By: Cher Best
When I was a little girl growing up, we lived a lot of places. My dad was in the United States Army so we moved around a lot. It has a lot to do with why I am the way that I am about so many things.
Growing up an army “angel” (I don’t subscribe to being called an army ‘brat”, although I can sometime behave in a bratty like fashion.J) I learned a lot about diversity and how to get along with different personality types. I also learned about the importance of having a routine and of course the impact of having traditions.
One of my favorite traditions in my youth happened every Sunday. It was the one day that my mom would cook our family’s favorite foods. She would cook the most amazing fried chicken and corn bread. We would have candied yams, rice and gravy and collard greens seasoned to perfection with bacon and ham hawks. OH….and let me not forget to mention we would have grape cool-aid!
Although the food was awesome, what I loved most about Sunday dinners was that we talked as a family. It was the day my mom and dad would catch up on how we were doing in school, what we were doing and how we were feeling. My parents would share their latest work adventures and we laughed a lot.
It was the one day that we were forbidden from eating in front of the TV. Sunday dinners were special; we did not eat in the kitchen. We ate Sunday dinners in my moms dinning room. For as long as I can remember, my mom always had a kitchen table for regular days (Monday-Saturday) and a formal dinning room for special occasions, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New-Years and Sunday dinners.
Back then, there were no cell phones to distract us from talking to each other. We did not text each other, we talked. We acted like, interacted like and were a family.
As we got older, my siblings got married and moved to other parts of the world. My mom passed away and my dad remarried.
I got a career in radio that has served me well for over almost nineteen years. AND then came 2020, like a bad movie. This year like many of you, I’ve struggled through a pandemic. I had to self quarantine and have been alone much of the time in my home. I’ve come to realize just how much I miss the tradition of Sunday dinners.
I’ve come to also realize during the Covet-19 Pandemic, that my reason for not really cooking was that I wasn’t much of a cook. That is the lie I told myself. I thought I was a career woman whose life was pretty fast paced, so I simply didn’t have time to do things like vacations, lunch, home improvements and cooking. Right????.....
Life really does have a way of making you have to face your demons!
After over three months of being at home, not able to see my family except on Zoom or many of my friends. There were multiple self discoveries that I’ve had.
I’ve always been a fairly private girl. I love people, but absolutely hate drama. I've always been a hugger, but I’m pretty good at hiding my emotions. The pandemic shut down the affection and opened up a floodgate of emotions. I’ve always loved my home, but there were things about it that I thought I didn’t have time to do. The pandemic forced me to do them. Like I said, I also thought, I couldn’t cook, but corona forced me to show myself different. I’m actually pretty good at it; even though I do say so myself.
In the midst of everything that is happening in our world, the social unrest, the corona virus, the joblessness, loosing loved ones, Having friends and family loose their jobs and my beloved dog of thirteen years passing away its been a tough year. But, as we begin to come out of this “so not normal” time, my forced self discoveries have me vowing to do a couple of things differently moving forward.
I’m not just going to hug my friends and family when we a clear to do so; I’m going to tell them and show them what they mean to me in abundance. I’m not just going to improve my home; I’m going to make it my haven. I’m not just going to spend my time working and forget to take lunch breaks and vacations; I’m going to make the time to take me time. AND…I’m not just going to miss the tradition, the value and the impact of Sunday dinners; I’m reconnecting with the tradition.
Every Sunday, (If you not doing this already) I invite you, NO, I challenge you to turn off the cell phones and computer, and have dinner with your family. Let’s reconnect with family and talk to each other. Its a challenge I’ve accepted, I hope most of you will accept too.