10 June 2011

Setting up for dinner tonight...

...and a conversation online about what traditional families used to look like, called to mind again the joy of life at Aunt Emma's (Granddaddy Mastin's).  You never knew who would be there for breakfast or supper - Uncle Jimmy might be stopping by, or the neighbors Earl and Norma Allen with their miniature poodle Pierre, or even the minister!  Then there were the relatives who dropped in for weeks at a time - Sidney and Pete, Virginia (oh, how she kept us in stitches!), and us.  So many more.  After a breakfast table that groaned under the good things laden on it, the day might find some work in the garden (I even remember helping Aunt Emma weed once - not a successful venture.  Turned into rock collecting instead), snapping green beans on the back porch of an afternoon, all the family and whoever else showed up gathered around the huge dining room table, and Uncle Jim praying:  "Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all Thy mercies and make us ever mindful of the needs of others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."  My family never felt constrained with "don't talk with food in your mouth."  Talking was just fine!  A habit that Cindi has mostly - almost - broken me of.  And the laughter around that table!  I can hear it still.  My grandfather had the odd habit of not asking for a dish, but wiggling his finger at it - that way, the conversation wasn't interrupted.  I do the same to this day.  I usually ate in the kitchen with my cousin George, because I was a bit shy of all those people!  After dinner and cleanup, then the folks would make their way to the screened porch and the conversation and laughter would continue.  My mom had her spot on the swing and we'd sit and listen and talk and laugh as the sun set and the song of the whippoorwill's began.  Sigh.  Summer in the country.  And now the house stands so silent and empty.  But I like to think we've carried a piece of that heritage onward with us here.  No whippoorwill, but we will certainly feast together and laugh and then play cards as the evening shadows fall.

1 comment:

Emily Cook said...

I am from a home like this and aspire to build a home like this.
6 kids... off to a good start. Our dinners remind me of our family celebrations with 19 cousins.

Now to learn how to keep the doors open and be ready to host those who pass by.