When I was young, my family always had a big
Sunday dinner. After church, we gathered around the dining room table. The blessing came first and then we passed around dishes like green beans, squash casserole, fried chicken, roast beef, rice and gravy, and homemade biscuits. Dessert was always extra special. In preparation for the big meal, Mom would make something on Saturday like a coconut cake or cherry pie served a la mode. The Sunday dinner was the biggest and best of the week. After the scrumptious meal, we lingered around the table with a second glass of sweet iced tea or a second helping of dessert. I don’t remember what we chatted about except maybe it was something the preacher had said in his sermon or news about a fellow church member. It was a simpler time when people actually conversed face to face. There was no email or text messaging.
Somewhere along the way, Sundays got lost in the normal routine of every other day. Today many people don’t eat together as a family on any day, much less Sunday. Everyone is rushing off somewhere and grabbing a quick bite to eat, or they are eating dinner on a tray in front of the television. In my opinion, children especially need the structure of the family meal where they learn manners and how to interact with adults. My belief is there should be no television and no electronic devices at the table.
Several years ago I tried the old fashion big Sunday dinner with my family as test subjects. It lasted two weeks. To be honest, it was too much work. Because I was working full time, I did not have the time required to pull it off. Weekends were my catch-up days for things I had put off during the week. On every episode of the show “Blue Bloods,” the Reagan family gathers around the dinner table after attending Sunday mass. The screenwriters use it as a way to wrap up the plot and sub-plots of that week’s program, so of course, the family, born and bred law enforcement folks, usually talk shop. But at least they’re talking to one another!
I miss those days of the big Sunday dinner, but I am afraid they are gone for good. If you are one of the rare families that still congregate over the big Sunday meal, I’d love to hear from you. Any advice on how to restore this forgotten tradition?