Before I started my second year at Oberlin, I wrote a blog about Tendies Night, one of my favorite weekly traditions in college. For a quick refresher, Tendies Night is when chicken tenders are served for Fourth Meal on Wednesday nights (I recommend reading my other blog if you need further explanation!). The premise of Tendies Night has stayed the same in the nine months since I last wrote about them, but how the night is carried out has changed quite a lot. There has been an evolution of tendies. A Tendolution, if you will!
Fall Semester 2019: Business as Usual
The same tendies I knew and loved from my first year of college. Baskets of hot, golden chicken, with a side of as many cookies as you could want and several circles of friends. The main difference is that (thanks to a new class of first-years!) there were more people to meet and introduce to the wonderful world of Wednesday Fourth Meal. One week in October, a good friend of mine came to visit as a prospective student, and I was able to introduce her to Tendies Night as well! The other change I noticed was that there was only one Wings Night (instead of tendies) the entire semester, and it was a day that I couldn’t make it anyway. I call that a win.
Spring Semester 2020 Part One: Tendies Take Decafé
In the first installment of the Tendolution, our protagonist, the lovely Fourth Meal, had been demoted down the hall to Decafé, where stacks of tendies were now served sauce-covered and wrapped in foil. Unlike the previous one-swipe all-access pass to the Rathskeller, tendies were now purchased the same as any other board swipe entree at the grab and go dining destination.
Many of us Obies weren’t happy with this change. The atmosphere wasn’t as lively outside of the Rat, it was harder to bounce between groups of people, and it was no longer possible to snag a second serving of tendies on nights when you needed an extra study snack. Plus, pre-tossed in sauce, the chicken was chewier than ever. Luckily, my friends and I didn’t let this change ruin our favorite night of the week. The chicken was different, but not gone, and still enough of a draw to make the late-night trek to Wilder, which wasn’t as late as usual thanks to a more positive part of this change. With its move to Decafé, Fourth Meal began an hour earlier than it used to, so we could start tendying sooner than ever!
This semester, my friend Sarah (who I’ve mentioned in these blogs) and I lived on opposite sides of campus and didn’t have any classes together, so Tendies Night served as the ideal meeting place for us to catch up regularly. With a three-hour bio lab for Sarah and an evening ensemble for me, Wednesdays were typically intense days for the two of us. I’m glad that Fourth Meal continuously provided us with a well-needed wind down, even if it wasn’t the same as it used to be. Besides, these initial changes got us used to tendie related turbulence, and the second half of the semester gave us a ton of it.
Spring Semester 2020 Part Two: Quarantendies Night
The sequel to the sequel, in the tendies blog sequel. Presenting, Quarantendies! In this mega follow-up, Tendies Night is faced with its greatest challenge yet: a pandemic. Luckily, not even COVID-19 can kill Fourth Meal. I have, without fail, eaten chicken every Wednesday night since I’ve been home from school. This is what Oberlin has done to me. Six out of nine of those weeks, my chicken was in the friendly, familiar form I’ve come to know and love from Wednesday nights in Ohio, and usually served on the side was a Skype call with Sarah. Skype wasn’t a foreign medium to Sarah and me pre-pandemic. We originally met online in a group chat three years before we started going to school together. Back then, our group would regularly congregate over Skype because we lived too far away to get together in person. Memories of this gave us the idea to open up Tendies Night to our group chat friends! This expanded our weekly Oberlin favorite from coast to coast in the United States, and even as far away as Melbourne, Australia, where Wednesday Tendies Night was more along the lines of Thursday Tendies Afternoon due to the time difference.
Just as it didn’t matter whether the participants of Quarantendies Night went to Oberlin, it didn’t matter if they ate chicken at all. Tendies Night is more about the camaraderie and good vibes than the chicken itself, and it provides an excellent excuse to get together with friends, whether those friends are at the Rathskeller in Oberlin or halfway across the world.
Although it’s been a bright spot in bad times, I don’t want Quarantendies to be the final phase of the Tendolution, and I highly doubt that it will be. Hopefully we’ll be back on campus soon, and Tendies Night will be right by our side, back and better than ever.