Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Yesterday, my good friend/neighbour Lori shared with me that her family eats Sunday dinner in their dining room. This is something we used to do, but had strayed away from once Lauren came along. In thinking it through, it's kind of strange how we have a perfectly good room in our house but we really don't use it as a family, other than for special occasions. In a way, the dining room has become my quiet space where I read, meditate, and write. And our cat, Coco, treats the dining room like every other room in the house - her personal lounge.

Really, it makes no sense to make the room unofficially off-limits. Who are we saving it for? Company? How often do they come - once a month? And while we're thinking about it, how about the 'good' dishes. And the 'good' towels. 'Special' clothes? All that stuff? I realized that by saving things for others and not making use of them myself or with my family, then the message I'm sending myself and to those nearest and dearest is not very nice. Undeserving? Not good enough? Perhaps too messy and likely to spill/wreck something?

All that went out the window a few weeks ago at Thanksgiving when we had a bit of a large-scale red-wine incident involving white dining room chairs and beige carpeting. But I managed to clean it up and although one chair is a tiny bit greyish now, it's become a funny story in both the fabric of our lives and that of our dining room. In the midst of blotting the wine, I found myself to be surprisingly calm about the whole thing. My mom remarked about it and I responded, "You know, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. Everyone's here, we're all healthy, and people are way more important than things." Perhaps I'd consumed too much wine to be concerned about the spillage but I suspect it was more likely that recent events in my life (including the sudden and unexpected death of a friend just days before) had wiped the bullshit out of my eyes to help me focus on what really mattered. At any rate, some sort of wisdom came from my mouth, be it wine wisdom or my own.

So here we are - the final waning days of Autumn, poised on the brink of that grey zone between Halloween and Christmas. Everyone who knows me knows how much I hate the next few upcoming weeks. Bare trees, grey skys, wind, and bleakness as we brace ourselves for Winter. I've taken Lori's reminder to heart and am getting set for Sunday dinner. A small ham and a new recipe  for cheesy scalloped potatoes & carrots (courtesy of the Kraft Canada "What's Cooking" magazine) are in the oven and the table is set. We're going to eat in the dining room and we're using good dishes. We'll use the set inherited from my Uncle Bill and Aunt Marion, which make me happy and a little bit sentimental, like memories of Summer this time of year.

When we gather around the table in the dining room, I know I'll be asked, "What's up? Why in here? And the good dishes?" And I'll say, "Just because." And I'll know it's because we're deserving and we're worth it. And if a little wine gets spilled, let's just hope more remains in the glass than on the carpet. Cheers!

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