One thing I always took for granted was our family dinners around the table every night. I did not realize other families did not have that time together and it was not until later that it dawned on me that we had something special. I am happy to say that I have carried on this tradition in our home, though to be honest, I do not believe it to be a tradition, but a ‘must do’ in order to stay close to the hearts of the dear ones in our family. I love the time to talk about the day, laugh, cringe at the topics of conversation that always seem to arise at the most inappropriate time, and have family devotions together.
With that said, I must go on to say that children have a way of letting it be known that they do not always appreciate the food that is placed in front of them. Every night my children ask me, “What are we having for dinner?” and I have learned to ignore that question and let them keep asking to their heart’s content. They always have their suggestions, which are the same every night: pizza, macaroni and cheese, or rice pilaf. One of my children could eat pizza at every meal, but I have grown very weary of these common place foods. I remember asking my mother what we were having and I can recall being disappointed a few times when she informed me we were having Pea Soup or some other casserole that I did not enjoy a whole lot. I would pick at it and eat a little, but I do not remember giving her a hard time about eating it. There was the time I had to sit at the table after everyone else had gone so I could finish my peas, but I finally choked them down and was allowed to leave. My children seem to have the same aversion to veggies as I did and there have been times they had to sit at the table and finish them before leaving the table also.
Now, when it comes to meat, some people are bone pickers and some people must have the meat pulled off the bone. I have always been a bone picker, but Joe is one that cannot stand seeing anything other than meat and I have to pick it all off the bone for him to enjoy his meal. Some of my children have taken my side, but a few of the others have joined Joe’s side. Susy can pick an entire bone clean and leave nothing behind. Benny is the same when it comes to eating a chicken leg, but JJ and Alaina like to have it pulled off like their daddy. Caleb, well, he is another story. Up until tonight he used to enjoy the bone, but after the meal we had this evening, I wonder if I will ever view a chicken leg the same again.
It all began as I set the plate of steaming chicken legs on the table. I had some meat cut off of a few for the ones I knew did not like bones and dished it out to them. Caleb asked for some without a bone at first, but after looking at the yummy legs in the pan, he changed his mind. “Can I have one with a bone?” he asked.
I told him he could and passed one to him. Then the questions began….”What is that slimy stuff on the top of the chicken?”
“It’s just the skin. Take it off and you’ll find the meat underneath.”
He dug a little deeper and looked up at me with a strange look. “I see little lines inside! Oooh, there are two bones inside here!” With his knife and fork, he began dissecting the poor leg and began announcing his discoveries. “Hey, look, I found a vein!” he said as he wiggled a stringy thing with his knife. “I can’t wait for biology class when I can dissect a frog and see his heart!”
My stomach was turning at this point and I lost my appetite for eating any more meat. When I stopped to examine something on the plate that closely, I began to realize why Joe does not enjoy eating from the bone. I do not remember ever asking my mother those questions at the table, nor do I remember any of my siblings ever complaining about the food in front of them. I do remember the famous quote, “There are starving children in Africa who would enjoy eating that food!” so it must have been said at least once, but I can honestly say that I do not think I will ever look at a chicken bone the same again – the poor, little starving children can eat it if they want.