More Than Food Around the Quilt
Once again I cluttered the Quilt Tables with fall colors... and some goofy stuff.
Each year, I learn something new about these utensils, when I share them. "Anyone know what this big wooden paddle is for?" I asked all 4 of my groups.
I got some funny answers, but in my last group I was assured, "Oh! That's what you use to scrape the butter from the edges of the butter churn." Later in the evening I watched a TV show involving a scene with pilgrims. One character held the same tool and called it a butter paddle. I finally know, after all these years.
Reaching for Favorites
At all tables, lots of hands reached for the kitchen tools that brought back memories. The mini iron skillet had a few remembering the iron pots and pans, they grew up with. Margie was the one who reminded us of the kitchen rule with pans on the stove. She placed the small skillet on the even smaller iron stove and demonstrated how a pan handle should be turned inward to avoid accidents.
The Egg Beater
Everyone seemed to have fun with this one. One sweet gentleman seemed to very serious as he cranked the handle. When I asked, "What is that old thing?" He smiled and very slowly answered, "Egg... beater."
He and we, didn't worry that his speech difficulties made sharing more difficult. He took his time, but wanted us to know his mother used an egg beater to beat eggs AND potatoes!
The Thanksgiving Table
A few just had fun "playing" with these old toys. But the table itself prompted a discussion about table decorations and even table manners. Dorothy talked about pressing colorful leaves between waxed paper and adding them to the table display.
And candles! "I loved getting to snuff out the candles after the meal!" Eva said, setting the table was the easy chore. "All the kids hoped to get that job instead of clean up duty. " Martha said, "Oh you didn't fuss at the table. There were 7 of us kids and we knew we weren't going to misbehave at the table!" It was surprising to hear how many large families there were and how most created one table, instead of dining at separate ones.
Different Kinds of Feasts
This little couple hardly looks like they are sharing a Thanksgiving meal, but some decided a Thanksgiving picnic would actually be fun. We talked about how different our family foods and traditions can be. Carmen remembered making tortillas.
She laughed about how hard she worked as a young girl to make them round. Billie Jean said her daddy made the best pickeld pigs feet. "Oooh. There were never any leftovers. He was so good about getting all the toenails off." Dorothy's description of creamed onions and Dot's sweet potato pie talk, sounded a little yummier to me.
Not too many could relate to a kitchen as primitive as this one, carved out of wood. But we had fun talking about kitchens of the past and many had grown up with wood burning stoves and iron kettles. The tiny kettle in the scene reminded Dot of the big pots used for cooking sugar cane syrup on her Pappa's farm.
More Kitchen Talk
Everyone liked this photo of the "modern kitchen" from an old magazine, but none of us ever had a kitchen like it. We talked about all the time spent in the kitchen before and after the Thanksgiving meal. There were some funny cooking stories shared. Mary accidentally used salt in the pumpkin pie instead of sugar.
Doris said the worst part of cooking was burning the food. Billie Jean pointed to the wooden spoon on our table and said they had 12 of those in her kitchen because there were so many people helping. "There were 5 girls and 4 boys in my house and cousins too. We all helped with the cooking. And everyone helped clean up."
Talk of Chores
We laughed and complained about the chores. Potato mashing can be hard work with when serving a big group! But the biggest complaining was about those who didn't pitch in.
That lead to discussions about TVs being on and football games!
Laughing Around the Table...
The odd props lead to fun stories, which had us chuckling around the table. Then of course we had to remember what else people do around the table besides laugh and talk and eat.
Sing Around the Table?
Well, we tried. Last year when I brought this little ukulele we made up a pretty cute song about what we were thankful for. This year, my uke skills had not improved at all, so that meant we did more laughing than serious singing.
But we did come up with a "Just Hurry... I'm Hungry" version of the "Don't Worry. Be Happy" song. Not sure it's a keeper, but it was fun.
Thanks Around the Table
This is a subject all my groups really like to talk about. Many had memories of sharing thanks around the table and all wanted to share with our group.
Pass the Pumpkin
We passed the pumpkin in my first group to help with turns... since everyone wanted to talk at once. A few struggled to share in English and I begged them to speak in Spanish so they could share comfortably. I always have some who can interpret.
I couldn't understand the words of one dear friend, but recognized the emotion when she began to tear up. "She's thankful, yet worried that she will soon be having a serious operation." Her friend explained. The group reacted quickly, surrounding her with words of support and hugs. Such sweet words... "You'll be fine, it will be okay!" "We have the best hospitals here!" And then a good bit of advice was shared, "And just remember, you'll be less scared if you face the surgery with a good sense of humor!"
My Last Group
My final group at the hospital, also shared positive words of thanks. Luckily there were no tears, but there was a moment that put a slight lump in my throat. "I'm just thankful every morning when I wake up... that I'm here another day!" The dear woman who spoke insisted she meant that. Then she smiled as if remembering. and began to sing the words of a hymn.
Suddenly her voice was signing a hymn that I didn't recognize. But the words about thanking God...waking up to a new day... were familiar to a few others who joined in. Sweet moment. Sweet memory.
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.