Sunday, September 20, 2009

"The Ties That Bind"

Just before my sophomore year in high school my Dad was sent to Vietnam for the first time. Consequently, we packed up our home at Ft. Sill, Ok. and moved to Silsbee, Tx., our hometown.

My grandparents, and all of our extended family lived there or in the area. I experienced a whole new meaning of family and family values and I really got to know and love my family.

On Sundays everyone went to church. After church we all went to Nanny's house (We lovingly called it the "Big House") for Sunday Dinner. There was lots of delicious food, family, scrumptious desserts and interesting conversations to evesdrop on.

Sunday Dinner helped us stay in touch with our manners: yes ma'am,no sir, please and thank you, and excuse me. We learned to "stay out of grown folks conversations, speak when you are spoken to and what is said in this house stays in this house."

Living in El Paso,Tx. and teaching high school leaves me commenting quite regularly on the sad state of manners exhibited by our youth today. I was looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of my own family and the children in the family.

My daughter recently got married and her husband would say to me most Sundays as we were leaving church ,"what did you cook today big Mama?" Now, anybody who knows me knows

that I spend so much time exercising and eating right that "Big Mama" would not be a term

that I would find endearing. I would usually say to him , "I'm not your Big Mama." My son-in-law was very close to his grandmother and one day I realized that term was a way for him to also connect with his past, a connection that he secretly longed for. One day I shocked him and said "I've decided that I can be Big Mama on Sundays.

That first Sunday dinner, about two months ago, I cooked two roasts with potatoes and carrots,

corn pudding, steamed broccoli, cornbread, green salad and tea. My son-in-law ,who is a great cook ,made brownies. We set the table, stood in a circle as my brother lead us in prayer and sat down to enjoy a great meal. I know my mother and grandmother, who have both passed away ,would be pleased.