When were younger, we practiced our reading at the kitchen table. Mama would be cooking, and we would be reading out loud. I still wonder how she knew the words before we did. As we continued our education even college homework would be done at that table.
When my sister and I did our 4-H projects, the kitchen table became our workshop with everything from sewing machines to podiums. Mama was a leader in our 4-H club so we practiced everything there.
I remember the day we got a new dishwasher. Everyone was excited, even me. I had turned about 12 and thought that making pretend milkshakes in the soapy water was fun. Little did I know that I would forever be the dishwasher in our family. I remember that I would wash and mama would dry while my sister did her homework at the table. If my dad was home from work, he would be watching the Huntley Brinkley report while we did the dishes. My brother got out of washing dishes because mama believed that cleanliness was indeed next to Godliness. I remember the day that he popped me on the behind with the towel that he was drying the dishes with; it was the last time he was allowed to do anything in the kitchen except eat.
The smell of cooking was always prevalent in our kitchen even though both my parents worked full-time as educators. Mama had been a home economics major in college so everything was homemade from potato chips, wonderful cakes and pies and all that was in between.
One of my fondest memories is when my mother became my friend. She drank coffee every morning and some evenings at the kitchen table. I had always drunk a milking cup of coffee as a child. One Saturday as she sat at the kitchen table reading the paper, I joined her for what would become “our time”. For the rest of her life, if I was home, I would make coffee and we would talk, sometimes our neighbors Miss Callie and Miss Adell would join us. Over the years to come at that table, we talked about high school graduation, going off to college, the death of daddy, how would she cope, my sister going off to college–mama in the house alone. My husband even asked her for my hand in marriage at the kitchen table. Grandchildren learned what the word “no” really meant at that table.
As I think back over these times, it is amazing that people now have to have libraries, great rooms, offices, etc., to do different activities. Mama did it all at the kitchen table with her heart, education, love of family and faith in God.