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Table Tells Tale of Family Togetherness
by Cookie Curci
It's an unlikely- looking treasure, that old oak table of mine, with its cracks, weakening chairs and worn out corners, but it is a treasure to me. The memories it holds are timeless and priceless.
The old oak table with its sideboards that extend its length to 10 feet originally belonged to Grandma and Grandpa who purchased it in 1918 for their new home. It has, at one time or another hosted all of my favorite friends and relatives: the Ciccarellis, Furdutos, Dinapolis, and Franciscos.
These days, when I sit down at the table I can't resist a temptation to stroke my hands over its rich wood surface, to feel the tiny nicks and scratches made by each passing generation. I am reminded of my childhood, of days spent sitting with by siblings and my cousins at Grandma's bountiful table, eager to devour one of her delicious Italian meals.
At every meal, Grandma's dinner table was covered with platters of home cooking- pasta, artichokes, garlic bread, asparagus, chicken, meat-balls and so on. The grand meal didn't officially begin until grandma repeated the traditional words before every meal: "Mangiare, mangiare" (eat, eat).
I'll always remember the lively chatter and heart warming laughter that passed over the table at every meal. It was a reason for celebration just to be seated all together at Grandma's table. The aroma of her warm kitchen spices and slowly simmered spaghetti sauce teased our appetites all day long so that by dinner time we were famished. We couldn't wait to indulge in a platter of handmade noodles and meatballs bathed in a rich, red tomato sauce.
After dinner it was a family ritual to clear the dishes from the table and then sit down again to play card games, dominoes or the always mysterious and intriguing Ouija board. Some of my happiest times were spent at that table, where we would visit late into the night, sipping on cups of Grandma's strong espresso. It was Grandpa's belief that the soul sighed after a large meal and that we should spend that time quietly in repose. For that reason, we could always hear his contented snore, resounding through the household, after one of grandma's meals.
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