Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Irish Method."

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day. I got up early was thinking what I might write to honor my grandfather, and decided the best way would be to simply start with a memory. The memory was this: I was probably six, having dinner with my grandparents in their old house on Quaker Lane. Toward the end of the meal my grandfather turned to my brother Mark, who was four, sitting on a stack of phone books, and said: “Our ancestors endured eight hundred years of oppression…and he can’t finish his chicken.”


Let me begin with a confession:

For the first 27 years of my life (pre-Spaces project) I went through life as a Food Wimp. Not just a Food Wimp, but a Closet Food Wimp. I projected a "try anything" attitude, but really I wouldn’t touch a hamburger if there were a dab of mustard on it; I spit shrimp cocktail discreetly into napkins; I forensically inspected my salads for traces of red onion…

Like many of his generation, my grandfather was the opposite. He’d eat his shirt if you stewed it for a few hours, buttons and all. His method of eating (and of living in general, I think) was governed by what I like to call “The Irish Method.” The only way of properly explaining it, I think, is to first recite a yarn I heard one night when I was bartending in Ireland.


Once, on a cold and rainy day, an old priest staggered into a pub. Everyone could see right away that the priest was drenched. His white hair was matted to his forehead and his glasses were fogged and speckled with rain. He was covered from collar to cuff in mud, as if he’d just climbed from a ditch. And, this was the strangest part—he wasn’t wearing any shoes! The old, dripping priest moped across the pub, head down, in a deep and melancholy trance, oblivious to everyone pointing and whispering.

“Whoa there Father!” the barman said. “Yer soaked!”

“Am I?”

The priest looked down and noticed that he was indeed soaked.

“And yer glasses are fogged!”

“Are they?”

“And you’ve lost yer ring?”

“Have I now?”

“And by God, yer not wearing any shoes man!”

“Am I not?” He looked down—and noticed this too was true.

“What’s happened?” the barman asked.

“F----’ Celtic,” he muttered (meaning the soccer club).

And everyone in the pub shook their heads. “F-----’ Celtic!”


It’s your standard Irish joke. Priest walks into a pub. Priest arrives at the gates of Heaven. Shepherd walks into a pub. Shepherd arrives at the gates of Heaven. Priest and a Shepherd go in together on a football bet. Come to think of it, that’s about all the premises there are. But there are a billion variations within.

Every variation reveals a slightly different truth, or micro truth—in this case how God seems to have made it impossible (or at least very difficult) for our brains to process more than one terrible thing at a time. Who would know this better than the Irish, who’ve spent nearly the whole of their existence getting rained on with a boot pressed to their throats?

In my family, with regards to food, it went like this: if your steak was burned so badly that it looked like a recently-hewed chunk of anthracite coal (as most assuredly it was, if my grandmother was cooking) then you ate your potatoes, which were so lumpy it was 50/50 that you would a) finish them or b) have to use your butter knife to perform your first ever emergency tracheotomy on yourself. But you know what? In that moment, you’d forget about how awful the meat was! When you couldn’t stomach the potatoes anymore—then you switched back and chiseled at the meat. Back and forth you went until it was all gone, and then you said, “Well, that wasn’t so bad. What’s for dessert?” The key, again, was that you could count on your mind to only be able to process one horrible thing at a time. And it could always be worse.

When I used to run to my grandfather with petty schoolyard scrapes and bruises he always said the same thing: “Well come here and let me punch you in the arm so you forget how much your leg hurts.” This perverse form of Irish optimism has been passed down through the generations. I didn’t quite see the wisdom in it at the time. But I do now.


I still have Food Wimp tendencies, but I’m getting better. I’m working at it. I remember being out on the road, at a truck stop in Oregon, and so hungry that—using the Irish Method—I plowed through my $6 Meatloaf Special (really a baked dishwashing sponge and a side of drippy gutter tennis balls). That’s when I thought up the name. I imagined my grandfather sitting across from me in the booth. “What do you think of that?” I said, nodding down at my empty plate. 

“The name needs work.”

“What, the Irish Method?”

“Yeah. I have to be honest…it kind of sounds like the worst form of birth control ever.”

I laughed, imagining this exchange, as the waitress laid my check face down on the table.

**Today's exercise: write about one of your "kitchen table memories."  Doesn't have to be long, or make any great point, just bring us there as vividly as you can.


  1. I participated, Matt! here's mine.

  2. My grandparents would come over to babysit us when I was younger. I remember being very unhappy whenever they were babysitting during a meal. They might order us a pizza, which was great, but they inevitably gave us milk to drink with dinner. I don't have a problem with milk, but I can't stand warm milk. Being a kid, I would waste a ton of time playing with my food, arguing with my brothers, or staring off into space. By the time I was done eating my pizza, I would be left facing a giant glass of warm milk. I wouldn't be allowed to leave the table until I finished the whole glass. Actually, it didn't really matter if I drank the milk before I finished the pizza. They'd just refill the glass. Back then, I hated hearing that they were coming over. I knew I'd be facing that glass of milk. I knew it would be gross and disgusting and there was no way of getting around it.

    Now, I'd drink any amount of milk they asked if I could have dinner with them again.

  3. I know that these memories at the kitchen table needn't be specifically about our grandparents. But I remember my last dinner with my grandmother. She didn't have a kitchen table and so as a family, we sat on the floor to eat. The whole earth was her table.

    And it was nice. She would sit with her legs crossed, her back straight as the single bamboo shoot that sat in her yard. I tried to imitate her as best I could, but my posture just wasn't as precise. It was a quiet dinner that evening. I remember watching her as her hands nimbly moved from plate to plate. She motioned with etiquette from an era only heard of in the stories she spoke of earlier that day. It wasn't until after dinner that the stories started up again and the laughter and the joy. I left her home knowing I would probably not see her again. And it's that moment, sitting around her kitchen table, that I revisit, knowing that in all actuality, she is only a memory away.

  4. My grandmother was a large part of my life until she passed away from cancer when I was 13. I remember holiday traditions of decorating the tree at her house and helping her set the table for dinner every year. We had a small family, but busy, so the times we came together were always special. Since she died nothing has been the same.
    I remember one year we had been waiting all day to eat and had progressively been getting grumpier towards each other when 7 o'clock passed, and then 8 o'clock, and the turkey was still not ready. We all were sitting hungrily around as my grandmother was in the kitchen, growing snappier at us each time my uncle made a comment. Suddenly, there was a loud crash in the kitchen and we heard my grandmother scream. We ran around the corner to see her standing in front of the oven, with the piping hot turkey resting on her feet.
    She had cleaned the oven earlier that day and it slid out onto her when she opened the door.
    Apart from giving the rest of the family a near- heart attack, we doubled up in laughter as my grandmother went on and on about her new moccasins being ruined.
    Thus, that year, we were forced to order Boston Market.
    I will always remember my grandmother's surprised yelp and the family laughter that ensued; although she worked all day on that turkey, what mattered was family.

