Place At The Table
It was from my place at the
kitchen table that I learned a lot of important things.
of all I learned to sit still. As
a very small child, there were two places
I knew I was expected to sit still and that was at the table and in
had a very small kitchen and the table was barely large enough to
us all and hold some food too, but a lot of living took place around
old kitchen table. Sometimes
we just had sandwiches but that
matter we still ate together at the table.
We each had a place
the table. There was never
any question, when Momma
“Supper’s ready”, we quickly slid into our designated places
the table with no argument between us kids about who would sit where.
place at the table was next to Daddy and my brother sat on the other side
of me. Momma sat across the
table where she could reach other food items or
that we might need. We always
sat in our same places at the table
when we had company, and then sometimes the seating
changed a little to accommodate guests.
did her best to teach us to be polite and courteous and she would
do that by telling stories about the consequences of bad manners.
story she told was about a time when Great Uncle Sike (a nickname for
to visit. It seems Uncle Sike
had just sat down at the supper table when my brother, who was too small
to have learned his manners very well yet,
loudly, “My place!” I
guess Uncle Sike evacuated that chair
no time flat but Momma was just sure that was why Uncle Sike never ate
meal at our table again! I
don’t really think Uncle Sike was all that
but it made a good story for Momma to teach us children
valuable lesson. At any rate,
Uncle Sike must have forgiven my brother
he and Uncle Sike became the best of friends.
in life, they shared a lot of meals together where Uncle Sike
had a place at my brother’s table.
family was very informal during meals, yet it was at the table
we learned good values. We
learned to pray because every
began with prayer. Momma taught us to pray:
thank thee, Lord, for this food, for health and strength
for every good…Amen.”
we grew older we added our own words and petitions but I have
remembered the prayer that Momma taught us.
children we learned to sit still, (Yes,
I know I mentioned that before
it’s because I remember how difficult it was to sit still), and we
taught to mind our manners. Some
of these teachings were:
talk with your mouth full”
carving pictures out of your meat and eat it”
your elbows off the table”
your napkin, not your sleeve”
make smacking noises with your mouth”
blowing bubbles in your milk”
to say please”
say thank you”
leave the table without asking to be excused”
still” (Did I mention that?)
interrupt when someone else is talking”
talk about the dog throwing up or any other disgusting things at the
learned to take responsibility and to work by helping with everything
preparing the meal and setting the table to cleaning up afterward.
taught us how to behave at home so we would know how to
later in public. She also
taught us that we were expected to
to help if we were guests in someone else’s home.
was at my place at the table where I heard a lot of good conversations
everyone had an opportunity to have a turn to talk and make comments.
when I had a family of my own, we each had our places at the table.
child began in the high chair and eventually graduated to a high stool
then on to a regular kitchen chair. The
lessons I learned
up enabled me to know more about how to prepare meals
teach my own children the lessons that I had learned around the table.
I read that 75 per cent of families do not eat meals together anymore.
was a time when families all gathered around the table for all of their
seems that today most people don’t make it to the table for
one meal. Families
often eat in shifts, in front of the television,
grab something while driving through a fast food lane
their way to some activity.
is interesting that statistics show that the children of families who eat
five or more times a week have lower rates of smoking, drinking,
illegal drug use. Teenagers
are also shown to have higher
performance. There is
something to having “a place at the table”.
is a place where we feel loved and accepted and conflicts
often resolved. It is a place where much is learned,
are established, and memories are made.
manufacturers have made mealtime simpler
microwave ovens, dishwashers, and many other appliances,
seem to be missing the most important element at our tables today.
wonder why it is that many children seem more restless,
manners, and are deficient of basic domestic skills.
might just be because something is missing around our own
room tables. We are missing
the people…families… all sitting
the table where each person is given the gift of “a place at the