Cock-a-Doodle calendars

When I visited Chino’s delightful Cock-a-Doodle for lunch last year before writing about the restaurant’s 50th anniversary, I marveled at the vintage calendars papering the walls in the hallway outside the restrooms. They’re obviously not original to the ‘Doodle since most predate its existence.

Here’s a note from reader Toni Bagley about the calendars:

“At the Cock-a-Doodle Restaurant on Central Ave. in Chino, there are a ton of calendars on the wall. We are all so curious about them! They are small (maybe 7″x9”) annual calendars starting in 1926 going through 1961. A few years are missing, but not many. They were provided by a business called Soper Bros. It appears that Soper Bros. sold most anything farm or house related.

“The calendars are covered with pencil notations. Most curious are certain ‘holidays’ or ‘events’ that no one understands. One is ‘Ember Day,’ and another is ‘Rogation Day.’ What do these things mean?

“I’ve lived here 30+ years, but haven’t run across anyone who can explain the history of the calendars. They’re a real ‘show-stopper’ as you are waiting to get into the Ladies Room! Well, they don’t ‘stop’ anything (!), but they are an attraction.

“Thanks for delving into this, David. Also, while you’re there, delve into the biscuits and gravy!”

Anyone know the story behind the calendars being there (I’m guessing they were donated), the history of Soper Bros. or what Rogation Day or Ember Day would refer to?

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  • don

    Rogation and Ember days are easily Googled.

    They were more notable in a day more influenced by the ‘Western Church’ [see Wikipedia], I guess.

  • meg

    As other posters may be pointing out as I type, Rogation Days and Ember Days are fast days in the Catholic Church.

    [This Protestant thanks you for the enlightenment. — DA]

  • Dee

    Rogation Day — Four days in April set aside by the Catholic Church for fasting and such. According to Wikkipedia:

    “The first Rogation, the Greater Litanies, was introduced as a Christian substitute for the Roman pagan celebration Robigalia, which was a special celebration to pray for crops.”

    So, I guess they would fast to pray for crops???

    Ember Day is similar. How ironic that so many fasting days are on display in a restaurant.

  • Joanne

    Rogation Day refers to the 3 days of fasting and prayers for a good harvest usually the 3 days before Ascension Day according to

    Ember Days are similar, 3 days of prayer and fasting but held 4 times a year, also known as the “fasts of the 4 seasons” according to Wikipedia.

    [I knew you folks would know the answers to this stuff. Thanks to all. — DA]

  • Bob House

    from a blog called The Townsend Archive:

    Soper Bros. in Chino, (Soper Bros. was a story in itself, general hardware, appliances, clothes and even farming equipment, if they didn’t have it they could get it).

    Also, Pomona Library’s digital collection has a number of photos of Sopers and indicates that the patriarch was also one of the early grocers in Pomona.

    [Thanks, Bob. — DA]

  • Pat Costa

    The calendars came from Mr. Newman, donated by his daughter Mrs. Genaveve Karlson to the then-owners of the Cock-a-Doodle, Tony & Carmen Freitas.

    Recognizing the value of the calendars, Mr. & Mrs. Freitas had them framed in the ’70s and put on dispay. Mr. Newman made many notes on the calendars referring to the weather and what he planted in his garden.

    There are 3 missing from the time period posted — Mr. & Mrs. Karlson’s year of their anniversary and the years their daughters were born.

    [And there you have it — the story of the Cock-a-Doodle calendars. Thank you, Pat. She and her husband, Joe, operate the restaurant, taking over from her parents, the Freitases mentioned above. — DA]

  • Anonymous Server

    While the story behind the “calendar wall” at the Cock-A-Doodle is very interesting and certainly adds to its “grass roots of Chino” charm, there is so much more to appreciate from this little gem!

    I have lived in Chino for 40+ years and have worked at the Cock-A-Doodle for a number of years now. I am amazed at the multigenerational clientele we have! It is nothing to see four generations at a table for dinner sharing stories of their good old times at “The Doodle”! Certainly that speaks to the consistently great quality food (and service) offered there both then and now!

    What most people don’t know about are the things that are NOT on the menu. Of course I love that we still offer soup or salad with all dinners without charging extra, (fast becoming a rarity in restaurants); however, there are things like Tony’s Special — a grilled chicken breast smothered with shrimp scampi — or our Open Faced Beef Sandwich, or Cinnamon Raisin French Toast or our fantastic Strawberry Shortcake made country style with warm biscuits! All wonderful — just not on the menu.

    Those who have been eating there for years know these items were offered in the past and no longer appear on the menu but also know that all they have to do is ask and we’ll make it. Just another way Pat and Joe strive to see that their customers get what they want!

    I think the magic is partly due to a wonderful staff as well! I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “Just tell Albert it’s for ‘Bob'”! The truth is even if I forget to tell Albert, our senior dinner cook, that this is for Bob – it doesn’t matter! He is an “old school” cook/chef who takes pride in every recipe and every plate that goes out! He and his food are always amazing! That said — if I let him know it is for ‘Bob’ he will know that Bob likes his potatoes with extra gravy…one of the great pre-computer databases – Albert’s memory!!!

    Then there are the servers who have been there for…well…forever, which brings me (among others) to Dotty! Anyone who has been “doing the Doodle” for any length of time knows our “Dotty,” age somewhere between 70 & 80 and runs circles around most of us — you can ask her anything but be prepared for an honest answer! I love that woman!!!

    If all you want is a little “liquid libation” we have wonderful bartenders and a warm welcoming bunch of “regulars” who love new faces!

    There is neither enough space nor time to go into detail about everyone but having worked a few places before I landed at the Cock-A-Doodle I can tell you that I love my job so much that work never really feels like work thanks to wonderful coworkers, customers, and terrific caring owners with an incredible manager who will roll up their sleeves and work side by side with us any time it is needed!

    The calendars are cool but the true magic exists inside the walls of the Cock-A-Doodle Restaurant, not on them!

  • Toni Bagley

    David, thank you for posting these great comments about the calendars at the Cock-A-Doodle Restaurant in Chino. Pat and her husband Joe (Costas) are the greatest hosts, and Pat provided a first-hand history of the calendars. Being a Protestant myself, I wasn’t aware of these Catholic holidays noted on the calendars. Your readers are very well informed! Thanks to all for solving a decades-old question.

    Also David, you’re right in your element there in N’Awlins…you haven’t missed a thing by being away from Ontario. Same old mayhem & debauchery. Mayor Leon has publicly apologized for his (paraphrasing, sorry) “lack of discretion in personal decisions.”

    We love our city, no matter what. Thanks, and may the “bon temps roule”! …Toni