I don’t eat waffles regularly anymore, that comes with being a 24-year-old who has a tendency to not wake up until the sun has all ready begun its descent. Also, I’m just not a fan of breakfast food in general.
But for a while, it was a ritual. A ritual I took part in for an hour every Wednesday night, either from 8 – 9 PM, or 9 to 10 PM. That’s when my waffles and I would head to the Delta Quadrant.
When Star Trek: Voyager premiered on Jan. 16, 1995, I was four weeks away from turning 4 years old. I lived in Lewisville, Texas and my sister Emily wouldn’t be born for another 23 months.
I don’t remember watching Voyager’s first episode, “Caretaker” when it premiered. But for the majority of the next five years, this was my ritual:
Go to church and take part in a night of AWANA activities (acronym for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed,” taken from 2 Timothy 2:15). The highlight for me was game time, where we ran around a circle made of colored tape or chalk to grab a bean bag before three other kids.
Once over, it was back home. There my mom prepared a plate of Eggo waffles and placed it on a yellow lunch tray/table in the foyer just outside the living room where our Magnavox television, which was older than me and that I took to college my freshman year, was located.
Because my parents didn’t want me to spill syrup on the carpet, it was there that I watched Captain Kathryn Janeway lead the crew of the U.S.S Voyager 70,000 light-years back home.
While many Star Trek fans debate over whether The Original Series or The Next Generation is the best series, I’ve always had Voyager as my personal favorite.
Voyager was different. In premise, location, characters and narrative motivation.
Where the other shows had an open premise of exploration with no real A to B plot point, Voyager had, pardon the pun, an endgame.
This also gave the audience a storyline to emotionally invest in for the show’s duration, much like in “Smallville” with Clark Kent becoming Superman, “Battlestar Galactica’s” similar goal (and showrunner Ron Moore) of finding Earth and “How I Met Your Mother” with Ted Mosby … well, you know.
The series started with a goal and a place for the characters and story to travel toward, episode-by-episode, until its finale on May 23, 2001.
When it aired, my family lived in Springdale, Ark., 335 miles away from where our own Voyager journey started.
At the time, living in the country, our satellite provider didn’t carry local channels, which included UPN. So we missed much of the final season of Voyager as it originally aired. But for the series finale my dad had somehow gotten his hands on a TV antennae that would let us watch “Endgame.”
We watched, then it was over. Sort of.
As with the “Monk” books by Lee Goldberg and Hy Conrad, the story of Voyager continues. In the last month I finished “The Eternal Tide” by Kirsten Beyer, whose ability to capture character voices and the show’s tone is uncanny.
It’s been 14 years since the show ended, yet in universe it’s only been 5-6 years since Voyager returned home.
And after 14 years, I’m still thinking about Wednesday night waffles.