Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Nostalgia

When I was a child, our entire family got together for dinner every Sunday at the home of my paternal grandparents. Aunts, uncles, sibling, cousins, all gathered in their tiny rowhouse in South Philadelphia. Dinner was served promptly at 1pm. We kids ate a separate table in the kitchen while the adults sat in the dining room. We were always served first, and then after seeing to our needs, the adults served themselves. My grandmother rose very early on Sunday mornings to roll out the dough for her pasta and make her meatballs and braciole. To this day, I have never been able to replicate the simple dressing she used on her salad.

In the summer, once dinner was over and the dishes were washed and put away (my job was always to dry them) we'd pile into our cars and head out for a Sunday drive, sometimes out to the Parkway, occasionally to Longwood Gardens, and as a special surprise, once a year we'd go to a now-defunct carnival on the Baltimore Pike. A jaunt to a local Howard Johnson's for pistachio ice cream stands out in my mind for no reason in particular. After letting their jalopies exercise their legs, the drivers would return to our grandparents' house for another meal. Around 6pm my grandmother would lay out a spread a cold cuts, roasted peppers, olives and Italian bread. A sandwich never tasted so good as it did on those Sunday evenings. The adults would tell jokes and stories that we barely got. Then we'd congregate in the living room and watch Lassie and the Ed Sullivam show and then head home to get ready for the coming week at school and at work.

I have been feeling a certain nostalgia for those days lately. Perhaps because my own children are reaching the age where our Sundays together don't mean nearly as much to them as being with their friends. So, in homage to my late grandparents, today we're having dinner a little earlier than usual. (To have dinner at 1pm is not possible since the Traditional Latin Mass at our parish doesn't start until Noon). Still, I got most of the dinner together before I left for Mass, and shortly, we'll sit down together for a meal of chicken barbecue, corn on the cob, roasted beets, potatoes and carrots and a salad. Then we're going to pile into the car and head otu to the Creamery in Chester Springs for some ice cream.

My husband and I had a good laugh in the kitchen as he helped me get the grill ready for the chicken. He clearly recalls long Sunday rides and his father turning around to slap which ever of the six of them got out of line while never taking his eyes off the road. Ah, the good old days.


  1. Love the new look!

    I love your remembrances of the Sunday ritual! Funny, our house is becoming a hub of not only my children, bu their friends and now-eeeek-boyfriends :) All nice fellows, *thank God*. They seem to gravitate to OUR tiny rowhouse and enjoy cramming themselves into our kitchen, especially on a Sunday. There's something very grounding and comforting about this practice. Kind of like a soft blanket on a chilly evening. God comes to us in these moments, I believe, and gives us glimpses of His love.

  2. I'm glad you like the new look. It's unusual, that's for sure! Perhaps the reason your home is the hub of activity is because it's full of love. Your analogy is beautiful. Sadly, there are so many families that have never had a Sunday ritual and many don't eat their meals together. Occasionally, work schedules and other activities may preclude us from having dinner together but I was handed down a very beautiful tradition by my parents and grandparents so I want my kids to have the same.
    Thanks for sharing and God Bless you!


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