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Today is September 21, 2017

Grin 'n' Bare It

Missing those Sunday family dinners

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

I am always delighted when my readers write, or meet me on the street, and say, “You won’t believe how your columns relate to me.”

Thank you for your kind comments. My goal is to write about experiences that most of you can relate to.  

I have told you, my readers, about my two old cats that live outside. A friend gave me Fuzzy approximately 18 years ago, when she was a kitten. A few months later a traveling tom came by, used his charms, and Fuzzy became a teenage mom.

Her first and only litter consisted of four pretty little kittens. I kept two of them and adopted out the other two. One of the two I kept was killed during Hurricane Katrina, but the other one, Moonshine, still lives here with her mother.

Mr. Roy and I have often watched these two cats, mother and daughter, and remarked about what an idyllic life they have enjoyed. They have spent every day together since Moonshine was born. Several times each day Fuzzy still washes and cleans her baby. Sure, they have had squabbles over the years, and in fact there have been weeks when they would have nothing to do with each other. But what mother and daughter don’t occasionally have disagreements. And as they have grown older their disagreements rarely occur.

As I sat on the patio this morning drinking my second cup of coffee and watching Fuzzy and Moonshine sitting side by side, I thought about my family when I was growing up. Especially my grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts and cousins. I remember Sunday dinners when Big Mama and Daddy Tom and all their children and grandchildren sat at the dining room table and ate, talked and laughed. The young ones had to prove they were old enough to move out of the kitchen into the dining room.      

Everyone lived within a 50-mile radius, so these family visits occurred regularly. Roy grew up in a similar situation where the children and grandchildren gathered every few weeks at his grandparents’ house. There are still families where the members live close to each other and have Sunday dinners together, and if this is your family, be thankful; you are truly blessed.

Roy never wanted to live far from his parents, and many of our decisions regarding where we were going to work and live reflected that.

Today with high-speed transportation, the internet and all sorts of communication devices, it is easy for families to stay in daily contact even though the distance of separation may be hundreds or thousands of miles. In our own little family, one daughter lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the other in Saltillo, Miss. Our grandson lives in Nashville and our granddaughter in Ireland. We communicate almost daily.

As I watched these two cats lying side by side in the sun, thoughts of my family glowed in my mind. I still yearn for the “good old times” when everyone sat down to eat Sunday dinner together. When letters were regularly written among family members. And I wish for Sunday dinners with Roy and our daughters and their families. I dreamed of this when I first married, but cultural change and so-called progress did not allow it to happen.

After we married I wrote letters weekly to my mother and grandmother. When Roy was in college and the army we wrote each other daily. Isn’t it fun to pull out some of those old letters and read them today?

Fuzzy and Moonshine will never know how lucky they were to live all their lives together in the same location. And that’s great for animals and some humans. In fact, I had already written the ending to this column and expounded on what young people today are missing by not living close to their parents. But before I finished, my granddaughter called. We talked for awhile and I told her about the column I was writing about families. Lealand reminded me that she and her friends grew up in a mobile society, where the world seemed small and communication was changing at an amazing pace.

Then she said, “ Kay-Kay, I can be at your house in just 10 hours, and I call you at least once a week. I love my work, friends and living in Ireland.”

I still believe that families are very important, but I also realize that young people today are growing up in a completely different culture and time period. I’m not sure it’s better, but it surely is different.

Kay Grafe is the author of “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

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