  5. Whenever my mom's parents come over for dinner, they always make my sister and me clean up after dinner. Normally, as soon as were done eating me and my sister leave and do our own thing and my mom cleans up. But when her parents are visiting, they try to act like our parents and make us clean up and do chores. My sister and I hate when they do that because they're not our parents, they're our grandparents and if my mom wanted us to help clean up she would ask. It's always fun while we're eating dinner though because we are always all joking around and laughing. I know getting mad at my grandparents for making us clean up sounds pretty spoiled but that is what I always remember and think about when they're visiting us.

  6. My Grand parents had a beach house in LBI and my family and my dad's brother's family (my uncle) would go down in the winter when all the tourists were gone and it was so cold you couldn't feel your toes, just to have a huge dinner all together. My grandmother would make enough food for hundreds of people and my younger brothers would still fight over it. On one specific dinner night we had all stuffed ourselves so full we couldn't move. Alex, my cousin, got up and waddled upstairs saying he had eaten so much he couldn't stand up strait. My brothers ran up the stairs to try to get him to play basketball with them out side even thought the whole family said he would never do it. Then as were all sitting there at the table we decided to play cards, but now that alex left there were uneven teams for Pinochle(the family card game). My dad and mom would play together my grandmother and my cousin Nikki would play together, and I would have no one. Then my grandfather said that he would play. Everyone in the family laughed; my grandfather never played with the family. He said he was too good. He was tired. He didn't really like cards. Never once has this man said he would play, so at some point we just stopped asking. He said he really meant it. He was going to play with me and now that we all laughed we were going to beat them all. I was floored. I played my very best because i wanted him to know that he could count on me. We ended up winning by a landslide. He took me aside and said, "Darian, I love you and one day when I'm gone you going to remember this game and how we kicked ass,"and stuck his tongue out in the funniest, old-man-way possible.
    My grandfather died two years ago and he is very right. I will always remember that game and how much i loved him.

  7. Chad M. Said....

    I do not remember one specific dinner, but I do cherish the Sunday dinner's my family usually has. It means a lot to me because both of my brother's are able to make it, along with my brother's girlfriend. My one brother L.B. is always busy with work and I would only regulary see him one time a week and that was during our Sunday dinners. My other brother Ryan, lives an hour away from home and this is also usually the only time I would see him every week. It means so much because eveyone's scheduals are so hectic, that we never get to see eachother. When we were little kids we were around eachother 24/7. I would never be around friends my age, I would always be with my brothers causing some sort of trouble. We played sports and used to run around our neighborhood all day and night. So, when they come home every Sunday, it makes me remember those childhood memories of how close we used to be. it's not like were not as close anymore, it is that we arent able to be around eachother all that often. It makes me miss those times, so I cherish every Sunday we have. And there is nothing special about these dinners, we typically sit in the family room watching television because that is most comfortable watching some sort of sporting event. And just talk about what is going on with everyone. Even with something as simple as that, I cherish it everytime it is able to happen.

  8. My most vivid memory at the kitchen table is not one specific memory at all. When I think of my family table, I picture meatloaf, Jim Gardner and Peter Jennings. You see, back at our old house, and before I became a vegetarian, we ate dinner at a stereotypical table while watching the 6 O’clock news with Jim Gardner into World News Tonight at 6:30 with Peter Jennings. For some reason, I always picture us eating meatloaf. Maybe it’s because I never liked my mom’s loose, squishy, juicy blob. I can picture my sisters acting obnoxious in the way they talk and eat. I never got along with them and we just fought all dinner. I guess that this is ‘The Katz Way’, watching the news while we eat and argue.

  9. Since my immediate home family consists of only my mom and I, when I was younger we would go out to dinner often with my mom’s friends here and there. I remember one night when I was about nine; my mom and I met up with my “aunt” Rita, my mom’s eccentric best friend. Rita had seemingly permanent frizzy brown hair and always wore about a dozen sparkly bangles, blue eye shadow, and a lot of perfume. We had walked around South Street and then headed over to china town to eat and up until that point I rarely ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant. I sat at the table just staring at the menu, lost. So, eventually I just gave up trying to pronounce the dishes in my head and went with sweet and sour chicken. My mom popped a bottle of red wine and of course I had to take the cork and smell it…. I was curious as to what it was they were drinking even though I knew I couldn’t have a taste. The rest of the dinner I spent just listening to my mom and aunt Rita talk about the most interesting things and to this day they fascinate me when they get together. My aunt Rita would tell these long exaggerated stories of her dreams of meeting priests who told her of past lives she had and what she believed she had done in other lives and my mom would laugh and sip the sour smelling wine. I remember watching them through the candle flames and how the shadows moved. Many nights were spent like this for me as a child and those dinners don’t happen much anymore. I never realized how special they were to me until now.

  10. My mom was wearing a hairnet in the kitchen. Whenever she was in a hairnet, I always knew she was frying something. On this day, I could smell the fresh aroma of fried chicken. Days, like these where she cooked nontraditional Vietnamese food, were days I looked forward to at the dinner table. Whether it was the excitement of eating food with my hands or the delicious taste from the crunchy bite of every piece, I always felt a sense of unexplainable satisfaction. But not on this particular day. My sister and I had fought prior to dinner. And as usual, I had cried. At the kitchen table, there was an awkward silence between my sister and I. It was obvious as well. No one bothered to mention that my eyes were bloodshot red. I felt embarrassed even though these people were my family. I wanted to run away. I had no intention of talking to my sister ever again. While I was embarrassingly eating with my puffy red eyes, the heat from the chicken caused my nose to run. As I started to wipe my nose with the sleeve of my shirt, my sister leaves the room and comes back with a tissue for me. I realized at that moment our argument could not separate our sisterly bond.

  11. My mother’s side of my family isn’t very large. It consists of my grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, mother, sister, and myself. We’re spread out over the east coast, so we get together for occasions such as major birthdays, anniversaries, or, in this case, a holiday. My grandparents are well off. They’re not showy by any means; they just own a nicely decorated, 3 bedroom townhouse in a rather nice development. This occasion is my grandmother’s 65th birthday. I was around 14 years old. We gathered in my grandparents’ extremely well organized and decorated dining room (my grandmother was THE army housewife and homemaker in her time). We gathered to have a holiday dinner for Halloween.
    Some background information: my grandmother had an accident when I was a freshman in high school. She ended up losing her pointer and ring fingers on her right hand to the second knuckle, as well as seriously injuring her middle finger. At first, this was hard for all of us, but especially her. She went through a lot of post traumatic stress and anxiety, but slowly and steadily got back to her normal self.
    She had gotten a new Halloween dish for hors d'oeuvres; a witch overlooking a bowl for dip and a swirling space around it for crackers.
    As she slowly brought this out for us, completely nonchalantly, she ripped off one of the witch’s fingers…and used it as a knife. We gasped for a second, until we realized all of the fingers of the witch could be taken out and used as utensils. We lost it. She pretended like there was absolutely nothing unusual about her newfound knife until she couldn’t contain her laughter anymore.
    It truly showed that she was getting over her traumatic accident. It was a great representation of what my family really finds a good mantra to follow: laughter can get you through anything, especially if you can laugh at yourself.

