Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you remember the kid’s table? …At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and family gatherings.
Adults sat in the dining room, discussed the usual. Was it pass to the left or right? Nobody ever gave an answer–because, from that point they would be regarded as the family etiquette expert.
“Where did you get all that energy? My how you’ve grown. What grade were you in school? Did you like school this year?” Questions answered with poker faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t knows.”
Older kids served themselves. Younger ones had plates fixed by moms, grandmas, aunts, older brothers, and sisters. “Eat something else besides mashed potatoes. Take some of these green beans. No dessert till you’re finished.” Lots of laughter prevailed, subdued, so, as to not draw attention from the adult table.
Everybody had a cousin Ralphie–or, someone like him. Cousin Ralphie balanced green peas on his knife, ate disgusting food mixtures–pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and milk.
“Cousin Ralphies” turned their eyelids inside out, to disgusted “ewws” and “ahs” at the kid’s table. “What did he need ketchup for?” A self-appointed gastronomic virtuoso, Ralphie shared his secrets on holidays. Ketchup made everything more palatable. It was rumored, Ralphie subsisted on ketchup sandwiches at home.
Mid-afternoon, after dishes were cleared, washed, and put away, the oldest adults were first to leave. Early evening, tears flowed from the eyes of younger ones, that wanted to stay longer. Moms, sisters, aunts comforted. Dads weren’t as patient.