Mealtime Memories

What a beautiful fall day--one for lighting the candles in the fall baskets, turning on the gas fire place and putting on lilting instrumental music softly in the background. (My new favorite that I am listening to a lot is Ladies in Lavender--a movie that had lovely music all through--as it is a story about a violinist in WW II and that is all I will give away. It is one of those British dramas that goes slowly, but a great story--Sarah gave it to me for my birthday.) It is putting these little anchors of beauty into our days that make the mundane seem so much more special and keeps our hearts lighter. I have been thinking quite a bit about emotional anchors that have tied our family together over these years and wanted to reprint a small portion from my daughter's blog:

She was recording some of the "lasts" we celebrated with my boys before they left and she did such a good job of our dinner table that I just had to share it with you. As a matter of fact, for all of you who have joined me in the past months and don't know about Sarah's blog, you are missing a soul feast. She is sometimes sketchy because of our travel and gypsy life-style, but if you want your soul filled with beauty and to be uplifted, be sure to visit her at I was smart you would be able to connect from here, but I don't know how to put links in yet, so you will just have to put the address in your search bar.

I wish you all the best weekend with memories built with your sweet loved ones. Praying for God to comfort and protect Houston and Galveston friends. And looking for a hs support group for someone in San Francisco area if anyone can help. Love to all my online friends!


Last Family Evening: Though rather a generic “last”, the rhythm of our evenings is so much a part of my family’s identity that I have to list it as an integral part of us. We begin it with a feast (yes, we like good food in my family, and when the boys are requesting for special, it’s steak). And we treat it as a feast, almost every night, lighting candles, setting some new music to trill in the background, one of the girls carefully setting the table. With the spice of good food soon flows the spice of good conversation. There are times when this becomes overwhelming; one of Joy’s friends who hails from a rather smaller and more reserved family once asked “does your family ever STOP talking?” We aren’t that noisy, in fact, half of us are introverts, but we are all intuitive idealists who think our thoughts are vital to the wellbeing of the earth. Dinner conversation usually flows seamlessly into an evening walk, where we continue the chosen topic to the backdrop splendor of spruce and fir and darkling, starlit sky. When the dusk finally gets its hands round our brains, we quiet a bit, breathe, and share a companionship of looking that is really as good as any talking. And then home; for coffee, for a movie, for candlelight and reading or yet another discussion. I suppose in the end, we had several of these before the boys left, but I tasted them more with the spice of parting added to my palate.

And that’s that. One of you so sweetly commented that I ought to write about my family, and I guess bits like this are the beginning. Someday, I would like to scratch us all out in ink, our fun and flaws, our griefs and gladnesses and what we managed to create together. There was a rather hysterical scene a couple of weeks ago when one of us kids was calling home from far away and didn’t realize we were on speaker phone (no, it wasn’t me) with more than just mom and dad. Thus, all three remaining siblings crept into the room and heard the full import of the absent sibling’s heart and, well, escapades. Only at the end did said sibling hear a suspicious scratch and suddenly bellow, “hey, who else is in the room?”, at which we all scurried out like mice so that my mom could honestly, innocently, answer, “why, it’s just Dad and me.” “But I heard voices,” came back the rather suspicious answer.

And so he did. Wouldn’t it be a shame if he hadn’t? It came to me today, as I was thinking about all the lasts we have lived in the past week, that that was what we were creating with all our traditions, a circle of voices and memories and words and traditions that will surround every soul that ventures out from the familiar confines of “us”. There’s a grand comfort in having a host of snap-eyed siblings to spy on you and eavesdrop on your most candid conversations. It is a gift; to hear voices, however irritating, is to know yourself encircled, never left to the echoing emptiness of isolation. That’s what I want to write about someday, the grace of having a clamor of voices in your life, and it’s what I’ve been thinking of in these quieter days after the parting. I’m gonna start the story one of these days…

by Sarah Clarkson