    Oh, not to mention, we had lady fingers for dessert.

  12. Thanks Matt for prompting me to spend an evening thinking about this. Here is my response:

  13. I was walking around my friends house having a

    blast, when I realized that my Aunt had asked

    me to house-sit over the week. I told them

    this, and I also conveniently told my friends

    that my Aunt had a HUGE swimming pool! Well off

    we all went! We all grabbed bathing suits,

    towels, and jumped in my friends van! When we

    arrived at my aunts house, we immediately

    decided to order chinese food. We ordered, then

    went swimming, and had a blast! Then, the dogs

    started barking! We all knew what that meant!

    We all scrambled out of the pool and sprinted

    to the house with water spewing everywhere!

    Then, when we got inside and settled down, we

    started to feast! Next, was the worst moment

    ever when ordering chinese food. There was two

    pieces of “General Tso's Chicken” left. So my

    best friend and I had a stare down! I had chop

    sticks and he had a fork. Then he went in for

    it! I went in with my chop sticks right behind

    his fork! No laughter was involved, only

    tremendous concentration. He stabbed it first,

    I stabbed it off of his fork, he pinned my

    chopsticks with his fork, and continued to rip

    one of them out of my hand with the fork! So

    now I was down to one chopstick. I went in! He

    followed, and stabbed it first, I hit it off

    the fork onto the table cloth, then he

    proceeded to stab the chopstick! He wrenched it

    out of my hand and I threw my hand at the

    chicken! I had won! I had grabbed the chicken

    with my hand and tossed it into my mouth! We

    started cracking up! We laughed and laughed and

    laughed! Last but not least, he was so “upset”

    about losing, (sore loser!) that he grabbed

    sauce packets and hurled them at me while I

    wasn't looking! They hit me in the face! We

    proceeded to have a sauce packet war from

    there! This is my memory! Mainly due to the

    fact that I had so much fun!

  14. The one memory i always think about is the first year my aunt didn't come up to my grandmas house in Connecticut for christmas. I have never spent a christmas in my own house since the day i was born. It is a family tradition that every year all my family on my fathers side goes up to my grandmas house to celebrate christmas eve. Once my cousins were in their final years of college and graduated, my aunt decided to stop coming up for christmas because my cousins wouldn't be able to come. The first year my aunt didn't come my grandma was very upset. She didn't understand why she still wouldn't come up to see everyone with my uncle. Each year the family began to lose connection with my aunt more and more. In a way i understand my aunts decision because she lives all the way in Washington DC, which is about a 7-8 hour drive. For just one year it would be nice to not have to travel up 4 hours over my winter break from school and spend half of it away from my friends. Even though my family wishes we could just stay home over the holidays for just one year, we always go up to Connecticut because its what makes my grandma happy and to my family making her happy is more important than being home.

  15. My Grandfather's birthday is December 24th so my family and I would always go to my mother's parents house to celebrate my grandfather's birthday and then wake up the next morning to celebrate Christmas. In addition to my family being there, pretty much the rest of my mother's side of the family was there too, such as my aunt, my uncles and my cousins.

    Food is something I really appreciate in my family because whenever we eat it is always something that is homemade and delicious. On Christmas eve when I was about 8 we were all at my grandparent's house and our traditional christmas eve meal is always sea food. The coolest part is that everyone in my family is very good at cooking so everyone does their share and we end up with so many delicious and different foods. The main dish was pasta with mussels and I loved every bit of it. For dessert my grandparents always got the same cake, it consists of nuts and this brown cream and it tastes so good. I haven't had it for a while because they buy it at a local bakery in Vancouver, British Columbia and we moved to Pennsylvania when I was 9. The whole night consisted of good food and great quality family time, it doesn't get much better than that.

    When you're young the build up to Christmas is almost better than the day itself. The feeling of the holidays and the candy canes and the smell of apple cinnamon makes you so into the holiday spirit. That build up and then the celebration of my grandfather's birthday on Christmas eve really made the big day extremely special. That christmas morning was great, just as all the others are.

    Now that I am 18, live in Pennsylvania far away from all of my relatives, and
    with my grandfather's passing this past year things are totally different. That sounds depressing but I am truly grateful that I was fortunate enough to ever experience those times with my family. I am happy that I am able to write about this and still have those memories fresh in my mind because they are worth more than anything in the world.

  16. I have one specific memory of New Years Eve about 5 or 6 years ago. Every year my parents would invite all of my family and all of my neighbors and cook for everyone. I can remember my dining room table being full with folding chairs everywhere and people standing because there weren't enough seats for them. It was one of the last times that all of these people were together in one place.

    When I was younger all of my neighbors were elderly. Ever since this New Years Eve a lot of them have passed away. Even some of the people have passed away since. One of my brothers moved to Florida and the other got married and moved out. This was truly one of the last times that my entire family and all of my neighbors were together. To this day a picture of everyone in my dining room hangs up on the wall in my dining room. It was a night that I will never forget.

  17. Years ago, my family would eat dinner together nearly every night. My mom would prepare the food each evening- and man could she cook! Whether it was something new or an old favorite, I could always look forward to something tasty to go along with the colorful conversation. After so many years it became something I took for granted. Looking back, I have so many happy memories of simply being with my family.

    But my most powerful memory of the table stands out not because it's the most pleasant. As usual, I sat across from my older brother in my seat, and our conversation began. At first there was nothing out of the ordinary being discussed. But as the end of the meal approached, my dad told us that they had some bad news for us. I paid attention to my father speaking, even though I didn't expect to hear anything huge. My brothers and I were completely taken by surprise when he said that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

    He fought back tears as he went on to explain what this meant for our family, what was going to change. She would undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments to try to beat the cancer. She would become very ill, her hair would fall out. He urged us to be optimistic, to try not to allow it to affect our lives, to remain happy. We shared tears at the table that night to accompany all the laughs we shared over the years.

    That night marked a sort of "change in eras" of my life, so to speak. It must be why the memory is so vivid. Looking back, I treasure all the time I spent my mom, even those things that didn't seem like a big deal at the time.

