“Do you realize if it weren’t for Edison we’d be watching TV by candlelight?”

Today is a lovely fall day. It isn’t all that warm because of the cool breeze, but the sun is bright and sharp. My heat came on during the early morning so the house was comfortable when I came downstairs. It was my morning to sit and chat with my neighbor to help improve her English. She gets stuck on have or has. Usually she uses have for everything. She turns played and similar words into two syllables. We worked on that as well. She gives me the Portuguese word for what we’re talking about and helps me with the pronunciation. I guess that makes it a joint effort.

After Wednesday my dance card is empty. It is getting on to the time of the year when I tend to hibernate. I’ll see a movie now and then and play games with my friends on Sunday, but that’s about it, and I’m fine with that.

When I was a kid, my winters were about the same as now. We went to the Saturday Matinee a couple of times a month, but the rest of the week was pretty quiet. It got dark only a few hours after we’d get home from school, but most days we just stayed in the house as it was too cold to play outside. We’d watch television and we’d do our homework. Most afternoons we did both at once. I remember watching Superman and even back then I wondered how Lois and Jimmy didn’t recognize Clark. I guessed the glasses were a better disguise than we imagined.

Supper was usually around six. Most nights my father made it home in time. In my memory drawers I see him walking in the door wearing his overcoat and his fedora. He’d put them in the closet then change out of his suit. He always wore a suit to work. Supper was eaten around the kitchen table, but there was never enough room for all of us unless the table got pulled out and another seat was added at the end. I think that’s when my mother started eating at the counter as we never did pull out the table except for holidays. Much later, in a different house, the dining room table was big enough so the whole family and more could sit together and eat; however, we mostly did that only on holidays because by then we were scattered and it was only during the holidays we’d all together. My mother always joined us at the table.

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8 Comments on ““Do you realize if it weren’t for Edison we’d be watching TV by candlelight?””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Very windy and rainy here today, a real autumn day even if it actually should be winter here by now. I don’t mind as long as the winds comes from the right directions, anything but the north-eastern is good 🙂

    I rarely do anything this time of year, I go home after work and stays home and it is the same during the weekends. I do however move around during the christmas vacation but this year we’ll only have three extra days of, we just have too much to do at work. None of us is happy about it, not even the owner 🙂 But it is better to have to do too much than to have no job at all 🙂

    I had an appointment at the bank today and while going there I remembered how it used to be to go to one of those appointments. One dreesed up in ones best clothes and was very serious since they always looked at us as if we had swindled the bank of all its money. Today I went there in my working clothes, chatted with the one on the other side of the desk and had lots of fun while doing what we were supposed to do 🙂 Back in the days they wouldn’t even have let me in if I wore working clothes 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Your day and mine were essentially the same just take away the rain.

      It is dark so early now I don’t really want to go outside. My errands get done during the late morning or early afternoon. I used to love Christmas vacation from school. When Christmas was a Monday or Tuesday, we’d get out on Friday and it seemed like such a long vacation.

      The world is casual. I remember when people dressed up to fly anywhere, and we had to wear dresses to church-now anything goes. The world has changed.

      Have a great night!

  2. Richard Says:

    This is where I go all ‘bah humbug!’ ‘n stuff … bright ‘n shiny as a new penny cleaned in acid here. On the positive side, the temps were great. We’ll be mid-to-low 40s tonite. Thankyewjeebus.

    Are you learning Portugese in return for helping your neighbor with English? That’d be a lot better than Rosetta Stone.

    My ‘dance card,’ as it were, is continually on ’empty.’ Or, as KC and the Sunshine Band once told us, “That’s the way (unh-huh, unh-huh) I like it” … This is also, by some strange quirk of either fate or biology, the time of year I’m most active. I can deal with cold – it’s heat I can’t stand. And humidity. Good thing I’m not all paranoid about being by myself. It also proves that Moms know best. When we were kids, Mom would tell us “You’d better get used to being by yourself, because you won’t always have someone else to play with.” She was right then, and she’s still right. Wherever her spirit is now, I’m sure she looks down and guffaws when she sees what I’m doing. Is is proper to think of one’s Mom as ‘guffaw’-ing?

    We had supper about the same time as you. We always had meals together, and I’m glad my daughter is carrying on that tradition. If we got in a snit about what Mom had fixed for that evening’s meal, we were quickly informed that Mom didn’t run a short-order restaurant and she prepared one meal for dinner. If we didn’t like it, we didn’t have to eat it – but we didn’t get to eat anything cooked again until the next day. Sandwiches, cold cuts, PB&J, but Mom wasn’t cooking a second – or third – meal for any of us.

