Or Why I've been obsessing about food!
As I said, Dad would walk in the door around 530 and within a short time the family would be seated at the dinner table to share the meal together.
This is how we arrived at the dinner table. For as long as I can remember, the Gang of Three (me and my two “Irish Twin” brothers) had chores that were appointed due to sex! I had to peel the potatoes and set the table. My bro T. cleared the table, I washed dishes, T & N dried said dishes and put away, N. took out garbage. I argued until I was “blue in the face” (one of my Mothers favorite sayings) that this was unfair! (I was a feminist from the get-go!) Just because I was a girl, I had the hardest task (dishes) and the most tasks compared to the boys. I was ignored and suffered in sneering and muttering mountains of dirty dishes and sudsy water as our family grew.
Sitting at the table my Dad would say grace, “Bless us O Lord for these thy gifts as we are about to receive from thy bounty thru Christ our Lord Amen” “Amen!” And he would begin to pass the food to his left, to my Mom. We may as well have had assigned seats, as they never varied. I sat next to N., T. was across from him next to Mom and the baby sat in the high chair. T. was generally strapped into his seat with a belt as his tendency was to slide out of his chair and hide under the table, especially when it came to eating mash potatoes. He hated them and made retching sounds, as if he were gagging and going to throw up accompanied by the most incredible faces while being forced to take a few mouthfuls.
As captivating as that sounds, it was not the main source of entertainment. Dad would ask each of us how our day went (“Fine”) what did we do at school (“Nothing”) and then begin his nightly routine with us kids…
“What is the capital of New York?”
“How do you spell prestidigitator?” (This is how my brother N. began my Fathers eulogy last February.)
And so on and so forth. Until T. finished his mashed potatoes because you always asked to be excused from the table and if T. had not choked down his tablespoon of potatoes, we all suffered.
Then it was the clearing of the table, the agreement on the one solitary tv show we were allowed to watch, Dad would kick back in his lazy boy and watch “Maverick” or “Wagon Train” or “The Rifleman”…oh how he loved Cowboy shows! I’d wait until physically threatened and then drag myself into the kitchen to begin the dreaded clean up.
And it would all begin anew the next evening. Family Time.