When I think of family time I think of Sundays. During the rest of the week the kids were off with friends, their dad was hard at work, and my life was full of volunteer activities to make the world a better place.
But somehow, most Sundays we managed to come together for pancake breakfasts, church, fresh baked Italian bread from Mazzola’s, and lots of serious conversations. Later, during more than a decade in Columbus, Sunday mass at the Newman Center followed by a visit to the bookstore on Lane Avenue continued that tradition.
Since our divorce I have tried to continue Sunday meals but with little success. New traditions like the annual family reunion had come along and better survived the break up, until I sold the family homestead on Kelley’s Island.
But this afternoon it looked like family “linners” (Natalie’s term for lunch & dinner) might be another way to continue gathering around my 200+ year old Bauernstube table, share good food, and talk.
Theresa, our youngest granddaughter, had given me specific meal direction; and Eli, the one who shares his birthday with his grandfather, while an hour late, was full of interesting questions and insights. We mostly talked about his interest in whether to take a philosophy course at Case while Theresa shared interesting theological insights.
Listening to these two young ones, I found myself gratefully enjoying what Walter Brueggemann called “serious conversations leading to holy com-union.” In the introduction to his book From Judgement To Hope: A Study on the Prophets, Patricia K. Tull writes “most prophets aimed to reform their world through both criticism of societal practice and visions of hope.”
After everyone left I remembered that today is the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Like MLK, he was one of the great contemporary prophets, and both were deeply influenced by Thoreau and Tolstoi. Gandhi was a devout Advaita Hindu who grew to become a supporter of religious pluralism, a belief that cost him his life. What a great way to celebrate Gandhi’s feast day, around the family table in our little Gotteswinkel (God’s corner), exploring ideas on ethics and nonviolence with these beloved kids.