Sunday cooking…

Growing up down the crick in the 80s, Sunday dinner with the extended family wasn’t just something you saw in a Rockwell print. Sitting around the table, weighted down with metric tons of food, presided over by my grandfather, with aunts, uncles, and cousins jammed in elbow to elbow wasn’t a television trope. Living it then, I didn’t recognize it as anything other than the normal way of things. It’s only in hindsight I can see just how remarkable those Sunday dinners were. 

Sunday dinner was always the big meal of the week, but Sunday lunch is just as fixed in my memory. It was almost invariably hamburgers – fried up in a skillet, or more rarely from the electric grill on the patio, and served with chips and maybe baked beans. I’m sure there were other sandwiches, but it’s the hamburgers that seem to be stuck in my mind’s eye as I look back across the decades.

I’ve long maintained the spirit of Sunday dinner being a household “event.” It’s consistently the biggest and most wide-ranging meal I make every week… though unlike my grandmother, I’m mercifully not making it to feed a dozen or more hungry mouths.  

Now, these many years later, I find myself recreating those lunches, too. Sunday lunch is hamburgers or ham salad or BLTs. Perhaps it’s not an exact recreation, of the lunches that I remember so clearly, but it’s absolutely done with intent. 

I know the poet says “The good old days weren’t always good.” He’s probably on to something there. Even so, they weren’t all bad either. One of the great mercies of time is it tends to smooth off some of the rougher edges of memory. I appreciate that immensely. 


I’m heading back to the hills of Western Maryland tomorrow to attend the Class of 96 Reunion over the weekend. To say I have mixed emotions about the experience would be an understatement. Everyone I have talked to has said that the ten-year is still too soon to garner the “reunion” atmosphere… people haven’t changed all that much, everyone is just starting to make their mark, and put down roots. A huge part of me is looking forward to the event. I have great memories of the people and places from “back in the day.” Another part of me is more hesitant, concerned that the scars of childhood are not well enough healed to expose to the open air.

Nevertheless, I’ll be there with proverbial bells on Saturday night. I took my own little trip down memory lane a few weekends ago and dug the old yearbooks and “memory book” out of storage. I laughed myself silly, thought of people I haven’t seen since the night we graduated, and sat amazed at how young we looked… Well, not so much me… damn hairline never could stay in place, anyway. 😉

P.S. Does anyone know what the hell you’re supposed to wear to an event at the Midland Fire Hall? I can’t bring myself to do jeans and I’d feel like a tool wearing a suit. I guess I was never a fashion plate back then, so maybe some of ya’ll will recognize me this weekend.