Daily Archives: 01.11.2012

At the dinner table.

Kittens, I 11/10 loved Reverb because on the days where I had nothing to say, it gave me the chance to explore something.  Maybe it was something I’d never taken the time to think about, and in some cases it was something that had been on my heart for some time.  I like that idea.  Of picking out and pulling in little parts of my life that won’t always find their way onto the blog.  Because there’s just no context for them.  No smooth way to just leap from one lilypad to the next.

So for the past week or so, I’ve been doing my best to round-up some writing prompts for the days where I just don’t have anything.  The well is dry.  The alternative is some old-school Dear Diary of the highest order.

At the dinner table.

I hope you’ll understand that I’m journeying back to the table at my parents’ house.  At what point you stop calling it that and start calling it your childhood home, I’m not really sure.  But I suspect it has something to do with all of the current occupants no longer residing on the premises.

That is not the case here.

We are inveterate dinner eaters.  Together, all at once.

Even in the busiest points of our lives, we’ve found the time to sit down as one and eat.  To sit down as one and share.

There’s something about this habit that makes it stand out amongst the others, because while so many people try to actively cultivate a space for the family meal, for us it is purely an unconscious act.

To eat at different times or to eat different meals would be simply unfathomable.

It is the most unintentional of intentional acts.

We sit down.  There are placemats and linen napkins that have been corralled with silver napkin rings.

And even though everyone sits in the same place every night, each family member has their name engraved on theirs.

Just in case something changes.

But one of these things is not like the others.  Because one day and without any fanfare, a fifth ring with a golden bow appeared.  That ribbon will probably stay attached to Marcus’ napkin ring until it is totally unrecognizable as a ribbon or has completely disintegrated.

No one has the heart to untie it.  You only get your own napkin ring once.

Sometimes The conversation always veers off the paved road.  If we’re on our best behavior, we make it through the passing of the serving platters around the table.  But most of the time, the transition is abrupt.  Immediate.

Gone is the discussion about Marriage Equality.  The updates on old family friends.  The story about That One Time When Dad Lived In Washington/Hampton/The Philippines.

And suddenly we’re recounting the time that we brought my cancer-ridden hamster, Furball to the Humane Society to be euthanized.  Little did we know it was their annual fundraising pet walk.  We entered the grounds to squeals of That family even brought their hamster!

This unravels directly into the time we were singing hymns at church and the cantor encouraged us to utilize a rubbing motion on our chests to indicate stirring our hearts.  A gesture that was enthusiastically adopted and embraced by the congregation.  At which point the four of us realized that when it was spread across hundreds of people, it read more like the entire congregation was performing a breast cancer monthly self-check rather than a spiritual act.

There was no stirring at all.

From there we end up re-telling the story of how Billy failed his 3rd grade aptitude test so badly that they thought he didn’t know how to read, OR recounting the hard time I did on the boys’ baseball team at the beginning of elementary school.  Mom didn’t know there was a separate team for the girls.

I was a league of my own.

There is a rhythm to this.

We’re haven’t really made it until someone has laughed so hard that they’ve choked on their food.  Then we know that we’ve hit our stride.

But by the time that the tears are streaming down our faces, our plates are empty.  The meal is over.

Yes, we may be excused.

This is the dinner table.

What is your dinner table like?

What is the funniest memory you have from a family meal?