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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Dinner at Aunt Abigail's House

  • inspired by the song "That's what I love about Sundays" by Craig Morgan
After church on Sundays the family and all the cousins gathered at their Old Aunt Abigail’s house for a Sunday dinner.  They congregated in the enormous backyard of what used to be a southern plantation.  Aunt Abigail laboriously barbequed chicken for the entire extended family, which numbered around three dozen.  She made coleslaw and macaroni salad to add to the meal.  To complete the dinner she served corn on the cob.

The early days of Summer were the most suited for the celebrations.  The children played in the yard while the adults gathered for familiar conversation.  The vastness of the plantation comprised more than ten acres.  Giant cottonwood trees marked most of the landscape.  On the largest tree hung a swing on which the children took turns in the adventure.   They swung up and around, immensely enjoying the light-hearted activity.

As the children played, the adults engaged in their own trivial happenings.   The newly married talked about their children and the older members of the group talked about the days when they were young.

Aunt Abigail was ready to serve the dinner.  It was almost five o’clock and the children were famished from a long day of church and play.  The adults also eagerly awaited the meal, prepared as if by a chef.  The adults sat together at a table where they would continue the niceties of the day of which they always enjoyed.  Some of the older children brought the plates to the adults and to the other children filled with barbequed chicken, coleslaw, macaroni salad, and corn on the cob.   With a long day’s hunger they all began their meals, savoring every bite.

Today, as with every other Sunday, the adults sat with the adults as the children sat with the children.  The sun was lowering in the sky.  It was not near sunset, but the fiery image in the sky was highlighted with prolific colors.

Still in their Sunday best the adults continued their conversation.  The children had put on their play-clothes after church as to not stain and tear them.

Baseball season underlined the conversation among the men.  “What do you think the Brave’s chances are this year?” one asked.

Another ventured on the same subject.  “I hate to say it, but I think the Met’s are going to take it all.”

The women shared their own conversation.  They talked mostly about their kids.  There had been two new babies born into the family who their mothers adored.  They talked about when their cousin Marian was finally going to get married.  However, it wasn’t the conversation that was important; it was the weekly tradition of the family gathering that they cherished.

The men continued their conversation.  The school football team had made it to the county playoffs this year and they wondered how they would do this year.  There was a young promising quarterback on the team for which they all had high expectations.  He had been a junior last year and they all waited to see how he would perform as a senior.

“I’d like to see them win county and make it to state,” Abigail’s husband said.

In a small town like this football served as the main pastime and topic for conversation among the men.  The entire town would travel around the outlying areas and would root for their team every game.

The children talked and played while they ate.  There were children of all ages, from those barely past the years of being toddlers to those ready to graduate high school.  As they ate, the older children would look over the younger children and assist in the job of child care. 

Every Sunday, it was not a spectacular event, but it was a precious tradition.  The family, which had lived in this town for more than a hundred years, had always celebrated the occasion which brought joy.  In recent years they would meet at church and then gather at Old Aunt Abigail’s house.

As the year’s past there was much laughter and many tears.  The old passed away making room for a new generation and children were born.  But, the Sunday gatherings in which they shared time with each other and all the family were treasured memories for them all.  It was a time for them to rejoice in what it means to be a family and to inundate in the familiar love that they felt for one another.

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