Here’s another book I want to get. Kelly posted a fairly lengthy quote from the book but I’ll just post this little bit:
Sometimes I have to remind myself that the symbols of wholesome domestic happiness — hot biscuits, a platter of home-fried free-range chicken, a family sitting around a table — are not domestic happiness. The family sitting in front of the TV with the bucket may be experiencing more joy and grace and love. Or, of course, they may not be.
I think most of us, deep down, feel that we should be living in a Norman Rockwell painting.
When I was a kid we ate most meals in front of the TV. I decided that when I grew up and got married we were going to do things “right” and sit at a table like “normal” folks. It mostly didn’t happen. We tried but it just didn’t seem to work out. Sometimes we were stressed out and it was hard to be pleasant. And often there was laundry waiting to be folded or other junk on the dining table, which was a welcome excuse not to eat there. The special times for us were when we went out to IHOP or Pizza Hut. I especially enjoyed going to Pizza Hut because they always take a really long time to bring the pizza to our table, giving us lots of time to sit there and talk. People don’t sit around and talk anymore just for the sake of talking. You almost have to be trapped together somewhere in order to have a real conversation.
Now, every other Sunday when the whole family is here, we eat at the table. And we usually linger for a bit, just sitting there talking. Finally, we’re just like a Norman Rockwell family. Sort of. Those are the special times now. I think that whatever it is that you don’t normally do is what you remember as the special times. But I don’t think we should disparage eating in front of the TV or eating take out. Sharing a favorite movie or TV show can be the stuff of memories too. It is for me. I mostly can’t remember what we watched but I can remember sitting with my mother, laughing and commenting about the silliness on a sitcom or the wonders on a Jacques Cousteau special. And now I don’t really like to watch TV alone. It just feels like TV is something meant to be shared. And if you’re sharing a meal at the same time, that’s even better.