“Some of the most important conversations I’ve ever had occurred at my family’s dinner table.”

Today is seasonably chilly with a cold breeze. The leaves on the oak tree have turned brown, and every time the wind blows, a few fall to the ground. Soon enough the oak tree will be bare.

Fewer birds than usual are at the feeders, and the spawns of Satan also seem to be among the missing. I have only seen the red spawn. I don’t know where his gray cousins are.

I have never had huge expectations for Sundays which dates, I think, from when I was little and, by default, Sunday was family day. The morning always started with church, sometimes with my dad, the usher, sometimes just by ourselves, my brother and me. I remember my dad used to give each of us a dime for the collection basket. When the time came, I’d watch him walk to the front of the church carrying his basket. Once there, he’d kneel then stand and pass the basket down each row. The handle of the basket was so long it reached all the way down to the end of the pews in the center aisle. I was always a bit proud when I could add my dime to the basket. It made me feel older some how. My dad would drive us home, but he always stopped for the paper first. Sometimes he’d stop so we could get a donut. I liked jelly donuts back then. My dad liked plain.

When I got home, I’d change out of my Sunday clothes into my play clothes though most Sundays, other than in the summer, I never went outside to play. I’d lie on the rug in the living room and read the comics. I never found the rest of the paper interesting when I was little. The Sunday movie started at noon, and we’d gather around and watch. The only movie I still remember watching was Lassie Come Home. It made me cry.

My mother was always in the kitchen preparing Sunday dinner. During the week we had lunch in the afternoon and then supper at night, but on Sundays we had dinner. I always thought it was called dinner because it was the best meal of the whole week. We sometimes had a roast beef or a roast pork or chicken, always mashed potatoes and a couple of vegetables, out of cans back then. There was never enough room at the table. The kitchen was small. My mother often stood up by the stove near the table to eat. Even years later, when there was room, she’d still stand at the counter and eat. I thought it was strange until I remembered those Sunday dinners and that small kitchen and the table against the wall.

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10 Comments on ““Some of the most important conversations I’ve ever had occurred at my family’s dinner table.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Since we weren’t a church going family sundays was just like saturdays but we had to go to bed a bit earlier. We seldom had anything special to eat unless we went to my grandmother and grandfather, then we always had some kimd of steak 🙂

    But thier kitcen was big so every one could sit by the table and eat. Even though my grandmother jumped every few seconds to get something she had forgotten 🙂 As I remember it that was the only time we had dessert, something almost never happened otherwise.

    Clody, chilly and a bit foggy here today. Quite nice actually but my nose is stuffenb and my throat is sour today.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      We also had to go to bed earlier on Sunday but as my mother always said, “School tomorrow!”

      I think the Sunday family dinner was, for the longest time, a sort of institution here in the US.

      It’s pretty overcast but it is the wind making it chilly.

  2. Jeff in San Diego Says:

    >> “… the spawns of Satan also seem to be among the missing” <<
    No need to form a search party – I'm still here in San Diego.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,

    We must be related. My mother stood at the stove to eat, too. I always thought it was because she was constantly having to get something. Meat, mashed or baked potatoes and one or two canned veg for Sunday dinner. We had a dining room but only used it for special occasions.
    I’ve always been ambivalent about Sundays. It was a day off from school but there was Church which was a bit like school but it didn’t last as long. After church there was dinner and after that you could play if homework was done but by that time most of the day was over.
    When I first saw the title of Douglas Adams’ book The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul I knew precisely what he meant. Four o’clock on Sunday afternoon. 🙂
    The day is sunny and warm up here. Porch door is open and Rocky is out there sunning himself in his favorite chair.
    Enjoy the day!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We didn’t have a dining room until my parents moved to a different house when I was overseas. It was used for all the big meals: Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mother ate with us then but every other meal in the house, she was at the counter.

      I know exactly what you mean about Sunday. I loved school but found church a bit of a waste of time, and I figured it wrecked a Sunday morning. I think when we were kids Sunday was sacred. Nothing was open, and there was nowhere we could go anyway.

      You have all the sun!

  4. Zoey & Me Says:

    The gray spawns are over on my blog playing with Zoey. We ate meals on the porch at one house in NY. That was not easy in winter. Then an eat in kitchen for five in Virginia. Finally Dad got off post and bought a house with a formal dining room. We never thought we would enjoy something like that so much. But those were the days. We didn’t build a formal dining room in this house but chose rather a nook for sitting six guests. Works fine as it’s just us but have a table on the porch for when the kids come over.

    • katry Says:

      You and Zoey may have them all to yourselves!

      We never had a porch ever, and my parents didn’t have a dining room until they moved to a house in which I never lived. I was gone when they bought it and then I stayed on Cape while they had moved north of Boston.

      I have a dining room, and I love it for serving my guests. I take great care in decorating my tables. Living alone, I never eat there-mostly here in the den.

  5. john Says:

    The dining room at our house was reserved for Christmas and Thanksgiving… and of course homework.
    All other meals were eaten in the kitchen – Dad at the head of the table and my brother (the eldest) at the other end. Mom would sit at the table but only after everyone had their food and before anyone wanted seconds (when the times were good enough for seconds). I never knew why my brother was assigned the foot of the table. Because he was the eldest? The eldest male? The hungriest? And why we each had our specific place at the table, which never changed unless there was company? It’s funny, meals at our house now are the same… Everyone in a specific seat.
    Sundays, of course, were the only days we ate dinner. All other days we ate lunch and supper. But, I suppose that, like brunch, one has to have a special name for a mid-afternoon meal. If I could have one more plate of Mom’s pot roast I wouldn’t care what the meal was called.

    You’re right about Mass on Sunday to be a waste of time during our youth. Going to Catholic School for the 5 days a week was more than enough religion for even the most deplorable of sinners.

    I inadvertently caught one of your satanic squirrels last week in my chipmunk trap. Since we had just planted about 200 flower bulbs I decided to “relocate” him. We were going out to the cemetery anyway so we took him along for a 15 ride in the bed of the pick-up. When I opened the cage along side a recently harvested corn field he shot out of the truck without ever touching the truck, the road, or (fortunately) me. I’m sure he’s found plenty to eat, but he’ll have quite a hike to find a tree to nest in. Serves him right for being a squirrel.

    • katry Says:

      The kitchen table was our homework spot. I remembering working there while my mother would prepare and cook supper. You made me remember that we too had our spots at the table and we always sat in those same spots. My dad also sat at the head of the table and the rest of us were on the sides. My sisters were on the inside near the walls and my brother and I each had an outside chair, both next to my dad.

      Sunday dinner was sacrosanct. You missed it at your own peril. Most of the time we;d never miss it-the food was too good. My mother mde my favorite meal before I left for Africa: roast beef, mashed potatoes and pease. If you add another veggie, you’d have one of our familt finners from when I was a kid.

      My yard has a few holes so I know the spawns ate some of my bulbs. I curse them!

      I’d have taken him to the next state!

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