A friend with whom I share frequent emails remarked that our email chats feel like coffee and conversation at the kitchen table. Which, of course, got me to thinking about life at the kitchen table.
Growing up, everyone in my family was expected to be seated at the kitchen table at 6 P.M., hands and faces washed, ready for supper. We actually talked to one another. Of course, there were no cell phones then. We talked about Dad's day at work, about our days at school, about what Mother had done that day. We talked about Mother's phone conversation with her sister, about the letter from Grandma and about what we would like to do on the weekend. There was never a time when there was nothing to talk about...until Dad brought home a set of TV trays and then supper at the kitchen table faded off into memory.
Before my family had a TV set, the evening entertainment was often held around the kitchen table. A radio often played in the background while rousing card games of Rook, Old Maid and Go Fish were played. Sometimes board games were brought out and we would challenge each other to Sorry or Parcheesi or Yahtzee. The older ones often played Scrabble and many years later my Dad could be found playing the game in Mothers' room at the nursing home. Mother nearly always won and Dad nearly always, with a twinkle in his eye, accused her of cheating. :)
In rural Minnesota, neighbors often dropped in for a visit, which always took place with coffee at the kitchen table. And in rural Minnesota, it is almost a sin not to have cookies or brownies or cake to go with the coffee. I would save the plastic buckets that ice cream came in and fill them with cookies and freeze them, just so I would have something sweet to go with coffee.
The kitchen table at my Grandmother's house was the scene of several two-day Monopoly games between my cousin and me. And when it was time to leave after a weekend visit with Grandma, both of us would argue that we could have won, given another day.
Homework these days is mostly done on a computer, but way back then, workbooks, three-ring binders, lined paper and pencils were the tools used and nobody had a desk. The kitchen table worked just fine for solving math problems and writing book reports. And Mother was conveniently close at hand to help if needed.
Once in a while, usually on those long, cold winter nights in Minnesota, someone would commandeer the kitchen table with a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, leaving the family to its own devices for meals and homework. Every now and then, someone would sit at the table and fit more puzzle pieces together and after a few days, it would be complete. We would have to admire the completed puzzle for a day and then the kitchen table was back for business as usual.
Even now when my family gets together, the conversation is best around the kitchen table. When my kids or grands stop in, we sit at my kitchen table and talk. Sometimes I think this silly little blog is kind of like sitting with friends at the kitchen table, preferably with a cup of coffee. I write about something and you all chime in with comments. That has the feel of kitchen table conversation to me.
I sort of feel sorry for those who don't take the time to join others around a kitchen table. Our busy, hectic, crazy world could use more kitchen table time.
What Would They Have to Say?
4 hours ago