The Kitchen Table
Good morning and come on in for the coffee is hot and the air conditioning is on. We are experiencing summer in the the South and it is hot even in the early morning but I am not complaining. I love the summer, heat, humidity and all, so come on in for a visit.
It was interesting last week when I heard an interview on how to encourage positive interaction between family members, some of the suggestions which were given by the "experts." In other words, they were suggesting ways to get family members to talk to each other and one of the suggestions was to have family meals at least once a day. Well, hello, we've been knowing that for years for the kitchen table was and is the center of our family for generations.
As we were growing up, the kitchen table was the place where most communication between the family and visitors took place. The kitchen is on the front of the house and one of the two main entrances was into the kitchen and everything began there. The table was where we dumped everything as we came in and then we looked for food. I can hear mama saying now, "Put your books, coats, toys, and various other objects in your room" for our table quickly became covered with everything but food. It was the place we put everything in our hands so we get something that mama had cooked.
It was the place where our days began and ended for we always had 3 hot meals together. Breakfast, dinner and supper were prepared by mama every day and it was all served at the kitchen table with all of the family and anyone else in the house present. It was not optional and it was eaten with great enjoyment for it was always good. The only added element was the radio playing softly in the background sometimes but not always and we would talk and talk.
In the mornings, we would discuss what we were going to be doing during the day. If it was during the school year we had to assure mama that homework was completed, review spelling words, and make sure we had our lunch money if it was on Monday. The day would be planned as we ate the delicious, hot, breakfast mama had prepared and Daddy always said we had to eat our grits for they are "brain food" and we did.
Dinner was our big meal of the day even if we were in school for mama cooked her main meal for noon. Whoever was at the house at noon time would have a big meal of great food and much conversation. Daddy would bring home whoever was in his office and mama never seemed to mind for we didn't have a phone and daddy would just show up with another person or 2. As I look back, I bet mama would grit her teeth, count to ten, and smile but want to kill him sometimes for she would think it wasn't good enough for company. I can tell you from experience that whatever she had cooked was good and plentiful. The food would be delicious and conversation would flow and it would be difficult to leave the table and if we were not pressed for time, we would sit there for and hour or more just eating and talking and talking and eating and talking some more.
Supper would be leftovers but that was OK for the leftovers were as good as the "first overs." It was just the dinner meal reheated and added to and plentiful and delicious as always. Occasionally we would have something special but whatever it was it would be accompanied by conversation. The day was reviewed and we would share with each other all the event of the day and eat, talk and eat, and sit there for a couple of hours sometimes. Communication flowed freely and then the table was cleared, coffee or another glass of tea of milk was poured and we would listen to the radio or play games, read, put puzzles together or a million other activities. The kitchen table was the center of our activities together for didn't have TV or other mind grabbing electronics to steal our family time.
The last activity of the day would be our daily Bible reading and prayer time and it was often be done at this table too. Daddy would read the daily Bible reading and the comments from the Open Window, we would each pray and off to bed. Often mama and daddy would stay at the table and mama would sew while daddy read the paper or they listened to the radio.
That table was the center of our family and as we married and would bring our families home, it stayed the center of the family and still is when we all get together. We can still sense mama and daddy sitting at that table and I know they are looking down and smiling at the togetherness which still flows around the same table.
From experience with my family I would urge that you have at least one meal a day sitting around a table with TV and other electronic toys shut off, ear plugs out, cell phones shut off and in another room and eat and talk. It is amazing how much you can share with each other when not distracted by "electronic" mind grabbers and sharing your thoughts, joys, tears, laughter and dreams will help a family stay connected and healthy. The meal doesn't have to be fancy, can be deli bought, sandwich or take out or heaven's forbid, actually cooked by a family member but eat together and see what happens. As my brothers used to say, "I double-dog dare you" and let me know what happens.
It is special place and I hope you have a "kitchen table" at your house, we do.
The Georgia Peach
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