  18. I am the youngest of three girls. So, most memories I have about when my family was all together having dinner are from when I was younger. Unfortunately, family dinners were a rarity in my house. Not because we all didn’t want them to happen, but because we were all so involved with sports and school work, we were always on the go. My parents were the kind of parents that were really involved in our lives. My dad coached me in every sport I played, besides gymnastics. And my mom, she volunteered with school events and was assistant coach to my dad. Many nights we would get ice cream or water ice to celebrate a win before we would even eat dinner. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. However, my mom always wanted the family to “sit down and have a nice dinner together”. At least that’s what she always said. So, every once in a while, usually on Sundays, my mom would make a great dinner and we would all sit down together.
    I was the pickiest eater when I was younger, I would only eat the plainest things. I never ate what my mom made. I would always have her alter what she cooked for dinner into something that appealed to me. For instance, spaghetti and meatballs, I would only eat the spaghetti with no sauce. Or, chicken parmesan, I would eat the chicken plain with ketchup, and a side of plain spaghetti. Yes, I was kind of a brat. One Sunday I remember in particular was when I was about 7 years old. Every once in a while my mom would try a new recipe she found in Taste of Home Magazine. This particular Sunday, my mom tried this shrimp dish she was really excited about. Of course, being the picky eater I was, I didn’t want to try the shrimp dish. I liked shrimp and I liked spaghetti, so I just had plain shrimp and plain pasta. We all sat down to dinner and my mom started dishing out plates for everyone. Now, my mom was always getting up and getting things for dinner, she was the last to sit down, always. So she dished out every plate, first handing me my plain shrimp and pasta, and gave everyone else big helpings of the dish. She soon got up to get napkins, or drinks, or who knows what. I dove into my food, loving the plainness. I then looked up to see my dad and two sisters take a bite, look at one another, then slyly spit their bite out with rather odd pusses on their faces.
    My mom comes back to the table and sits down, takes one bite and says “Oh no! Give me these! Don’t take another bite!” She took away everyone’s plates because apparently it was just awful. She took mine away too forgetting mine was different, just wanting to get it away from everyone. She came back to the table after dumping all the food and starting apologizing. We all just started laughing and my mom ordered a pizza for delivery. We stayed sitting at the table talking and laughing about the awful dinner which soon turned into talking about random stories from the week and the past. The pizza took over an hour to get delivered, but we all stayed at the table talking and laughing until it was finally delivered. My mom got a slice for everyone and we all remained at the table and had our family dinner. Even though it wasn’t exactly the type of dinner we expected food wise, it was so much fun getting to sit around with my family and talk about just anything. My dad told these crazy stories about when he was younger, that had us laughing so hard we were crying. My sister mentioned some awful story about work. All these stories spurred from the awful dinner dish put forth. The conversation barely let up.
    Even though we all had our busy lives, when we got the chance there was nothing more we wanted then to get to spend time with one another. That does still remain true, although opportunities are slim. But, it’s funny to think that an awful tasting meal could turn into one of the most fun and entertaining dinners we have had together, but I guess that’s just how my family works.

  19. On the weekend before my older brother got married and moved out of the house, my family all sat down together and ate a meal. Now, my family rarely eats together because everyone is so busy, but we made sure to all get together and eat before my brother moved out. During that night, we all sat at the table and talked and laughed for hours. We talked about my brother’s future and reminisced over old times. It may not seem special to anyone else, but that memory is special to me because it was a night we could all get together and be with each other before my brother moved out and started a new journey in his life.

  20. Where to even begin? My mom has 2 sisters and 1 brother. My entire mom’s side of the family lives in different states. Its funny how they all grew up together in the same house yet live so far away today. One of my all time favorite memories is Christmas time about 3 years ago. I was 16 and looking forward to seeing my family more than anything. You see each of my mother’s relatives has some kind of quality that makes them completely different. My aunt Judy is the kindest, sweetest woman in the world, my aunt Barbara is the strict, uptight kind of person, and my uncle Jack is down right the funniest man I’ve ever met. The day arrives and I get ready for the party, my mom always hosted Christmas Eve dinner. It was our tradition for years. All my aunts and uncles came with all my cousins. Don’t get my wrong I love seeing everyone but my all time favorite part of the night was the end. After mostly everyone had gone home there was only my mom, sister, Uncle Jack, my aunt Bernadette (his wife), my aunt Judy, and I. The time was late, the lights were dim, a candle lit in the middle of the table, light Christmas music playing in the background and some of the greatest stories I have ever heard. See, my aunt Bern and Uncle Jack were not only hilarious, but the best storytellers. One particular story goes like this.

    Before the story begins, here is the background info.
    They have a son named Matthew (my cousin) who moved to Costa Rica when he was 23 and has lived there ever since. Every winter they travel down to Costa and rent a house for 4 or 5 months to be with him and his family.

    The story begins with Bern and Jack going out to a nice dinner at a restaurant right off the bay. The moon was shinning, chill ocean breeze, and people all around. After dinner they went into the bar section to have a few drinks before the night was over. The tavern had looked like it was the inside of a old wooden ship. It was half hanging off the bay and half on the dock. So my aunt is sitting talking and out of nowhere a big group of people walk in. they were all dressed as pirates and clearly hammered drunk. They had been on a party cruise during the day and came to the bar to end on a good note. They were dancing dirty, yelling, and throwing off clothes left and right. They kept getting louder and more obnoxious as minutes passed. Mind you my aunt and uncle are in there 60’s and got kind of annoyed. So my aunt, with a few drinks in her, leans to the fellow next to her and says “what a bunch of assholes these people are huh?” the man responses “Yeah they are, what nerve”. My aunt turns back around and the next thing she knows, she is getting picked up and dragged over to a plank (attached to the dock). The group of people heard what she said and tried to make her walk the plank. Turns out the guy she said “what a bunch of assholes to” turned out to be the captain of the cruise ship. Haha in the end she didn’t have to walk the plank and ended up having a great time with the crew. This story doesn’t do them justice because the way my aunt and uncle tell it in person, makes a world’s difference. But moral of the story, don’t judge someone and then lean over to a stranger and tell him or her what you think.

    Every major holiday, because I don’t get to see my family, is always my favorite time of year because I hear all new stories and get to spend just a few short hours with the greatest people alive.

