I remember when growing up at my aunt and uncle’s
farm eating there on Sunday. The table would be pulled
out and the leaves would be inserted for the family that
would be there. Oftentimes the minister from the Church
would eat with us. The men when they entered the home
would take their hats off and hang them up by the door.
All would wash their hands and sit at their designated place.
My uncle would sit at the head of the table, his wife at the
opposite end. The best dishes were used every Sunday along
with the best silverware. During the hot, dusty summer,
the dishes might be turned upside down to protect them
from the dust and flies, as this was before air-conditioning.
Sometimes if the meals were served and my aunt was not
ready to eat, the plates would be covered with a clean
Everyone sat upright, no elbows on the table, when my
aunt entered the room everyone stood up, it was expected.
She was being honored. My uncle would either say Grace
or ask someone to say Grace. After the prayer was
concluded he would take the first dish of food and put some
on his plate and pass it to his right, and on it would go.
Usually the elders would sit to his right with the children
being the last served. This was normal and there were no
At the table people discussed family events, church
events, school happenings, matters of consequence. Never
was there a heated discussion, and always proper manners
were in place. When finished eating, you asked for
permission to be excused from the table and you cleaned
your mouth with a real napkin. You politely removed
yourself, and put your chair back into place. The women
would clear the table and do dishes while the men would
retire and discuss matters for menfolk. The children would
go outside and play. The table would be put back in it’s
place until it was used again.
When did the table lose it’s place in our family? Or is
the better question when did our family lose it’s table?
When did manners fade away? When did respect of
our Elders dissolve? Do you pray before receiving your
food? Do you bless your food? Do have your family time?
Does what I describe to you sound like a better way of life,
of living? Take the time. Start at home. Home…what a beautiful
word. Think about this…. The Lord gave us Hope with His
Last Supper at the Table. Commune with your family.