I was discussing this with a friend the other day (yes, I have them. Other people can see them too), and I thought it would make a great topic for a blog, and a bit of a departure from the nonsensical stuff I have posted the past couple of days. So, in honor of my versatility and penchant for being a modern-day Everyman, here we go.
In my house growing up, we had something called a dining room table. Well, more appropriately, we had a kitchen table that we would eat every meal at together as a family. Our kitchen was quite spacious, so the room that was allocated as a dining room when the house was built, became dad’s study/room to store junk/hide from us even though it had no doors to keep us out or prevent us from seeing him. But in the corner of our kitchen, opposite the stove and separated by a half-wall to the dining room/dad’s new study, stood a kitchen table with 6 chairs. For a family of 5, it meant that one of my imaginary friends could join us (although like me, none of them was particularly fond of brussel sprouts back then).
And it was at this table where we would sit around and talk. Sometimes with our mouths full, sometimes not, but we would sit as a family and talk. During the day, no one would be at home so lunch wasn’t really an issue. And on weekends, we’d either all be out or we’d just snack. However, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, sometimes both, mum would prepare something beautiful called a “Full English” breakfast (sadly we couldn’t get the real English thick-cut bacon though). We’d have bacon, eggs, fried tomatoes and fried bread. Baked beans were a necessity. Mum would also do mushrooms as well. Yes, your arteries have just hardened reading that. But deal with it. You could get hit by a meteorite the next time you and your lover are watching the stars in the park at night. I’m just saying.
Both my parents worked. My older sister was involved in horse riding when she was younger (actually still rides horses today), and I was usually at a soccer or ice hockey practice or game. But in those days, I could digest a meal in an hour so I’d normally eat before a game. My little sister did this, that, and the other too. And pretty much every night, we’d have a home cooked meal and sit around the kitchen table. Mum would get from work and set about cooking dinner. We’d pretend to do homework, dad would read the paper, and when mum called us for dinner, we’d go into the kitchen. The television would be on in the living room, and I sat so I could see the most of it. But that wasn’t enough. This was well before the days of 60” flat screens you could see from the neighboring town. And I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until my plate was clean (granted, I did clog the toilet a few times trying to flush food down it I didn’t particularly like). You have no idea how quickly you can clean a plate of food if you want to watch the hockey game! Seconds really. Especially if you like what’s on offer.
And as we got older and moved away, the kitchen table became more of a decorative piece. Until Sunday. On Sunday we’d all show up back at our home away from our own homes and have Sunday dinner and catch up on the activities of the week. It’s just the way it was. But I’m wondering … does anyone still use the kitchen or dining room table on a regular basis?
I live alone and rarely have people over for dinner. I have a dinner table, but most nights I’ll eat at the coffee table while I’m camped on the couch. I say most nights as some nights I just don’t eat or don’t eat at home. I lost a bet during the world cup and had to cook for a friend. We sat at the dinner table. I even put out placemats and everything.
The kitchen table in my house growing up played as big a part on who I became as any education I received, any sports I played, or any other experience that has shaped me. I learned to communicate, I learned to live with my stutter, and I learned who my family really was. We could laugh. We could cry. Mum, didn’t like it when we cursed though. And a normal 30 minute dinner would take us an hour as most nights we were all crying from laughing so much. While I’m happy to sit in front of my tv and have dinner by myself now; I can’t imagine doing that when I was growing up. It just wouldn’t seem right somehow.