Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I don't have to be at Wal-mart until 7:00 tonight, which means I get to be home for dinner. Yay! On tonight's menu:

Meatloaf - the Pritzel recipe: ground beef (we use deer), hot sausage, bread crumbs, egg, and Heinz 57 sauce. Yum.

Green bean casserole - Thomas's asked particularly for this for Thanksgiving, but it wasn't part of the holiday meal. I'm making this just for you, Tom.

Mashed potatoes - because if you have meatloaf, you have to have mashed potatoes.

One of the things I strongly dislike about working away from home is having to frequently miss our family's evening meal. Two, three times a week, I leave before dinner. Sure, the kids and I have breakfast and lunch together, but dinner is different. Dad is most often home, bringing news from the outside world. There is a kind of settling together, a conversational processing of the day. Not infrequently, there is a serving of silliness, too.

Something else happens over a leisurely, routine family dinner, something I can't quite describe. Something about learning who we are as individuals, as a family, as a society. Something that gives cohesion and strength. Sort of like calcium being knit together to form strong bones.

No, I don't like missing the evening meal. I will be glad when this particular sacrifice is no longer necessary. And, I am so grateful that Steve and the kids keep this tradition going, even on nights when I have to be away. They set the table, cook the meal, and sit down together, whether I'm here or not.

Last night, I rolled back home at 10:30. Martha had saved me a plate of dinner, which I reheated in the microwave. As I sat at the bar eating, all of the kids filtered downstairs and gathered in the kitchen, telling me about the evening's activities, news from friends on Facebook, classes at Martin, etc. Someone pulled the bucket of ice cream out of the freezer and dished up bowls for everyone. I guess it was kind of like my own personal "second" family supper. I'm grateful for that, too...that even when I have to be away, the circle is expanded to keep me inside.

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