11/28/2005

Maybe we're ragged or funny

Even though our family wasn't rich we had great holidays. Oh, I know - everyone says, "Back when I was a kid..." or "...When I was younger.." It was better, worse, harder, slower, faster, whatever. Mostly claiming the way things were done "back then"were better. Like Holidays. It's not always true but things are new and fresh to children and seem more vivid, I believe. That may be what makes them seem better.

When I was a kid holiday meals were always at the grand parents place or the great grands. We had one for each side of the family. Two huge celebrations of the season filled with belts, waist lines, skirts, slacks and shoes of aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles and the faces of our cousins (we were short then).

For my father's family we had tables and counters and end tables full of food that scented the air with tempting aromas. In the kitchen it was SRO with cooks. The oven and stove were on full time with last minute dishes still being prepared. Little kids were delegated to haul stuff to the tables or fetch last minute ingredients while the cooks stirred on.

The ambient temperature in the house was 100 degrees from the cooking and the bodies crammed into too little space. The furnace would never run after the first hour. Men's jackets and ties were off and, with the ladies sweaters, littered the backs of every available chair as the coats piled on the bed reached the ceiling and there was no more room there, except the top corner where the babies were changed.

We were always early to visit with those we hadn't seen since last year. With empty tummies growling all around us in anticipation, conversation levels well into the "shout to be heard" range and a football game on the TV ear plugs might have been a good idea. There was no thinking, you couldn't hear yourself to do any..LOL!

The "kids" always had their own table and I was the oldest so it was my job to clean up spills, stop food fights and maintain a semblance of order. Most of the time it was ok. All the cousins and 2nd and 3rd cousins got along and liked each other but we were a bunch of scamps. Pigtail pulling, devil horns during photographs, stuffing a cookie in a pocket for later from your neighbor's plate, and other food snatching entertainments along with the occasional chair pulled out from under the person attempting to sit down were pretty prevalent. I was doing well if I could just keep them quiet during the blessing.

And it was good. The fun, football, food and family were the elements of a day to remember.

On my mother's side things were a little more toned down. There were not as many of us there so the heat and noise levels were lower. There was just as much and just as good food prepared in the same friendly and slightly over crowded kitchen way. There were fewer cousins and if my uncle didn't bring his family there were just the five of us for the "kids table" which, of course, was still created to make enough seating for everyone.

We kids would help set the table, just so, with all the best china and the silver from the big box in the sideboard. Then we would go watch the parade or a movie until it was time to eat. Mom and Grama would finish putting out the food, the call to dinner would sound out and we all sat quietly while grama gave thanks for all of us.

After the final crumb was eaten the female kids and the ladies in both families would clear away the dishes and package up the leftovers then do the dishes up and put them away while the men watched sports or a movie and visited.

And there was the bone in my craw. I thought that it was totally unfair that the men and boys didn't help. I would sneak off with the guys every chance I got. I'd find a spot on the floor beside a handy set of knees and watch the TV with them. Mom would notice me missing and send a sister to find me. I would ignore my name call but the creepy cousins would point me out and I would have to go back to the "girl chores". I swore in my youth that this would change when I had my own home. I kept that oath!

For that story go to the other blog.

Comments: 2 Comments:
At 2/12/05 12:21 PM, Blogger No_Newz said...

In honor of you this year Mr. Lane and Lane 1 will do all of the dishes and all of the "girl chores" Lane 2 and I will be watching TV. LOL!
I loved the bike story Crash. Soul sisters R us!
It's my blog's birthday tomorrow. I'll be 1 year old. Please stop by for a slice of cake. :)
Have a great weekend!
Lois Lane

 
At 3/12/05 12:05 PM, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Always glad to spread cheer at the holidays, lol. Just remember, we all helped. Not fair to stick the guys with it all, either!

Will be seeing you around! Link coming soon.

 

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