Sunday, March 16, 2014
The Morning Breakfast Table
Family breakfast at our house was an adventure. It began at 7:00 A.M. sharp when Dad yelled up the stairs to us kids, "Get up! Breakfast is ready!" It always struck terror in me because I knew my feet had better hit the floor before he finished his sentence or there would be hell to pay. We'd throw on our robes and slippers and yawn and stretch our way down to the kitchen breakfast table where Dad sat at the head with his Bible and a devotional pamphlet. Mother would still be buzzing about making the last minute food preparations and pouring Dad's coffee as we all shuffled in and sat down to the table.
Across from me sat my younger brother. He always wore a sullen expression and avoided making eye contact with anyone. When Mother sat his plate of eggs, sausage, and toast in front of him, he would pick up his fork and with it, lift his sausage patty and stare suspiciously underneath, as if something with eyes was lurking there. I don't think he ever found anything, but he always checked.
My baby sister sat to my left in her high chair. She was the kid who wouldn't eat. Every family has one. It didn't matter what was set in front of her, she refused it, so I was the one with the fork-load of scrambled eggs swirling it towards her mouth and making airplane noises in hopes that she might give in and take a bite or two.
After the last piece of toast came out of the oven broiler and was stacked on a plate with the others, Mother would sit down to the table and Dad would open his Bible and read the passage that he had carefully chosen for the day. This was our family devotion time and it was held at the table every weekday morning and on Sundays. The only day we got a break from it was on Saturday when Mother made pancakes for breakfast and Dad joined us kids in the living room with our TV trays and watched Bugs Bunny & Road Runner cartoons.
In all my years growing up and in all the years of family table devotions, I can't recall the subject of one of them. I think the only person in the family who actually enjoyed the ritual was my dad, who had a predilection for pontification and who seemed to like making the first fifteen minutes of every morning (except Saturdays) more difficult to stay awake through than our minister's forty-five minute church sermons. He never seemed to notice that while he preached on, my brother and I would cross our eyes and stick our tongues out at one another, or that Mother sighed and watched the clock, worried that our breakfast was getting cold.
After the sermon was finished we would all join hands and Dad would appoint someone to say the morning blessing, which always seemed to be a contest over who could deliver the most compelling or touching prayer and to which Dad would listen for indications that we had paid attention to the devotion. After the "Amen" was said, hands would drop and Mother would arise from her seat and serve our cold breakfast.
Pass the jelly, please.
© K. Lynette Erwin, 2014