Sunday, September 4, 2011
Eat, Talk, and Talk Some More
When I was growing up, both of my parents worked for a living. During the week, no matter how tired my mom was, we almost always had a sit down supper. The stopping for take out food was so rare, I barely even remember it.
Breakfast before school was cereal of some kind, and a nasty chewable vitamin. I ate the cereal and tossed the vitamin to the base of the old pecan tree in our back yard. That tree should live to be a million years old. Saturday mornings were pretty causal for breakfast too, as that was yard and house cleaning day.
Sunday morning breakfast. Now that was a big deal. Whether we all sat down together any other time or not, we sat down together on Sunday mornings. Both my Mama and my Daddy were great cooks, so it alternated who would be the chef each week. We would have all kinds of different variations of breakfast. My Daddy liked to cook fried eggs, bacon and real cut up french fried potatoes. I believe my Mama's favorite was oatmeal , the real kind, not that one minute box mess, with condensed milk and sugar added in and pattied sausage.
My Daddy was never one for table chitter chatter, but on Sunday mornings, we were allowed to talk a little bit. And when I use the word 'allowed' that's what I mean. Food tables when I was growing up were for eating, not talking. Weekday supper times, he was tired from his day and there was usually NO talking. And of course absolutely no laughing allowed. Which was always invariably when, I would get a fit of the giggles for one reason or another. Which rarely turned out good for me.
Times change. Or maybe just people change and/or are different. But my eating tables have always been the place to unite. The place for us to talk about what we're going to do today, what we did today, and any major subjects that happen to be the topic of that time. There are no limits set for laughter. As a matter fact, after my hard days at work, I welcome the jokes and laughter. I welcome the diversion from the daily grind.
Sunday morning breakfast in our house, is the best meal of all. We're all rested from the week behind us, our Saturday's of yard work and house work are done, and we've had a good night's rest with a little sleep in time to boot. I cook a big meal and we all sit down together. This morning I cooked oatmeal and pattied sausage for me and Zach, and fried eggs, pattied sausage and toast for Mims. As I watched Zach eat his oatmeal, the thoughts of years ago started rolling though my mind.
As he took his spoon and ran it around the edge of the oatmeal on his plate, I remembered teaching him how to do that when he was a little boy, and the oatmeal was too hot to eat from the middle. Because as my Mama had taught me, the edges were cooler, so take your spoon like a train and go around the edges as you ate.
Our conversation rolled and rolled. Zach has been sick for a few days and he slept a great deal yesterday evening after his work day was done. Got up for a little while last night, and went right back to bed around 10:30 and slept until 10am this morning. His daddy was asking him how in the heck he slept so much. I said he needed it, and Zach barely looking up from his plate, as he was winding his spoon around the outer edges of the oatmeal said, "by shutting my mouth and closing my eyes". We all busted out laughing, as Mims words came right back to him, just ....that....quick. We talked about the flooding rains that were surely coming today and whether he had any business riding the roads, because he was asking to go to Matt's today to hang out.
The breakfast dishes are done, his bed has been made, and he's on his way to Matt's now, with the promise of a call once he gets there. Because it is indeed, flooding rain. I believe in family meals. I believe in talk and laughter at the table. And for the nights I am just too tired or my mouth has run out of words, I still love listening to Zach's chatter about his rougher than usual football practices, the crazy chemistry experiments, the new boy named Tom he tagged with the nickname Penutt (spelled wrong on purpose he says), something funny Andy "Tater" Taylor said, and what he thinks is making his truck make that weird sound.
Cherish those time folks. Cherish the good food we can afford to eat and the good times we must afford to spend with our loved ones. Whoever they are, your kids if they are still at home, or your spouse, if everyone else is gone and scattered. Don't lose yourselves in silence and call it comfortable. Taking the time to make conversation is taking the time to show your interest and love. And we all want to know, that what we have to say and how we feel, is something someone is waiting to hear.