Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eating together on Family Day

Today fast-food services and TV dinners have made common meals less and less central. But what will there be to remember when we no longer come together around the table to share a meal? Maybe we will have fewer painful memories, but will we have any joyful ones? Can we make the table a hospitable place, inviting us to kindness, gentleness, joy, and peace and creating beautiful memories? 
--Henri Nouwen
Yesterday we celebrated "Family Day," our annual February winter long weekend in Alberta. We're still pretty good about doing things as a family most weekends... but it was nice to see other families out and about together. Lee and I got quite a charge out of the folks gathered at the petting zoo at Bonnie Doon Mall. One poor little tot put her fingers through the wire fence, and a Shetland pony must have thought they were little carrots... nibble nibble, followed by toddler scream. Skin wasn't broken, thank heavens! But the child will think twice about approaching large furry creatures fingers-first in the future.

Our usual Family Day activity up until now has been skating at the Victoria Oval. Unfortunately, with my dizzy head, skating is not doable as a complete family unit. After all the excitement of the Canadian Improv Games on Sunday, my girls needed the day to get homework done anyway. So my hubby decided that this Family Day, we would have a reverse supper instead... you know, dessert before the main course, etc.

So at five o'clock, we headed to Whyte Avenue's Marble Slab Creamery, and spent an outrageous amount of money on some delicious icecream. Then we went home and had supper at seven o'clock... roast beef, mashed potatoes, and tossed garden salad. Our table was a hospitable place, in two places. And it's a Family Day memory that I don't think we'll soon forget. I suspect our youngest will want reverse Family Day dinner every year from here on! It may well become a tradition, and much tastier than a sack of salt...
Aristotle says that to become a friend of someone, you should eat a sack of salt together. Food and love are linked closely.
--Jean Vanier, Living Gently in a Violent World, p. 35 

1 comment:

  1. that's a wonderful custom to have. Even when my kids were home, in the 1980's, many of their friends almost NEVER ate a meal around the table. My kids were with us for three nights one week, four the next (with their mother the other nights), with us alternate weekends. They came home from school to me every day, and when their mom got them, often it was after supper.

    I did make a rule, however. Every Sunday we had dinner together--sometimes that meant at 6 or 7, when their Mom brought them back, or mid afternoon sometimes, when they were with us. And we would have at least ONE dinner during the week.

    Something about facing one another around a table. A time for us all to talk. When their parents had been married, they ate on the run at a long counter... after a year, both kids said they liked it. It took a couple of months for them to get the hang of TALKING and not rushing through dinner.

    Sometimes we got in the habit of extending supper into a movie together.

    It was a challenge, though.

    I LOVE the reverse dinner that you did.


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