AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We did our homework

While my mother stood at the ironing board

Ironing our dresses, shirts, pants, blouses and skirts.

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We listened to the Crosley radio

That was kept on top of the refrigerator,

While the Lone Ranger, Amos & Andy ,

Our Miss Brooks, and many other radio

Programs filled our minds with images.

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

I learned all my times tables (third grade)

And how to type on a standard Royal typewriter,

Using two fingers until I got in high school

And learned to re-type using all ten fingers;

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We created homemade Christmas ornaments

Out of walnut shells and the foil caps to

Milk bottles

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We had dinner every night at 6 O clock sharp

My mother at the left end of the table (closest

To the stove) and my father sat at the other

End of the table—while I sat on the right

side of the table, next to

My mother because I was left handed

My brothers sat across from me and Billy

Constantly spilled his milk – until we were

All forbidden to have milk until we were finished

Eating dinner.

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We said grace before meals and prayed

For the soldiers in Korea, and my brother Jim

Who was in St Francis Seminary where he

Only lasted a year but the prayers continued

Nonetheless because once started, my father

Couldn’t stop.

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We said Our Fathers and Hail Marys and

Glory be’s until our dinner was almost cold.

AT THE KITCHEN TABLE

We were first and foremost a family,

Even though I sometimes I didn’t like the entrée

And sat at the kitchen table for hours, staring

At cold, unappetizing hasenpheffer or

Mom’s slimy boiled cabbage—or whatever

It was that I didn’t like.

It was also ON the kitchen table that

My two younger brothers set a fire which

Burned a hole in the oilcloth tablecloth,

Until someone put out the fire.

IT WAS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE that

My parents’ and their friends

Sometimes Played card games and

Ate bowls of chili and drank endless cups of

Coffee.

It was also at the kitchen table that,

In the summertime, I played restaurant

With my two younger brothers, reheating

Whatever leftovers I found in the frig.

(My mother was a firm believer in saving

ALL leftovers, no matter how little was

Leftover – It worked well when playing

“restaurant”)

 

Sandra Lee Smith/May 2009, updated May , 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

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