Speaking Of Empty Chairs…

No, this is not a political post.  I promise.

Ever have one of those reflective days?  Today was one of those days for me.  I tried to think back to my most vivid memories.  They all had something in common.  Food.

First, being part Asian, food is a big part of my social culture.  We try to feed everybody.  Or so it seemed to me growing up.  I associate food with welcome and friendship.  With family and laughter and togetherness.

I remember my family sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner my younger sister’s senior year in high school.  Somehow that conversation got away from us.  We wound up talking about putting a mare in heat between two stallions and the consequences.  My sister had seen that for the first time at one of her friend’s dressage competitions.  She thought something was wrong with the mare.  LOL!  Her friend had to re-explain the facts of life to her…well, as it pertains to horses.  And then she went looking for pennies to put in the water.  I guess copper can help counteract that response.  From there, it spiralled into the size of a Hump Back whale’s “unit”.  Because apparently it’s as big as several football fields.  My step-dad had been watching the Discovery channel earlier that week and felt the need to share since we were on the topic.  Of course none of these topics caused the bout of hysterical laughter that my sister’s final comment did.  “Um…Guys?  For my English assignment I’m supposed to write about what we talked about at Thanksgiving dinner.  I think I might have to lie.”

I could go on and on about stories like this.  Stories that build our family.  When we were younger they helped build our values.  They let us know we were important.  It was a time where we told our parents about how our day went.  We were assigned chores (how to set a table, how to clear it, how to do dishes, even how to cook) and learned responsibility.  We got to dream our dreams and share them.  It was time for family.  And friends were always welcome.

I think back to those times and wonder who I would be if I’d never had that time.  How much would it have changed who I am?  And then I think of many of the kids today.  So many dinner tables are left empty.  Many of them don’t know what it’s like to have a family dinner except for special occassions.  They’re left to fend for themselves.  It’s got to be rough for many of the parents that are prevented from sharing this time because they have to work.  But even more, it’s sad for those kids.  As for the parents who just choose to be absent?  Well, one day they’ll realize what they’re missing and want to change it.  Most of the time, by then, it’s too little, too late.

When you think back to your youth…what do you remember fondly?  How did it impact you as a person?  Is it something that still continues today?

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7 thoughts on “Speaking Of Empty Chairs…

  1. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches. says:

    Home–That place where no matter what you do or who you become–you’re always welcome and loved unconditionally. That place where telephones didn’t ring during the dinner hour, the television was off, and there was extra food for friends. What I was taught all those years ago – those values of the family teaching by example of what’s acceptable and what’s not – that’s now how it is at my house. My house has become home.

  2. amadiex says:

    My dinner table has been empty since I tried to make your wonderful chicken….yeah it was comical watching people eat my version of it…..somehow no one asked for seconds! LOL!!

  3. Mae Clair says:

    I’m half Italian and Italians love to gather at dinner tables, share stories, laughter and good food. It’s how I grew up (sounds like you did too, Kitt). I got a kick out of your sister’s concern about her Thanksgiving report, LOL. That would have made for some interesting reading! 😀

    To this day, whenever my family gathers for a party, we gather in the kitchen, around the table, munch, have wine and talk. Italians don’t ‘discuss.’ We talk over one another with a half-dozen conversations happening at once. It’s like a smorgasbord, and you hop from one conversation to the next, picking out the pieces you want.

    As a child, I remember dinner being for family and sharing about your day. Those were such delightful times. What a great post, Kitt. I love the memories it brought back.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Mae, we really DO have a lot in common. I’m half Filipino, and everything always starts in the kitchen with us, too… (mom is a lightweight, so no wine).

      I married a half Italian, so being with his family is just like you described. I fit right in. :-).

      I’m glad this brought up such fond memories.

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