  21. Siya B...

    My kitchen table memory was when I was about seven years old. I was sitting in the kitchen with my older brother Ian and my half sister Brandi. My brother and I were staying the night at her house just to spend some time with her. I always looked forward to going to her house because her mom would always have some sort of dessert for us after dinner, and I love dessert! BUT, there was a catch. We weren't allowed to have any kind of soda or juice. We had to drink a glass of milk with our dinner before we could get up from the table and before we could get dessert. I absolutely hated milk! But she made brownies for desert and I just had to have one. So after I watch my half sister guzzle her milk my brother and I try to bribe her to drink our cup as well, because she loves milk. Eww! Of course she refuses and my brother and I are stuck at the table looking pitiful. Then my sister comes up with a bright idea. She says we should just hold our nose and chug our milk one by one so we can get it over with. She even offered to pour herself another glass of milk so she could "show us how it's done". So first my brother goes and as he holds his nose we chanted "chug! chug! chug!" Then it was my turn and I kept stalling because I was pretty much petrified. My sister kept making fun of me and calling me a 'scaredy-cat'. So I finally just closed my eyes, pinched my nose, and chugged. Thinking back on it, I know that it couldn't have been THAT bad. But back then, milk and I was like a cat in the rain. It was just a bad combination. So finally, it was my sister's turn and she kept going on and on about how good milk is and how her brownie was so good and she was just getting on my nerves. I wanted to punch her in her arm! Before she started she said "let me show you how a pro does it." When she's halfway through her cup my brother yells something crazy. I can't remember what exactly he said but it must have been hilarious because we all burst into laughter and my sister ended up spitting out her milk and some of it even came out of her nose! That just made us laugh even harder. For the rest of the night my sister was complaining that her nose burned but and her eyes kept watering. That's exactly what she gets for showing off. I finally got to enjoy my brownie and I was one step closer to getting rid of my lactaid-phobia so that was a night that I will never forget.

  22. Evan Ostrow…

    The kitchen table at my house has always been a place of frivolity. This table has had a great effect on me as a person. Up until third grade when I lived in Cheltenham, it was literally a source of entertainment as it is a bumper pool table when the top is taken off it. This table allowed me to develop a source of connection with my father, as well as many of my older cousins. This opportunity lied in friendly competition. After moving at the end of third grade to Ambler, we took the top off this magnificent table much less often, but it provided yet another service – a place of congregation. To enhance your mental picture, my kitchen is open and has a small counter that swings into the middle of the room. On one side of this counter is the kitchen itself and the other is my kitchen table - a small, octagonal, wooden table with talons gripping spheres for legs. My father taught at my school, so my dad, sister, and I saw each other quite a bit, but this table created a place where I spent quality time with my mother and her with all of us. Jokes would fly through the air back and forth from each of us and the jubilation was almost as good as the food we shared in this special place. My kitchen table is symbolic of family and all it means to me.

  23. Every Christmas Eve me and my family gather at my grandmother's house and do our own little spin on the Italian Seven Fishes dinner. Whatever is going on, or wherever anyone is throughout the world, we all know that this is the one time in the year we all make time for and almost every member of the family is there. There is no fighting, just lively conversation, especially around the table when the amazing food is brought out. We may only eat for an hour or so, but we sit around the table and talk for countless hours, juts laughing and enjoying this amazing time of year with the people we love. Even after my grandmother of 90 passes on when her time comes, this tradition is going to continue to live in my family for a very long time. This is the one time of year that everyone in my family drops their mindless arguments with each other and comes together as one loving family over the table, and that's the way family should be.

  24. As a child, my family dinners were all the same. Everyone would sit down in big wooden chairs, well I was only around 4' back then, and we would patiently wait until my mother would bring out the dishes for that night's dinner. During that time, my sisters and I would start fighting for seats. It didn’t matter who sat where, but it was more of a power struggle to see who got to sit where they wanted. When my mother finally brought out the dish, we would sit there and wait to eat based on seniority, my grandparents first, then my parents and then us. We would use chopsticks to pick up what was brought out. For me, I would normally try to use chopsticks the way they were intended to be used, but normally I just gave up and instead started to spear the meal. Our dinners were normally eaten in silence until all the bowls and utensils were collected. Afterwards, we would start to talk about our day and listen to what everyone else had to say. Though not talking was never fun, the silence allowed for us to reflect about our day. I appreciated dinner for what it was, the only time I have ever behaved as a child.

  25. My family was never one to sit down at the dinner table and have a run-of-the-mill family dinner. The case would usually be my mother would make dinner for my sister and me, and my father would come home around eight o’clock, too late for us all to have a family dinner. So, my sister and I would simply eat at the kitchen table, having casual conversations, trying to keep our family alive. This had been going on for years. My most unforgettable memory at the kitchen table is when we were in Paris. I was having breakfast with my sister before the bus would come pick us up and my mother came out of her bedroom screaming at my father. I was about twelve years old, and I had no idea what was happening. All that I remember is my mother storming into the kitchen and telling us that we are leaving. I was extremely upset, but confused more than anything. After that, my father walks into the kitchen, and I recall seeing him crying for the first time in my recollection. I put down my breakfast and give him the most heartfelt hug of my life. I could feel the warmth and love exhaling from his body. After, my sister told me to leave to go to the bus stop, and I said bye to my dad. I knew what was to come, and I will never forget that moment. At that time, I knew it was the end of our family together, as a whole. My sister and I tried for years to have a meal together at the dinner table and bring our family closer. This, however, did not work. This was the end of our family, and the start of a new life for me without a dad. Day after day, year after year, we knew that our family was slowly falling apart.

  26. I was born in Colombia and live there most of my childhood up until the age of seven. I came to the United States at that time and didn't return to Colombia until I was eighteen. At this point many things had changed including my grandmothers house. The next morning after getting settled in, I woke to the smell of breakfast. Smell, being the strongest trigger of memories immediately brought a wave of past experiences at the kitchen table. At the table, there were eggs, toast, pastries made from corn, pancakes, every condiment and spread imaginable, and all topped off with a hot cup of coffee. I have never eaten food so fast in my life. The breakfast was just a normal breakfast, but in my eyes i was the best I've ever tasted. The taste combined with my grandmother's company, who i hadn't seen in over eleven years, made the experience that much more enjoyable.

