Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Four Thousand Suppers

Four Thousand Suppers

At the kitchen table
at six o'clock.
Dark winter evenings
with my father in his
winter underwear,
quilted like an astronaut.
Blue summer evenings
after my mother called my name
on the lilting breeze
which reached me
at far corners
of the neighborhood,
her voice known
among the others.

We ate
four thousand suppers
in that small room together.
What did we discuss?
Linoleum and carpet,
casement windows,
the wild McElroys,
the loud Mrs. Supportas,
scenes from the fifth grade,
my problems with bushels and pecks.
Four thousand suppers--
oceans of tea.
The man and woman
at the table
grow grey.
I grow up--
feet finally
reach the floor.

--Anne Higgins

I've heard it said that life is what happen when we're busy making other plans (John Lennon, I think?). And isn't it so true? For several years I used to be a liturgical musician, a time during which I played the organ and sang at literally hundreds of funerals. Over the years I've had the unique experience of hearing many a eulogy. And what always struck me about each one was how it was always the little "ordinary things" about people that resonated most in the hearts of loved ones. It wasn't the grandiose achievements, promotions, awards or special titles, but the little things. Things like, "she had a way of stroking my hair that made me feel so loved," or "Grandma's canned pickles tasted like none other." (one of the things I most cherish about my own grandma!). The things we treasure and hold dear in life are those everyday moments; the glorious smell of pasta sauce bubbling on the stove and sitting around the table laughing with family and friends.

We spend most of our time going about these everyday moments, though sometimes our minds might be too tied up in far-away dreams and goals to allow us to really take in the beauty of these ordinary moments. Take time to pause and consider the little things you hold dear, your four thousand suppers. What comes to mind? What are the sights, the smells, the sounds, the tender times that are uniquely precious to you?

Linked at:
Raising Homemakers

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