|Esters and Alma Lavenia (Coon) Eley married 29 Apr 1932 in|
West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. They were married fifty-eight
years when Esters died 1990.
I am leading a writing group where for 52 weeks, I will share weekly writing prompts with the group and members write as much or as little as they like using the prompts to jog their memory. “52 Weeks of Writing: Writing Memories of Your Life” is the name of the group. Our writing prompts for this week are writing about our family traditions. This prompt brought back memories of when I was growing up in West Carroll Parish. One of the traditions that brings fond memories to mind, is the evening meal in our family. All the meals were shared together at the table as a family meal; however, the evening meal was a little different.
Evening meals were a hallowed time. When Mother called the family to come eat dinner, we all came promptly, orderly, and in a timely manner. Daddy came in, washed his hands and combed his hair before each meal. He taught us children to wash our hands before a meal. We did not have to be called to come in but the one time. There were eight children in the family and we ate during mealtime. If we lingered and played, and didn’t make it to meal time, there wouldn’t be anything left for us. So we knew to come when called.
Daddy sat in his large straight chair at the head of the table and mother was at the other end of the table in her special chair. The children sat quietly on the benches at the large wooden table. Daddy had built the benches and table for our large family of ten. Mother cooked the meals while Daddy did the chores on the farm. The smaller children would play outside so we wouldn’t be in Mother’s way while cooking and getting dinner ready. The older children would help daddy with the chores. When Mother had dinner ready for the family, she would call for us to come inside. Once we were all inside and seated in our places then it was mealtime.
Daddy and Mother talked about their day, and we listened to them as we ate our meal. We raised our hands if we had a question or if we needed seconds of a serving. We were taught not to reach and get our serving. We waited until everyone was finished before leaving the table.
Daddy and Mother taught us how important this time was together as a family. Our family had a closeness and togetherness.
This tradition will always be remembered, and I will always be thankful that my parents instilled in me to be thankful for I have, love and respect for family. ■