  27. Bekah Smith

    Christmas Day. I can't remember how many years ago exactly, possibly two or three.
    My mother had slaved in front of the stove all day. I don't recall the meal exactly. It was probably something experimental, something my mother thought would camouflage the fact that family to us means separate entities thrown into the same house. Her motive was to melt the tension with something new and fantastic.
    At six thirty, my brother, mother, father, and I gathered around the microscopic kitchen table. Intense awkwardness punctuated the air surrounding the table. The only noises were the sound of knives and forks scraping china and the ping of glasses filled with liquid. Our shoulders were tense, and our body language abrasive. There was no conversation, no laughter, no love.
    Eventually my brother and I began to offer complements to my mother, the only way we knew how to make her feel like her life was not completely broken and that she was doing an impeccable job of pulling the fragments of our lives together into a puzzle of sorts: a puzzle of normalcy.
    The only way to fully comprehend the events that occurred next is to keep in mind this fact: my father is sick. He's chronically ill, with a myriad of ailments that make his medical file a tome. My whole life I've never known anything different, except for the varying intensities of day to day life. Some days are worse than others, but as my life has unfolded, he's progressively weakened. Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's diease, severely high blood pressure, heart disease. What makes it worse is that never has he ever offered to care for himself. Never has he fought for his life. He sits in the basement, chain smokes, and drugs himself up on pain killers. Basically, my mother was a single parent, and the primary breadwinner for the past twenty years.
    Anyway, the discomfort of the dinner distracted us from the fact that slowly my father began to sink into his dinner plate. We didn't notice until his face was smashed into the food. My brother, mother, and I stared, continuing to shovel our meal into our mouths. What could we do? We didn't move from our seats, but kept eating, not bothering to utter a word. Possibly five minutes later, he slumped from his chair, dramatically falling to the floor. The legs of his seat snapped from its base, and as he lay unconscious on the floor, his arms were flung above his head. Never are we positive on whether these odd instances are genuine or performed. My father was a thespian in his hey-day; he always wants to gain attention by performing for an audience.
    The meal continued. It was almost painful at this point. We ignored his prostrate body. There was no way for us to lift this man of two hundred pounds and counting. As if the situation couldn't get any worse, moments later he removed himself from the floor, gimping his way gingerly to the bathroom not fifty feet from where we sat. Minutes later, he proceeded to vomit. Loudly. This was not the first time this ever happened, nor the last. For some reason, throwing up in the bathroom next to the kitchen while the family eats is an okay thing to do. My brother, with his sensitive gag reflex, could no longer handle it. Quickly, he exited the room, running upstairs and slamming the door. It was too much. We couldn't just sit there anymore. Slowly, my mother and I began to giggle. The giggle eventually morphed into gut-busting guffawing. Tears streamed down our faces. Our laughter rang almost as loudly as the sounds of my father spilling his guts into the toilet. It might seem cruel, to laugh at this, but what else are we supposed to do? Laughing at the situation makes it more bearable, because if we don't, if we stop and think, we'll realize "holy shit, this is our life". If we don't laugh, we'll fall apart.

  28. In early summer of 2004, my parents called my three siblings and myself out to the kitchen table for a “family meeting.” This usually being a dreadful event, in which we are notified of boring occasions we must attend or monotonous chores we have finish. Generally, this is never a good thing. And so we sat around the table, Mom, Dad, Aidan, Erin, Patrick and myself, anxiously waiting to hear the dreaded news. When my dad asked if any of us could guess why he called us in the room. We all chipped in a few comments, “Do we have to mulch?”
    “Why couldn’t this wait until dinner?”
    “Who died?” ....
    And so on... Until my older sister said “You’re having another baby.” with the blankest expression. My parents looked at each other, that was it. Erin started to cry. A few minutes later Pat, Aidan and I look at one another, agree that it could have been worse, and returned to what we were doing before the meeting, not knowing what to expect.

  29. I have a literal kitchen table memory to share. It's just a little story that i remember very clearly for some reason. It was one night, maybe 10 or so years ago at my house when my grandmother and grandfather were staying for the weekend. My dad, mom, sister Vickie, my two grandparents and I were seated around the table for dinner, which is rare because most days our table is used for random papers and miscellaneous objects. So, we were eating, and Vickie had a dish of applesauce sitting in front of her. She was saving it for last so hadn't touched it yet. My grandfather was sitting next to her. Now my grandfather was not the most optimistic man, and had a strange sense of humor so to see him laugh was not a common thing.
    Back to the table; my grandfather was eating quietly when he reached out for the dish of applesauce and began spooning some of it onto his plate. I thought my sister was about to cry or scream or something. She had an indescribable, but unforgettable look on her face. Then she says "what are you doing?!" My grandfather had no idea why she was upset. She said "that was my applesauce!" He thought it was for everybody. We all couldn't help it; we all burst out laughing, including my grandfather. I don't know why, but this memory sticks out in my head even to this day.

  30. Every summer I spend quite a lot of time at my house in the hamptons. I always look forward to those nights when my family and I sit on couches and do something as simple as playing a board game or watching TV. It always ends in a lot of laughs. The one night I remember most vividly took place probably 2 years ago. My entire family (extended included) had just gotten back to the house from having dinner at a local restaurant. We decided to just stand around the island in the kitchen and just talk. I don't even know what we talked about but we just stood there for hours and hours and had the best conversation. I probably laughed more than I ever had in my life for absolutely no reason. Those are the best nights because it takes so little to make them special. I would never give those nights up for anything

  31. An ice cream cake rested on the kitchen table. My family surrounded the table, loudly clapping and singing “Happy Birthday.” I looked at the light blue icing that bordered the cake when the song ended. I cringed. After every time my family sang, one-by-one, they would take a small piece of cake and feed the birthday boy or girl. Worse, the troublemaking members of the family (including me at times) would smear icing all over the birthday victim’s face.

    “Make a wish, Krupa.” I glanced down at the now-threatening blue icing. Making a wish would lead to a blue, sugar-coated face. I refused to go to school the next day with the complexion of a smurf.

    By the time my Grandmother walked up to me and hugged me, I knew I was safe. She gave me huge piece covered with cookie-crumbs. I relaxed until she ran her finger into the icing, and covered my face, laughing at her work. I was shocked. How could my grandmother be so sly? She stood in front of the kitchen table and beamed at the applause. My wish to have a clean face did not come true, but it didn’t matter. There was cake after all.

    Happy Birthday Grandma

  32. My family moved to America when I was about eight years old. The one thing that I miss even today is my home in India. I remember all the fun that I had there with my family and friends. The one memory that I can never forget was the day that we all sat down together and had dinner before we had to leave to come to America. What I loved about that day was that all my relatives came and we shared so much joy. My grandfather who took care of me and taught me everything was my favorite person. I was so sad that I had to leave him because I loved spending time with him. But on that day when we were all sitting together as a family and having dinner we enjoyed so much and had a great time. That whole night we sat around the kitchen table laughing and talking about the great times we had together. That night made me so happy because it was the last time we all got together before I came here. My grandfather was so sad about us leaving because we were the ones who took care of him all along. But that night made him so happy. That’s why it is such a great memory for me. That was the last time I had a wonderful dinner with my family especially my grandfather.

  33. There's tons of food on the table. There's tons of people sitting at the table. There's convorsation, there's good spirits. Good times. That's pretty much how it goes at my house. It's the classic american dinner table. We all start off talking about the same thing, and eventually digress into our own convorsations. My dad will eventually do somthing absolutly insane that surprises everyone, like showering us in sprinkle cheese. My family interacts very genericly, it's nothing special really. I like it though, it gives off a sense of security that i'v grown used to. There's really nothing special to awe you with about my family, it's more of a personal thing. The sentimentalality I get from my family really means alot to me. Where I cam from heavely influences where I go later in life, so I like to keep those feeling close by.