    My daughter has Mom’s (formerly my Grandmother’s) dining room table now, With all the leaves in, it’s over 8 feet long. Mom told her to never remove any of the stains, ‘cuz every stain was a memory – and she was right about that. Now it has even more ‘memories’ from all the crawfish boils we’ve had since she inherited it.

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      We have the same sort of temps at night, low 50’s or high 40’s. The animals huddle close to me in bed as I also keep the house cooler than during the day.

      I’m learning vocabulary from her. I can’t chat with anyone but I’m beginning to know lots of words. The problem is I can never roll my r’s.

      It is perfectly proper to think moms guffaw. My mother mostly avoided the whining about her choice of menus by cooking what all or most of us would eat. Hamburger in various disguises was the meat we had most often. Potatoes too made frequent appearances, mostly mashed. The veggies changed. Corn was a favorite. As for me, I never ate beans except string beans which I hardly think of as beans.

      My sisters and I each have some of my mother’s things. She’d be pleased I use them and even more pleased they remind me of her every time. It is the same for my sisters. Mom is with us always.

  3. Bob Says:

    Both my mother and my maternal grandmother never ate at the table with us unless it was a holiday meal. My mother would prepare each person’s plate at the stove, serve them and then supervise the meal with generous portions of guilt. My mother would walk around the table with a pot of mashed potatoes or vegetables and would watch what we ate. If we were not eating enough she would say, ‘What’s the matter, you don’t like my potatoes’. If we told her that we liked them she would plop another table spoon full on our plate. Some of her favorites were, ‘Children in Europe are starving’ or maybe it was China. ‘Why aren’t you eating? Look how you look, you will waste away to nothing’. To my mother fat equated with healthy.

    I hate this time of the year because we have begun being bombasted with holiday commercials egging us on to buy more stuff that we don’t need or gifts that others don’t want. The economy requires it but that’s another story. We also get the annual complaining by conservatives that by calling this the ‘Holiday’ season rather than the Christmas season it’s a war by liberals against Christians. To them it’s a terrorist plot hatched in Iran by a turbaned radical Imam. They forgot that if it wasn’t for Chanukah a few hundred years earlier there wouldn’t be a Christmas. Of course historically Jesus was born in the Spring. Thank you Emperor Constantine for moving his birth to the date of a Roman pagan festival and adding the unbelievable pagan idea of a virgin birth thing just to give it good Roman feeling. The only reason Christianity won out in the Roman world over Judaism over paganism is that Christianity didn’t require adult male circumcision. There was no anesthesia back then. 🙂

    Otherwise, another beautiful day that started out in the 50s and warmed up to the low 60s. A day I drove home with the sun roof open.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      When I was an adult, I wondered why she still ate at the counter, but then I realized over time she had come to like the spot. Like your mother, mine would refill the serving dishes on the table so they were never empty. We never got the starving children plight, but we did get the, “Don’t you like it?” Guilt built up for years by my mother made us all ask for more.

      I love Christmas time. People seem to be a little nicer and a bit more cheerful. I spend lots of time trying to find the exact right gift, and I’m usually successful. My trees are beautiful, symmetrical and decorated with memories: ornaments from my mother’s tree, souvenirs from my trips and home-made ornaments. I have a popcorn wreath high up in the tree so as not to tempt the dog.

      One year, when I had an early dismissal for vacation, my mother and I baked together for a few days, and it was so much fun listening to carols and chatting. On Christmas Eve we were usually the only two awake late, and we’d each have a Christmas drink and open a special gift we had gotten for each other.

      • Bob Says:

        My mother only used serving dishes on holidays. For everyday meals she prepared a plate for each of us and then circled the table with her pot in hand ready to refill our empty plates. She never gave us a beverage with the meal for fear that we would fill up with liquid before we ate.

        I know that you enjoy the holiday season, don’t mind my annual ranting. If a retailer doesn’t have a good Christmas season there is nothing they can do the entire rest of the year to make up the loss. The manufacturers ship all the holiday merchandise in October to be payed for on January 10th. The whole economy depends on holiday spending.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        My mother served the dinner in serving bowls or platters on the table. She had a set of Christmas dishes used once a year. I have a set of Thanksgiving dishes my mother found in an antique store which were a Christmas present from my mother and father.

        Around here it is the summer which determines the financial fate of restaurants and stores. There are a few stores like Macy’s and Kohl’s, but the cape hasn’t near the amount of off-cape. A rainy summer season kills the cape’s economy.


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