At the kitchen table

We did our homework

While my mother stood at the ironing board

Ironing our dresses, shirts, pants, blouses, and skirts.

At the kitchen table

We listened to the Crosley radio

On top of the refrigerator

While the Lone Ranger, Amos & Andy,

Our Miss Brooks and many others

Filled our minds with images.

At the kitchen table

I learned all my times tables,

And how to type on a standard Underwood typewriter

Using two fingers,

Until I got in high school

And learned to type

Using all ten fingers.

At the kitchen table

We created homemade Christmas ornaments

Out of walnut shells and the caps to milk bottles.

At the kitchen table

We had dinner every night

At 6 O clock sharp

My mother on the left end of the table and my father

On the right.

I sat at my mother’s right,

On the end of the left side of the table

Because I was left handed.

My brothers sat across from me

And Billy spilled his milk

Until we were all forbidden to have any milk

Until after dinner.

At the kitchen table

 We said grace

And prayed for the soldiers in Korea

And my brother at St Francis Seminary

Where he only lasted a year –

But the prayers continued nonetheless

Because once started,

My father couldn’t stop.

We said Our Fathers

And Hail Marys

And Glory Be’s

Until our dinner was almost cold.

At the kitchen table

We were first and foremost

A family

Even though

Sometimes I didn’t like the entrée

And sat

At the kitchen table

For hours

Staring at cold unappetizing hasenpheffer

Or mom’s slimy boiled cabbage

Or whatever it was

That I didn’t like.

It was also

At the kitchen table

That my brothers Biff & Bill

Started a fire which burned a hole

In the oilcloth tablecloth

Until someone put out the fire.

It was at the kitchen table

That my parents

And their friends

Played cards

And ate bowls of chili

And drank cups of coffee.

It was at the kitchen table

Where there was a meeting

Of the minds.

And sometimes


Sandra Lee Smith

Originally posted MAY 16 2009




2 responses to “AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

  1. I really enjoyed reading this tonight. My family and I sat down to eat at the kitchen table almost every night for dinner. You know… Alot of people do not do this anymore. It saddens me. Half of the time familys don’t even sit in the same room together. Sitting down together for dinner together may be the only time a day a family can communicate about their day and what’s going on. We live in a fast paced, busy life. It’s time we slow down and sit down together at a table with our familys and turn off all the phones and gadgets and just talk. Maybe … We would enjoy it.

    • Gena, thanks for writing. I agree. I raised four sons and we all ate at the table at night usually around 6 O clock. My sons – and their friends – all knew that anyone THERE at dinnertime would be invited to stay. It was easy enough to peel another potato or two and make some extra garlic bread. My husband’s friends also “just happened to drop in” around dinner time – no one was ever turned away. And we ATE at the table and we TALKED during dinner. Of my four sons, I know that the youngest and his wife & children sit down at the table together for dinner. I really miss those days. – Sandy

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