Tuesday, May 27, 2014

small talkers

My extended family has scattered to the wind so gathering around the table, or tables is something that almost never happens. My husband is luckier than I and has a whole crowd of family close enough to be on one Google Earth map.
In fact, we recently flocked like homing pigeons to a nephews home for an impromptu lunch.
Tables were set up outside just an elbow from each other and we happily chatted and chomped our corn on the cob.
I overheard my husband talking about seating arrangements at family gatherings when he was a boy.
He and his younger sister were the tail end of a large family. Not only the younger of eight, a vast gulf of time separated them from the older six. My husbands oldest brother was born with a head start of twenty years. The others arrived like popping corn, one after the other. They were married with children of their own by the time my husband was old enough to remember much but he does remember being seated at The Kids Table. Even though he and his sister were fellow heirs to the throne, they were sent to eat with the peasants. This vast social divide clung to the younger two well into their thirties when at last a subtle shift began to take place. My husband and his sister were at last admitted into the secret society of siblings.
 I think they have the advantage of standing astride two generations. The advantage of feeling a kinship with sisters and brothers who are the aunts and uncles of their nieces and nephews who are also cousins of their children. Ahhhh, family.
I can identify with many of the perils and perks of being a youngest. And The Kids Table was a part of many childhood gatherings for me as well. My grandmother had a built-in wooden chopping board that pulled out like a giant tongue and my cousin and I pulled up stools and happily hunkered down. I never felt banished when I was seated away from the adult table. Rather, it felt more like being part of a secret society. We had our own conversation, glad and giddy and our own version of manners. Small talk really was small talk. The best kind too.
I suppose it is just anther example of the ever evolving nature of life. Of our social self. Set the table and gather some small talkers. You might be able to form your own secret society.


Cathy said...

This brought back memories for me. Most of the time the table was big enough to seat everyone, but if you were capable of cutting your own meat and not yet a teenager you were delegated to one end of the table. Once I grew up and had my own family, and I have no idea why I did it this way, I'd sit at one end of the table and my husband at the other. Children would be mixed in with the adults. However, if we needed another table brought in to accommodate everyone, then it would be filled with the youngest children capable of feeding themselves. That meant sometimes a 10-year-old might be paired with a 4-year-old and this did not always make for happy 10-year-olds especially if 13-year-old brother got to sit at the adult table. I wish I'd had your advice then and encouraged the little people table to see themselves as a secret society! :-)
I will use this, though, for my grandchildren when I get enough to require a second table.

Glenda said...

There is nothing like feeling special. It's definitely better than feeling different. Fine line there but worth going for:)