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Friday, November 10, 2017

MY FORMATIVE YEARS

Or how I got this way.

From a very early age in life, I learned that the center of the universe was the kitchen table. There were many first-hand discoveries made at this location, and many lessons learned, both good and bad.

At the age of about 4-years old, I had my first cup of coffee, when I took my father's cup and added sugar and milk to the coffee to my liking. On the kitchen table sat a loaf of Italian bread, crusty and looking good. I sliced off a chunk and buttered it like nobody's business, and did what Dad did, dunked it. My, my, my-was that delicious!

On our kitchen table once, about the same age as the bread dunk, Dad had a sketch pad that he used on occasion. Next to it were a pencil and an empty bottle of milk. I drew the milk bottle to detail, and my Dad was very excited that I could draw, and draw naturally, this made Mom happy too.

That very same table led me to distraction, and misery when it came to my Catechism, learning about God and how you can sin. The Ten Commandments were drilled and instilled in my head, supported by a wooden spoon, when applied left me both in pain from the sting and hungry from the smell, after all, Mom was a great cook.

The kitchen table came often with verbal lessons from Mom such as: "The way you make your bed is the way you sleep in it!" This was after I may have abbreviated the truth somewhat and had a difficult time putting the cock and bull story together. Often lectures, followed by: "Wait, just waaaaaait! Someday I hope you have children like YOU!" AND, "I hope they aggravate you just like you're aggravating me!" Another piece of philosophy was: "WAIT ‘till your father gets home!"

It was on that table with its Dutch theme on the porcelain top that the homework was spread out, tea and chat with my aunt who visited and the awaiting of dinner that all of life was centered on that my life was built.

Then one day my folks decided they were tired of living like Ralph and Alice Kramden and bought a new kitchen set, replacing the wood and porcelain table with high back wooden chairs for the coldness of a sunny yellow chrome table with plastic covered seats. We had left my childhood behind. No longer did we have the drawer that held the silverware in it under the tabletop, or the leafs that pulled out on either side of the table to make it longer. Now we had a table with chrome and chairs to match with a stool with steps that one could use to climb for some reason or other. The only thing the same was the food we ate on it.


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