Friday, November 26, 2010

Dining Room Table

I was remembering family dinners from long ago while I munched with my family today. Both my parents and grandparents had relatively small dining rooms that we all crammed into when more of the family was in town. What was usually a catch-all for our daily junk and paperwork transformed into the groaning board with happy relatives crammed in, elbow to elbow, seat backs nearly touching the walls.

Once you got assigned your seat you were pretty much in for the duration. Only those close to the exits had any options for movement. So you just stayed there, sandwiched in between uncles and cousins while grandma and one or two others kept the table stocked.

When I was small it was like visiting a mountain range after seeing it in a textbook. Faces usually only seen plastered across the door of the fridge suddenly loomed large, familiar yet slightly strange. Uncle Dave in a different shirt, Aunt Sally's hair a little longer, the cousins all a little taller. Somehow the lighting seemed warmer at those times, the furniture nicer. I remember how it would take my little kid perspective and skew it all around into something magical and memorable.