  34. Before my pop-pop passed away, my family spent Sunday afternoons at my grandparents house for lunch. These lunches would consist of my 3 cousins, two siblings, two uncles, my aunt, my parents, and my grandparents. One particular lunch sticks out to me. It was my sisters birthday, she must have been turning 4 or 5. We always celebrated birthdays during dessert so the kitchen was full of dirty dishes on the counter and in the sink. All 13 of us were scattered around the table, my pop-pop at the head, my dad tilting back on two chair legs with a cup of coffe in his hand. I remember sitting there watching my little sister trying to open her gifts but my cousin Emily taking over and opening them for her with my cousin Alyssa overseeing this all. My cousin Jason was trying to capture it all on video while my brother watched. My mom and her siblings were standing off the the side chatting and my nana was looking a little frazzled trying to clean off the table and make sure everyone was happy and had dessert. This was such a normal moment at the table for us but when I think back on all the dinners we shared this one remains one of my favorites.

  35. My favorite family memory would have to be the thanksgiving before my grandmom died. It was the last thanksgiving that there was was almost everyone at my Aunt Hopes house. The thing i loved the most about it was all the noise. there were probably 30-40 people in this house, of all ages babies to my great uncle in his 80's and everyone was talking. my younger cousins were getting underfoot in the kitchen and my older cousins were playing a heated game of monopoly, my aunts and uncles were reminiscing. There was so much going on that is almost seemed overwhelming. But when the table was set with all of the glorious food all of the little conversations merge into one giant one over dinner. I don't even know how they squeezed everyone in one table! The family was talking about everything; politics, race, entertainment and every one was sharing stories about what they have been doing and what has changed in their lives. eventually we had to do the go around the table and ask what your thankful for my grand mom said "I'm thankful for the children i have raised, who show me that there is an importance in family and that we remain a family that grows and stay together, thankful that they have instilled this in their children who now understand why it is so great to have a cousin that your close too" It was really that speech that made me want to go to school in Philadelphia the fact that we have ll of these little conversations but they can melt into one simply by being together.That I have a family that loves me because we share the same blood. The overwhelming sense of love in that room makes the moment so beautiful it can't truly be described only experianced.

  36. I was young and family dinners were common. They usually consisted of my mother, younger sister, father, and grandmother. Today was no different. We all gathered around the rectangular light brown table, that is still used in that house, with our steaming bowls of meat ball soup. I was busy listening to my mother and father talk about work when I heard a groan. I looked at my grandmother just in time to see her face plant into her bowl of soup. Not knowing what happened, I leaped up from my seat and squealed. My sister followed my reaction and we both sprinted out of our small little apartment in Burbank, California. My dad came out of the house laughing a little at our terrified response to the event, and hurried us back inside into our room. I could hear my mother yelling and my father talking to the paramedics on the phone. After the paramedics had arrived and things had settled down, we went to the hospital to find out that my grandmother had undergone a heart attack. However, she survived and ate many more dinners with us afterwards.

  37. Wow, thanks to everyone for the thoughtful, poignant, hilarious, brave responses. I suspected kitchen tables might be a good touchpoint for memories, but I didn't realize the diversity of experiences that happen there (both good and bad) until I saw the memories all juxtaposed here together.

  38. My memory is very simple and it is from this past summer. My Grandmother was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer and hasn't been responding well to her treatments. So, as a family, we decided to round up all eight of her children, my aunts and uncles, and go visit her. We all flew out to Arizona and spent two weeks there enjoying the feeling of being united as a family once again.

  39. Whenever it was time to eat dinner at my house my family would eat together. No one in the family was allowed to eat dinner individually. My family and I sat down at the table together and ate as a whole. Each person would have their set position where they sat at the dinner table. my father would have his own seat at the end of the table, that was most important. I would be next to my older brother on the side and my mother would be next to my younger brother on the other side. We would then say grace as a family, eat, and then talk about how our day went.

  40. Sitting around the kitchen table brings back many fond family memories. I always remember that we would always wait till my dad got home from work so we could eat as a family. He often would get home pretty late. Often he would get home around 8 o’clock. My mom was big on the family needs to stick together and eat and talk about what happened during the day. As I grew older I assumed that most families ate around the table as we did every day. I thought eating at the table with everyone was normal. But I found that more often than not that I was the one out of the norm. I was the one different. I found out that the norm was more like get food then be on your marry way and do your own thing. I then talked to my mom about it and asked her why was it so important that we wait till dad got home to eat. She simply said because” It’s crucial that we eat together so we bond with each other as a family every day.” I then realized that what my friends didn’t have was the closeness that my family had. When I ate at a friend’s house they were most often eating around the TV. And didn’t talk with each other and there was something missing. Even now as I eat down at the Hans I hate eating alone I feel the need to go eat with someone. As I am finding my new family at Drexel I want to talk with them and find out the simple parts of their day and just bond with them, just as I had with my family back home.

  41. My kitchen table memories are short and simple because my family would not eat dinner together most of the time. One memory that does stand out is when I accidentally ate an extremely hot pepper. My family and I were sitting at the table eating and talking about random things when I took a spoonful of some type of foreign hot pepper. My tongue and mouth felt as if they were on fire and i ran to the sink to drown my mouth in water for relief. I remember being made fun of by my family and eventually laughing about it myself. Occurrences like this is what brings a family closer together

  42. There is no kitchen table back at my house, but I can remember one from my grandmother who lived about a half-hour away. It was an island table which everything else in the kitchen revolved around. Every year around the winter holiday season, my brother, my cousins, and I would gather round the table and help Grandma make Birds-in-the-nest cookies. It was like a small automation line: one would roll the dough in a little ball, one would roll that ball in chopped nuts, the next person would flatten the ball on the baking sheet, leaving an indent, and the last person would put a dab of jam in that indent. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over five years since we’ve all been together to bake cookies again.

  43. My kitchen table memory is of this past Christmas Eve. Every year my family chooses someones house and gets together for Christmas Eve, and then at midnight we all exchange gifts and see the joy in each others faces. What makes this such a memorable thing for me is the food. I come from a large Portuguese family with 6 aunts and uncles on my moms side, and 10 on my dads and we love to eat. In my opinion nothing compares to a home cooked portuguese dinner and on Christmas there is some of my favorite food. After everything is done and ready the table has a variety of food ready to be enjoyed by everyone at the table. There is grilled octopus, octopus rice, cod, potatoes, broccoli rabe, ham, collard green soap, white rice, roasted chicken, meat bread, and an even larger variety of sweets. We all wait in anticipation while my mom and aunts cook in the kitchen, and when the food finally comes out we dig in and talk over a delicious meal. This is just one of the many times my family gets together on a holiday but it is my favorite one. Although for me it is memorable because of the food it also has a lot to do with the people i am with. It would not be the same without my family, and no one compares to them.

