“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”–Samuel Pepys (1633-1703)
But it was so much more than that.
I remember the day we sold it at a garage sale. I don’t recall the price we asked for it. It doesn’t really matter what the amount was. To me it was priceless. I sat and watched as the new owners took away and I hoped they’d make as many happy memories at it, as we did. I sat there and cried. My family looked at me like I was kook. I simply said, it was like a part of our family was being taken away.
I thought of Grandma Georgia and Grandpa Hap. They were the original Edith and Archie Bunker. Grandma had a heart of gold. She lived to nurture us. Feed us. Love us. She did all of those things at that table. Grandpa was kind of a bigot, but he meant well. He had a wicked sense of humor. And they both had the best laughs. Grandpa had the gift of gab, was a gossip and chased fire trucks. He always gave me the young celery hearts with the leaves intact, because he knew they were my favorite. I would eat them, leaves and all. Of course they had to be dipped in Grandma’s famous veggie dip. Yes it was homemade, and no she wouldn’t tell you the recipe.
Grandma’s homemade noodles were to die for. And her rolled roast beef was always succulent. My Dad always ruined it by drowning it in ketchup. She loved her only son though, so she always indulged him. Especially when it came to her homemade cheesecake. Dad would cut and serve all the pieces, saving the one with all the maraschino cherries for himself. We always harassed him about it. He didn’t care though. He got the piece he wanted.
Grandma’s mashed potatoes. Oh my God they were a bit of Heaven. She whipped them in an original Kitchenaide Mixer. With salt, whole milk and real butter. Sis and I would take black olives and stuff them on our fingers. We then shoved them in the mashed potatoes that were drowned in homemade beef gravy. Don’t ask me why we did it, we just did.
As Grandma Georgia got older, we would supplement the meal to help her out. I did my very best to relish those last few meals that she cooked on her own. At least I tried to. You never know how much you miss something till it’s gone. Just like that old table. I have the memories of Grandma and Grandpa, wonderful meals, laughter, stories and the closeness of family. I hope the family that has the table now thinks about the history of it, every once in awhile.