Sunday dinners are one of my top 100 "good things." There is nothing quite like coming in the door after church and smelling the roast, or meatloaf, or lasagna, or chicken in their final minutes of cooking. It's like a congratulatory nose high-five for making it through three hours of church and its attendant responsibilities -- keeping a toddler contained, a baby quiet, a lesson taught, a talk given, a withdrawn teenager involved, a song sung, or usually a combination of them all. The oven says, "Well done church-goer, welcome home."
|Joe, Zeph, Ray, Calvin, Henry, and Abe waiting for the final touches of |
Sunday dinner while watching the final minute of a bb game.
On Sunday, Calvin and I made a quick trip to Seattle to see Joe, Ande, and Zeph who were there for a friend's wedding. As the family sat around Ray and Cali's dining room table I thought of what a familiar sight and routine Sunday dinners are . . . and how I never grow tired of them.
We started the meal off with "cheers." Ray and Abe always include a toast at family gatherings. Yesterday's topic was "something we look forward to in Spring." It's always fun to hear what is on others' minds -- new life, baby calves, chicks, and pigs, being outside, strawberries that taste like strawberries, working in the garden, the sun, birthdays, Easter, Hope -- and clinking goblets around the table. My favorite part yesterday was watching Levin with his plastic cup and over-sized bib. It's hard to ration sparkling lemonade to nine individual sips when you're two years old, but by the last couple of toasts he knew to excitedly raise his cup because it meant one more sip. When the last toast was made he cried for "more cheers," interpreted as more lemonade. Seeing his enthusiasm I expect he'll carry on the tradition of his father and uncle.
I was in charge of the dinner yesterday and it wasn't fancy, in fact it wasn't even very good, but it didn't matter. It was the fact that we were together and investing in family and each other. After dinner Abe, Grace, and Henry had to get back home. Calvin, Zeph, and Levin went to the bedrooms to take naps, Joe and Ray fell asleep on the family room rug and couch, and Cali, Ande, Atlas, and I visited at their feet. When everyone woke up we ate a wonderful blackberry bread pudding that Cali and Ande had made for dessert (perhaps the most important course in Sunday dinner).
The day was satisfying on many levels.
Today in class my high-school students all told of one of their favorite family activities. There were some pretty fun things shared -- trips to Yellowstone, Hawaii, Disneyland, a cruise to the Bahamas, camping. As the kids told their memories, I remembered several great experiences our family has had. But when it was my turn to share a favorite family activity I said, "Sitting around the table each night to eat supper and eating Sunday dinner together." When it boiled down to it, I found that simple tradition, repeated over and over, actually trumped the other memories.
One young man said he didn't like being with his family (it is a pretty contentious lot) and he does everything he can to avoid being with them when they're together. His experience provided a stark contrast for those who do have good family memories.
Here's to Sunday dinner. And supper together. And families that like each other. Clink.
*If you'd have been eating with us, what would your toast to Spring have been?