  44. Our actual kitchen table is barely ever used, as my immediate family barely ever eats together. But, every Thanksgiving our extended family would all crowd into my aunt’s home in upstate New York State to enjoy a large meal together. Our relatives from Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and New York would all visit. I remember how every time the men would be in the living room watching TV while the wives cooked, and when everything was ready and out on the table we’d fill in and wedge ourselves over to the empty chairs (it was a rather small room). Because we barely ever eat as a family it’s quite the interesting experience... there’s the smell of turkey and gravy, the taste of apple cider, and the chatter of silverware on plates and everyone’s voices as we discussed what happened in the past year. My grandmother always told me and my brother to eat lots of corn so we wouldn’t lose our eyesight, though we wear glasses by now, as is common in our family. And then once the meal was over and the table was cleared off, all of the adults would scatter advertisements and flyers for Black Friday sales over the entire table, clipping coupons and circling what they wanted to get, and overall assembling a war plan on who’s going where that morning. I didn’t go out on such a run until recently; before that, us kids would get up at 10 or 11 once all the parents were already back. Either way, everyone packed up their new toys and left that afternoon, and we’d be back in South Jersey by nightfall.

  45. Family dinners will always be some of my fondest memories - especially the ones that my dad was there for. He always worked late, so we would usually eat before he got home. Every Sunday, though, along with any other nights he was able to make it in time for, he would be present, completing the family. I have a pretty big family - three sisters, myself, and my parents - so there was always a great dynamic between ourselves at these dinners. We always loved when my dad was there because he added a unique level of humor to the mix. He would make these goofy jokes - more weird than funny, but him saying them would make me and the rest of the family burst out into laughter, both with him and at him (in a lighthearted, loving way, of course). We would all glance at each other, silently communicating "Here we go again..." The initial laughter would get his confidence up, not realizing we were laughing more at the goofiness than the actual joke, and he would keep going off the first one. Each successive joke got goofier and goofier until we would all be hysterical, even my dad. Me and my sisters still love to reference these jokes. We've built a family inside-joke out of them. Goofy as they may be, I love my dad for bringing this humor to the family, and making us all be able to laugh together. There's always been more laughing than fighting in my family, and I hope it stays this way forever.

    -David Loeb

  46. Every Sunday meant church and dinner with my family. I ran in the front door to get changed as fast as I could for dinner. Coming down stairs in some basketball shorts and the undershirt I wore to church. I could smell the mash potatoes and steak reminiscing through out the house. My parents were both in the kitchen still dressed in their church close. My mother saw me and asked me to quickly set the table because dinner was almost ready. I set it and the food shortly followed. Sunday dinners were always the best because everyone was there and the food seemed to be made with extra care or at least it tasted that way. My mother had me yell down to my brothers and up to my sisters telling them that dinner was ready. They all came rushing to the dinner table where my father blessed the food and we got to business. Barely talking because that meant the food was good. Even though I was the smallest I would always eat the most and always regret it later because my stomach would hurt. Now a days Sunday dinners are rare. If we do get together it is my parents, my brother, and I. Lacking a few because my siblings are busy and growing up. The food and silence will always be the same but the atmosphere has changed.

  47. Each year, my family from both my mom and my dad's side of the family come to our house for Christmas dinner. Aside from enjoying the baked ham, baked ziti, stringbeans and caseroles, I always enjoy my family's company. My mom's side of the family is Italian and since most of her family lives in Italy, it's just her two sisters and my uncles. However, my dad's side is Irish and theres about 30 of them. It's always intertesting to just sit and watch everyone all together. The Italian side of my family (although they are outnumbered) is always loud and shouting across the table to one another. I'll never forget a few years back when my dad played a joke on my Aunt Joanne (my mom's sister). He was sitting all the way on one end of the table and my aunt was on the other end. Jokingly, my dad called my aunt's cellphone and started saying "can you hear me now?" She had no idea it was my dad calling her and it was so obvious he was on the phone and everyone in my family was aware it was him, yet my aunt had no idea!

  48. Family dinner has always been very important in my family. Since I was little I always thought that "family dinner" is what every family did. As I grew up I learned that not everyone has family dinner or at that have a family of their own. I distinctly remember one night when I was 16 my sister came home from college and we decided to have a traditional Indian dinner together. My mom cooks a lot of Indian food on a daily basis but on this one particular night she whipped up a full course meal before our eyes. While the spices of the many items were making me tear up, my dad started talking about basketball and the Sixers. I wasn't paying attention until he started insulting the Miami Heat. As I was saying my counterargument, he stopped me and said, "Shilpa never forget your roots." I didn't understand what he meant by that until he continued on and told me that if I was born and brought up in Philadelphia I should never betray my own "team." I asked my dad again what exactly he meant and how "forgetting my roots" had anything to do with basketball. He then started telling me about his journey from India to America when he was 28 years old. My dad told me the same story before numerous time, except this time he had many more minor details and emotions. He told me how he came with my mom with $15 in his pocket and nothing else but hope and faith for what was in store for them and the family. They left their family, lifestyle, and culture behind for better opportunity and were very skeptical on their decision when many obstacles were thrown at them. They never gave up and they kept moving forward. My dad ended his story by saying, that he is thankful for his culture because it is what defined him as being a strong, brave, and courageous person to take care of his family with very little in his pocket. Family is very essential in my culture and that is what my dad never wants me to forget. There has never been a night when my family never ate dinner together. Now by being in college, I take this memory to heart. We always have to remember where we are from and where we are headed.

  49. Every Tuesday night after a long day of school and CCD my family would go out to dinner at TGI Friday’s or Applebees. Going out to eat with my family was a big deal, we never really had a lot of money to spend on eating out. So when Tuesday rolled around it was a real treat to get to eat at a restaurant after CCD, kind of as a reward for all our hard work with my Mom’s class. My two older sister and I would do the little coloring sheets and listen to our parents tell us stories of when they were kids. It was always a fond memory I have and still look back on to this day.

  50. I have several memories of sitting down to dinner with my family and grandparents. We would sit around the table as my grandfather pinned each specific person at the table into an hour long discussion about sometimes nothing at all. I remember always listening to his stories about being an electrical engineer for RCA and all the projects he worked with. His stories are actually what made me decide to major in engineering myself. All his stories, no matter how many times you heard it, were always the most interesting conversations.