, handy work, boating, spiritual, inter-personal, & more. Yes, the spring cleanup is here. My heart is heavy for all those in the path of nature’s wrath & why this must be. Peace…now there is another thing you keep schooling me in. Yes, Peace & now to Jon & Mandy too! Must be great! Phil & Geri reading along too!

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